Literacy Stations - Technology Station Ideas

Today's blog post has ideas for what tasks to include in your Technology Station.  I call this station my iPad station, but Tech Station could cover many devices.


At my current school, we are 1-to-1 with iPads so Technology Station is super easy.  Some of my previous schools have only had a few desktop computers and others had a few laptops for students to use during Tech Time.  I also had a Smart Board at one of my school's and we had a Laptop Station and Smart Board Station - so lots of technology for everyone!  

Technology Station is another pretty easy station.  At my current school, we have a few different online programs that students use.  We practice our spelling words on Spelling City and use MobyMax and IXL for language and reading skill practice. So - the station pretty much takes care of itself.

Here is what the I can options are:
  • I can practice my vocab and spelling words on Spelling City.
  • I can work on MobyMax Reading.
  • I can work on the Language section in IXL.
At past schools, I created launch pages. Now this was a labor of love.  At one of my past schools, we used the Harcourt reading program.  So for each story, I would create a launch page.  On each launch page I had a few websites with games and practice that covered our skills for that particular week. For example, if the story focused on the phonics skill of short a - I found some games that had students working on that particular phonics skill. If we working on identifying character traits, I found some online practice with that particular skill. All of those websites would then be on the launch page for that particular story and the kids would work on it during Tech Time at stations.  As I mentioned, this was definitely a labor of love and took a long time. But, it did make life easier in the long run and could be used year to year.

If you have a Smart Board - check out my Smart Board Station ideas...here....



Thanks for reading all about my ideas for Technology Station.  Check back Thursday to see what I include in my Fluency Station.

Check out past Literacy Station blog posts:
Introduction
Set-Up

Literacy Stations - Reading Station Ideas

Today I'm going to share ideas about what I include in my Reading Station.


Reading Station is one of the more simple stations. It is always the one that I introduce and teach my students first because it is simple. During Reading Station, my students are allowed to complete these activities in the class library area or at their seats.


Here are the task options for Reading Station that I currently use in my 2nd Grade Classroom:

  • I can read books by myself.
  • I can read a book with my partner.
  • I can tell my partner about a book I like.
  • I can take an AR test.
When I taught first grade, I also had an option where they could read to one of the stuffed animals I had in the classroom.

You'll notice all of the statements start with I can. You'll see this throughout my station tasks cards.  It's a positive statement and shows choice which is one of the benefits of using Literacy Stations.

I have made task card rings with these options on each card.  I have a title card and then each "I can" statement is on a separate card. I attach these to cardstock and then laminate for durability. I try to use a different color of cardstock for each station so it's organized.
Title Card

On this card, I have a picture of students reading and/or doing the actual task. Due to privacy reasons, I do not have the picture on this example.



Thanks for reading all about my ideas for Reading Station.  Check back Tuesday to see what I include in my Technology Station.

Check out past Literacy Station blog posts:
Introduction
Set-Up

Literacy Stations - Classroom Management Tips

Today I'm going to share some classroom management tips for Literacy Stations.

Choosing Partners:
Students can be paired in a variety of ways. As I mentioned in a past post. I recommend partners and if you need to do groups - I would not do groups larger than 3.

You can pair groups high and low together, but I recommend pairing students with similar abilities. It makes it easier to pull the partnership as a group (when you're pulling them to work with you) so that one student isn't working by themselves at the station.

Behavior is a big thing to keep in mind when picking partners. Students need to work well together so that you are able to pull small groups.  You won't be able to pull groups if you have students paired up who don't get along or get into trouble together.


Stations Schedule:
Scheduling stations can be tricky. I know most of us have set times for how long a reading/writing block needs to be.  I currently do Literacy Stations in my classroom three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) for 20-30 minutes.

Since stations are only 20 minutes (typically once we get going and everyone gets started), students only go to one station. In a past classroom, I did stations for a little over 30 minutes so students did complete two different stations during that time. 

Students rotate stations each day. This helps with engagement. You do not want to have students at the same station every day or they will get bored and then behavior issues can start.

