Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Writing Workstation!

Wouldn't you know it, just when I put my self on a schedule, a fabulous three day weekend rolls on in; bowling, dinners, movies, Big Bang Theory... you know how it goes..

So here is "Sataurday's post"...

Workstations Part 2:

The Writing Workstation

This is my favorite workstation. I think so much creativity happens in this workstation. The kids seem to enjoy it too! I try to change it up every once in a while, but it doesn't change as often as some of the others, I mean if it's working, go with it! Right!?!

Here is the set up:

I have this long row of double shelves in my room. They hold a ton of materials including two workstations. The writing workstation consists of the green lap bench (a bargain at the craft store), the green basket, two binders and various supplies...

dry erase markers, pencils, crayons

journals :)
When the kiddos go to this workstation they have the option of completing up to three tasks. I always say up to, because there is always a kid who wants to spend the whole time on one story, and that perfectly OK with me!

Their first option is the label it binders:

I saw this fabulous idea over at First Grade Blue Skies and thought it worked perfectly in this workstation. They are getting the opportunity to write and read, love it! I have a few different binders that I rotate in and out to keep the activity fresh. They would spend the whole time doing this, but I limit them to three label it pages, and then they have to write in the journal. Some choose not to label at all, that's fine too!

Their other options are in the green basket: sequence story or roll a story.

When they use the sequence cards they practice writing a first, then, next, last story in the journal. I got the cards from Lakeshore Learning. They have easy to understand pictures and are color and number coded for easy organization. I keep four sets in the basket at a time and change them every month.

When they use the roll a story dice, they can roll two or three dice. Then they write a story about or including the things on the dice they rolled. Some of the stories can be pretty creative, while other stick to the basics. To make the dice I bought 6 cubes at the craft store, printed out clip art and modge-podged away :)I have six dice and have changed them three times this year. Since the possibility of rolls are great, there is less of a need to change this activity... something I really enjoy!

And that's it! The writing workstation! It is one that is low maintenance, which in a classroom with centers, math tubs and workstations, low maintenance is always a plus!

SO what do you do in your writing workstation? New ideas are always welcomed!

oh... and I'll try to be better with my schedule! The days just seem to get away....


Saturday, January 12, 2013


If you have been following this blog for awhile, you know I am in LOVE with workshop (aka language arts small group instruction). It continues to be one of my favorite times of the day. I get to meet with the kids, they work independently and in small groups at workstations.

Workstations is something new that I am doing this year, and I really like it! We have 7 stations in my room and the kids visit them over the course of two weeks.

Because I love to hear how other people set up their workstations, I thought I'd share mine too. So, today is the inaugural day of the Saturday Workstation Series! For the next few weeks I will show you how we do workstations.

Today's focus is the Pocket-Chart Workstation. So, here we go. This is how we do it in my room...

Here is the pocket chart workstation.

are you diggin' the purple? :)

There are, at any time, 3-6 activities that the kids can choose from. Most of them are sorting or matching activities. They are stored in baggies and kept in the green bin.

This week the kids had a choice of:  3 short vowel/long vowel sorts, 1 rhyme match up,  and a blends sort. When the kids work on their activities they are asked to build it onto the chart like so...

two kiddos were working on a rhyming activity from my apple unit

The newest activity to the pocket chart station is Silly Sentences. The kids love it, and honestly, so do I. :) The object is to put together the most outlandish sentence using the cards provided. Here's the set up:

the kiddos need: half-sheets with lines and drawing space, pencils, crayons and...

the cards :)
The cards are "craftily" placed into three flash card box bottoms taped together. To make a silly sentence, each kiddo needs one card of each color: green to start, yellow in the middle and red to stop the sentence. Then they place it into the pocket chart.

silly right!

The student then writes their sentence down, adding punctuation and words (if necessary; every once in a while they need a preposition to make it work). They re-read their sentence and illustrate it!

The lady is eating boots., The bird is eating the pool., and The starfish is painting in a car.
Their pictures crack me up! And they have so much fun doing it (they can hardly keep from giggling!) The best part is that they are reading to understand and convey: perfect for workstations!

Since the kiddos are only in their workstations for 10 min or less (they come after their must and next do's) the activities have to be short and sweet, but also pack a punch! I change out the activities every other week, since it takes that long for my kids to rotate through the 7 workstations.

So that's our pocket-char workstation. I'm sure it will continue to evolve over the year as I come up with (or find on pinterest, lol) new things to do in it.

And because you stuck through and made it to the end of the post, the first two people to comment will get silly sentences for free :) don't forget to include your email.

And, everyone can pick Silly Sentences up at my tpt store!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Frog and Toad w/freebie

I'm breaking the rules.

Don't tell.

Really, it's not like me to; but I've had it!

So, we are all "fidelity to the reading program" at school,  and while I'm always on board with school policies... the reading program guided readers, are, well...

...NO FUN! (most of them, there's always a gem here or there)

So,  that's it! Starting this week two of my reading groups (yes, I'm living on the edge, lol, two out of my five groups) are in for a little treat I am over the moon about it!

My highest group will be reading The Magic Tree House and my middle highs will be reading Frog and Toad Are Friends. I am SO excitied :) (okay, maybe it's more like bending the rules : P I am still sticking with the rest of the program!)

Since I have never done Frog and Toad Are Friends with a reading group and to usher in this fun I created a Frog and Toad Are Friends book study! You can pick it up HERE at Teacher Pay Teachers :)

Also,  here's a craftivity for free! I found this great green (baby poop) scrapbook paper in my craft stuff and it makes the perfect color for a frog/toad. I don't thing I'll be able to recreate that color at school, so the kiddos' will end up plain ol' green :)

click the pic to download :)
Oh, and because I forgot to add this in the pattern pack, the purple page (any color would work) is an 9x12in! And I will be having my kiddos respond to friendship on the writing page :)

And one of my new year's resolutions is to get back to blogging! Let's face it... I've basically been MIA lately. I guess I just wasn't feeling creative enough to blog.

But, no more excuses I am back and ready to blog, baby! So see you soon, I promise :)