Tuesday, February 5, 2013


My first year of teaching first grade has been crazy!  I have been trying to find a good routine that works for my students and me.  I started out trying to implement the Daily Five.  I worked hard to have clear expectations, practice, build stamina, and it just was not working.  In math I was also struggling to set up groups or centers to give my students opportunities to work hands on with math materials.  I tried different size groups, four rotations, two rotations, giving students choice and this also just wasn't working.   I needed to find something else that worked better for my students.  They were off task, too loud and I was not able to work with small groups and individuals like I wanted to because I was always running around trying to get students back on task.

My solution - Workstations!

Right before winter break I won a copy of Debbie Diller's book, Literacy Workstations.  I read the book over break and started using them the first day back.  A few weeks later I restructured my math program and organized math workstations too.  I am just starting to read her Math Work Stations book and will be adjusting my workstations as needed, but I wanted to share what I have set up so far in my classroom.

Literacy Workstations:

I have 12 workstations because I have 24 students and I wanted them to work in partners.  The students participate in two workstations most days.  Five of the workstations are the Daily Five activities that I had already introduced:  read to self, partner reading, writing, word work, and listening to reading.  The others are:  guided reading, poetry, big books, games, computers, pocket chart, and library.  These stations are located around the room and I will go into more detail about each station in future posts.

Here is my Literacy Workstation chart:

I move the students' names up each day.

Math Workstations:

I also have 12 math workstations.  These workstations are in 11 labeled bins and the 12th is computer games.  Here is a photo of bins 1-9:

Right now here is what is in each bin:

1 - addition worksheets
2 - dice games
3 - spinner addition game with dry erase markers and erasers
4 - ten frame matching cards - two levels
5 - unifix cubes
6 - dominoes
7 - base 10 blocks
8 - 100 charts and number scroll pages
9 - pattern blocks
10 - calculators
11- number cards and a < > activity sheet
12 - computers

Here is my Math Workstations chart:

 I move the numbers across to change this chart.
I am just starting this in my classroom and have a lot more to share.  Let me know if you have any questions and I will try to answer those in future posts.