Management Charts:
I have used a variety of management charts over the years. The management chart is important because it helps me keep track of stations and it makes it possible for students to independently figure out what station they need to go to.  I physically rotate the kids names and the chart helps me so I know what station they were at the previous time.

When I taught first grade, I used station cards with pictures. I highly recommend visual pictures along with the words with kinder and first grade to help them understand and find their station.
I know this picture is a little blurry, but you can see I had 9 stations running in this classroom. Students names were written on index cards and moved up and down each time we did stations.  The pictures on the cards coordinated with the pictures on the sign at the station location. This made it easy for kids to identify where they needed to be.

This management chart is actually in my TPT Store. It is called Literacy Station Signs.  I cut the cards out, attached them to cardstock, and laminated them. Then I hooked them together using ribbons. Each student had a clothespin with their name on it. I would attach the clothespin to the station they were assigned to. Again, I could just move them down each day to send them to the next station.

This is my current management chart.  I teach second grade now so I do not necessarily need visual pictures.  It is simple, but that makes it easy to use. On each blue card, I have the station name.  I write the partnerships on the index cards with magnets.  Then, each day I move them down to their next station. The students at the bottom not at a station are pulled by either myself or the Learning Support Teacher for small group time.

Releasing Responsibility:
My biggest recommendation is to introduce stations slowly. I have seen teachers introduce all 6-9 stations in one day and then chaos ensues. Often then teachers throw up their hands and give up.  Gradually releasing the responsibility is something Debbie Diller discusses a lot in her book about literacy stations.  

I take about 3-4 weeks to get all of my stations fully up and running. I know this seems like a long time, but if you do it right it will work.  Things will run smoothly and you'll be able to pull small groups while you're students are being self-sufficient at their station.

I introduce the stations one at a time whole group. I always start with reading station (more info on this on Sunday) because it's the easiest.  I then allow partnerships a few minutes to practice.  Then, the next day I introduce a second station.  

Another huge suggestion is to model.  Model, model, model. The more you model what you expect of kids at a particular station, the better off you will be. In addition to modeling myself, I also will have students model the expectations.  



Thanks for reading all about how I manage Literacy Stations in my classroom.  Check back Sunday to see what I include in my Reading Station.

Check out past Literacy Station blog posts:
Introduction
Set-Up

Literacy Stations Set-Up

Today is Day #2 in my Literacy Station blog series. If you missed the introduction from Day #1, click here

Today I'll be going over how to pick stations and how to set-up stations in the classroom.

Choosing Stations:
One of the first things you'll want to do is to actually pick the stations you want to use in your classroom.  I like to have no more than 3 kids (2 is ideal) at each station. So, if you have 20 kids, you might need to have about 10 stations. You also want to figure that some of the students will be working with you so you probably won't have 20 kids actually at stations at the same time.  I'll go into how to manage this all in my next blog post on Thursday.

Here is a list of stations that could be used in your classroom: (if there is an asterisk by the station, I will be going over that station in more detail later in my blog series)

  • Reading Station*
  • Spelling Station*
  • Boggle Station
  • Around the Room Station
  • Vocabulary Station*
  • Writing Station*
  • Making Words Station
  • ABC Station
  • Handwriting Station
  • Reading Response Station*
  • iPad/Tech Station*
  • Listening Station
  • Informational Text Station
When choosing stations keep in mind your grade level and your students' ability levels.  I used Handwriting Station when I taught first grade, but wouldn't use it in 2nd grade.

Classroom Set-Up:
Classroom set-up depends a lot on the space and furniture you have in your classroom.  At one school, I had a large classroom and tons of tables. So, I had set spots for stations at specific tables. So, students knew if they were going to the ABC station that they were going to be at the table by the door. Then, on that table,  I'd have the I Can List or task cards along with any other materials they would need at that station.



Currently I don't have that much table space, so my stations are flexible and can be done at their desk or somewhere around the room.  I have task cards set up in one spot and students grab them and then go to wherever they decide to work. If a station has materials, I store those materials in a large storage container (typically 16 qt size) and then students take the task cards and container to the area where they have decided to work.  Writing Station is a little tricky because I do have a lot of materials. I have a shelf in my classroom with more storage containers where students can find the materials for that station. I'll show a picture of that when I go over my Writing Station in a later post.





