Managing Station Time

Truth be told, I’m a bit of a *control freak*.  I’m sure there’s a little bit of that in all of us.  Mine tends to reign when it comes to managing my classroom.   And it gets EXTREMELY stressed out when I’m flying, but that’s beside the point.  Yes…I like to be in control in the classroom.  It would be scary if there were no control….we all know that.

I’ve worked with lots of teachers who were masters at letting go of control…in certain aspects, of course.  I’ve dabbled in it here and there, but I’ve always been a little nervous to find out what it would be like if I let my kids choose instead of me.  Maybe that’s why the Daily 5 framework & I didn’t mesh so well.  I love all the components, but the choice part just freaked me out {sad, but true}.

I had the opportunity to attend a really great guided reading training this past summer offered by my district.  The training covered many aspects of our literacy block and the presenters talked a lot about giving kids the freedom to choose.  Then one of them mentioned an easy way for kids to keep themselves accountable during the whole choice process.  And it just clicked.  I remember thinking, “I can totally do this!!!!”.  I even wrote it in my notes.  Consider it done.

And this week I introduced “choice” during my literacy block.  We’re going to need lots of practice….and lots of reteaching…and lots more practice.  But so far, so good.  And the kids love the autonomy.

Here was the “a-ha!!!” idea.  Nothing fancy.  Nothing crazy.  So simple, yet SO very genius.  Why didn’t I think of it myself?!?!?

photo

Basically, I keep a class list at each station.  Again, nothing fancy.  They’re laminated so that the kids can use dry erase markers on them, but a dry erase sleeve would work just as well. 

The kids know that they can choose an activity at any of my stations in the room.  If there are two people already working in a station, they have to find another station {I have 5-8 stations in my room, depending on the objectives/week}.  This works really well with my class because I only have 9 kids at a time during my literacy half group blocks.  Once they get to the station of their choice, they have to mark their name off the checklist.  This way they know they can’t return to that station and I can quickly see exactly who’s done what. 

Of course, I couldn’t let go of all control, so the kids have to go to “dinner” first before they can go to “dessert”.  {Must do’s/Can do’s}

photo (5) 

I absolutely love the simplicity of this idea.  And I love how easy it is for us to keep track of everything.  Like I said, we’re still practicing…and reteaching…and practicing some more.  But they’re doing so great already I know they’ll have it down in no time!

24 comments:

  1. I have the same control problems! Our class did Daily 5 (ish) last year, but I didn't let mine pick! This seems like a very simple way to solve that problem! Thanks!

    Ms. Cranfill's Class

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  2. My name is Tania and I am a control freak :) But I am so willing to try this fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing:)
    tania
    My Second Sense

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  3. The simplest ideas are always the best! I'm going to share this idea with our first grade team. Thank you!!

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  4. I AM SOOoooo IN! Why didn't I think of this!??? THANKS!!! I am making my class lists NOW! wendy 1stgradefireworks@gmail.com 1stgradefireworks

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  5. Hmmmm....this might work....do you have a lot of kiddos wandering around looking for a center to go to or do they choose pretty quickly?

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  6. I wanted to try centers this year and still keep putting it off for this reason. Genius!

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  7. Sometimes it is the simple things that bring the most joy!

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  8. Omg...I'm loving this little tid bit. I can't handle the tracking systems I've tried in the past for Daily 5 but this seems totally doable. Going to make my lists now!!!

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  9. Cant...Let...Go.... :) Great idea!!!

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  10. I do a Daily 5-ish literacy block, but I don't let them choose. I like this idea. I might have to try it later in the year. My class right now could NOT handle it. It's just not one of those classes. ;)

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  11. I was just thinking this week that I had to come up with a better system for my literacy stations. Thank you for the idea!!!

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  12. How funny is it that I just posted how I manage centers the other day too?? Lol. I like your system too! That's kind of how I do my math centers....since we don't get to them every day....

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  13. Your so funny! I started this last year just for computer/iPad station. I only have one iPad and I was not sure that the same did not always go to computer. It works great! My K had no trouble! You should be good.

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  14. This is simply amazing and such a great visual!! I made desk strips and the kids color in each Daily 5 as it's completed. This reminds them each day of what they've done and what they have left.

    Laurie
    First Grade Lyons' Den

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  15. So simple, but so great! I'm always looking for ideas to help keep track of station stuff. Thanks for sharing!!

    Teacher at the Wheel

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  16. That is a genius idea! I think I'm going to do this with the Daily Five this year!

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  17. I absolutely love this idea! It is seriously so simple & kid friendly! Thanks for sharing this! I was having a hard time coming up with a way to do my station rotations and this will (hopefully) solve my problem!

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  18. Do the kids wonder around trying to decide where to go? How are they handling it when the station is closed?

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  19. I like this idea. This is a great way to incorporate more stations for the early finisher, too. Do you have any problems with students erasing the marked out names?

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  20. Thanks I a, trying to give more control to my kinders this year and this may help me do that

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  21. Cara this is awesome! We're starting our RTI block this upcoming week and this has just made it less daunting! Thank you so much!

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  22. Wow!!! Awesome and easy!! My two favorite requirements!

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  23. Do you have an editable version? Your pictures are so cute.

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  24. Cara do you have a download of these cute sheets? I would love to do this.
    Kimtbear@hotmail.com

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