So there is a quick overview of station options and class set-up ideas.  On Thursday, I'll be sharing classroom management tips for stations with you.  I will go over how to pick partners, timing of stations, using a management chart, and how to gradually release the responsibility during stations.
    

New Blog Series - All About Literacy Stations - Introduction

I have been using Literacy Stations in my classroom since I started teaching 11 years ago. I've used them in first-third grades and have found them beneficial for all students.  I decided to start a little blog series during the month of January that will cover all things Literacy Stations.

So to start off - I decided to answer a few questions about Literacy Stations to  introduce us to the topic...

What are Literacy Stations?

  • Literacy stations are literacy based activities that students can work on independently.
  • They provide practice and differentiation with reading and writing skills. Some stations can offer review for students while also offering challenge activities for students who are ready.
  • Stations are more student driven and less teacher driven.
  • They do not need to be changed out weekly - stations can run with the same activities all year long making less work for the teacher.
  • Literacy stations when up and running can free the teacher up to pull small groups.
Why do I like using Literacy Stations in my classroom?

  • Students are independently working on reading and writing skills which makes it possible for me to pull literacy small groups.
  • Students have choices in the activities that they are working on.
  • There are options that provide built-in differentiation.
  • They are working with a partner or group of 3, which provides practice working with others.
  • Students are rotating stations each day so no one is bored doing the same activity multiple times in a row.
  • Once it's set-up - it's up and running. I do not have to change out stations each week. I do add things throughout the year, but since there are multiple choices at each station - kids are more likely to be engaged.
  • No worksheets - I'm not a fan of worksheets and while they are some recording sheets this is not a sit down and do your workbook type of time. Students are practicing reading, creating writing pieces, and playing games.  Much more engaging then doing a few pages in a workbook.

Where did I get most of my ideas and inspiration?

  • I've gotten many ideas, especially when I was just starting out, from Debbie Diller.  She has two excellent books about literacy stations.  Literacy Work Stations is geared towards K-2 teachers.  Practice with Purpose is geared towards 3-6 teachers.
  • I also have been through a training at a past school.
  • I've also researched ideas online and implemented/created ideas of my own.
 

What will this blog series include?

  • This blog series will run through the rest of January. 
  • I will also be doing videos on Instagram and/or Facebook.
  • Topics Included:
    • Set-Up
    • Management
    • Ideas for.... reading station, technology station, fluency station, reading response station, vocabulary station, writing station, non-fiction station, and teacher time.

Check back on Tuesday for ideas for how to set-up Literacy Stations in your classroom.


Winter Break Update

Hello everyone and Happy Almost New Year!

I'm entering week 2 of Winter Break and wanted to check in on here real quick. I know I've been MIA on the blog the last 2-3 weeks, but with the craziness of the holiday season (and getting really sick the last week before break) some time away was needed.

I will be back to blogging within the next week so stay tuned!

To keep up with me in the meantime...check out...

Facebook - Team J's 2nd Grade Fun

Instagram - Team J's 2nd Grade Fun

TPT Store - Jordan Johnson

Pinterest - Team J's 2nd Grade Fun

Have a lovely New Year's and I'll be checking back in the next few days!

Holiday Activities for the Classroom

I know how crazy the last few days/week before winter break can be. We are entering crazy times teachers and we need to have as many fun, educational activities in our back pocket ready to go as we can.

So, here are a few things I will be using with my class this week....



Christmas Writing Prompts - This is a FREEBIE in my TPT Store.  It includes two writing prompts that are focused on personal narratives.  Great way to incorporate writing into the holiday excitement.


Candy Cane Science Lab - I did this activity with my class last year and will be starting it this week. We've been learning about lab reports during Writing Workshop and this is a fun science experiment to do this time of year. Check out my blog post on it....here...

Olive, the Other Reindeer Book Study - This is a cute story and my students love hearing it every year.  This book study is now in my TPT Store. It includes comprehension questions and four different writing prompts. This could be used whole group or as a small group activity.


Christmas Story Problems - We will be starting these today.  I love using holiday story problems as one of my rotations during our daily math time.  The kids love that they are themed and fitting of the season.  The Christmas Story Problems include addition and subtraction problems with and without regrouping.


Winter Story Problems - I will actually be using these when we return to school in January, but if your school focuses on winter instead of the specific holidays - these story problems would be great. These can be used whole group, small group, or at a math center.  These winter themed problems focus on ice skating, hot chocolate, snowmen, etc.  Includes addition and subtraction problems.

Hope these activities and ideas help with the last bit of school before break. I'm down to 7.5 days left with students. We can do it teachers!

Five Fun Christmas Books

I love the holidays. In my class, all of my students celebrate Christmas while some celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.  So, we read a lot of Christmas and Hanukkah books during read aloud time during the month of December.  Here are Five Fun Christmas Books to use with your class...


The Polar Express - Yes, I know this is a predictable choice, but it's such a great book. We read it and also watch the movie at our party each year.
Product Details

Olive the Other Reinder - Olive is a dog who decides she must be a reindeer based on the lyrics in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. This book goes through how she tries to join Santa's team. Super cute!
Product Details


How Santa Got His Job - A fun story about how Santa realized his true calling...



The Jolly Christmas Postman - I love the Jolly Postman story for teaching about letter writing and the Christmas version revisits many of the same characters. Kids love how it has the letters and things you can pull out from inside.
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How The Grinch Stole Christmas - Another popular choice that had to make the list! Can't go wrong with Dr. Seuss!
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What are your favorite holiday books to read in class?

Elf on the Shelf in the Classroom

 
For the past few years, we've had an elf visit our 2nd grade classroom during the month of December.  Each time my class has come up with a different name for our little friend. We've had Sparky, Buddy, Snowy, and this year they decided to name him Gold. The elf always does something funny or naughty, and also always writes a note to our class. In our note, the elf always reminds us of the good choices we should be making.

Below are some of my favorite elf adventures from the past few years...

Our little elf friend came back from the North Pole with a cold or flu.  He had to rest all day, but still had a good spot to keep an eye on everyone's behavior.


Snowy the Elf decided he wanted to be part of the decorations.  On our tree, we had ornaments with each student's face on them. Snowy decided to take over.  

Here we have Snowy again. He decided to call no math homework for the night and even cut up all of the homework. The kids couldn't believe it!


Our elf Sparky loved his name. He loved his name so much that he decided to decorate our room with it.

Here is Buddy the Elf. Poor Buddy was climbing a tower of unifix cubes the day before and fell when he tried to get down.  He had to rest and keep his leg elevated for the day.

Here we have Buddy again. Buddy decided his own behavior was outstanding and brought his own clip for the clip chart. He challenged the whole class to try to clip up that day.

Each week I have a different student who is star student and they fill in and share the poster above. Buddy didn't want to be left out so he created his own star student poster to share with the class.

Here we have Sparky leaving us some friendly reminders...

I love having the elf visit our classroom. Do you have an elf in your classroom? If so, comment below!

Last Day of the TPT Cyber Sale

Today is the last day of the TPT Cyber Sale. My entire store - Jordan Johnson - will be up to 25% off with the code CYBER17. Check out some of my book studies that are also for sale below...

Check out my newest book study series - Jake Drake....

Jake Drake - Know-It-All

Jake Drake Know-It-All - Book Study        Jake Drake Teacher's Pet - Book Study


Check out my other book studies below. Click on the picture for more information...

Nate the Great Goes Undercover - Book Study       Cam Jansen - The Mystery of the Dinosaur Bones - Book Study     Flat Stanley - Framed In France - Book Study

Ivy and Bean - Book Study       Ivy + Bean and The Ghost That Had to Go - Book Study      Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record - Book Study

Nate the Great and the Lost List - Book Study       Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Book Study      Surprises According to Humphrey - Book Study

I Survived - The Great Chicago Fire, 1871 - Book Study

Happy Shopping!