Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Work Station Wednesday

While getting dressed in outfits is important to me, it's only half of the battle (ok, ok a fourth of the battle). The remaining fourths are equally divided into paper work, managing my yakity yaks && actually teaching....oh, and re-fueling on caffeine to get me through it all. We've been crazy busy in my room making everything that needs to happen happen, but this week the busy dial was switched on to full blast. I'm telling you what, ya don't know busy until you start introducing work stations (a.k.a centers) into the land of 6 year olds. My kids have been asking about "centers" since Day 1, but it wasn't until last week (Week 3) that I deemed them ready to start Work Station Boot Camp. I can't even begin to describe their shocked little faces when a kitchen center didn't magically fall from the ceiling tiles or when the blocks on the rainy day recess shelf weren't an option during "center time." True first grade centers are way different than kindergarten centers (at least they are at my school), but just because play has exited the equation, doesn't mean the work that replaced it can't be fun.

In my room I have 5 stations:
1. Teacher Time
2. Reading Center
3. Writing Center
4. Word Center
5. Computers/Listening Center

My yakity yaks are divided into 5 small groups (with no more than 4 kids in each group). They rotate through all 5 stations with their group members every day. Each group is assigned a color && each center is assigned a color. Easy as pie...honest. You can read more about that {{here}}.

I know you're thinking I'm crazy for starting Work Station Boot Camp on Week #3, but pump the brakes on the crazy bus...I'm breaking it down to bite sized pieces && nobody is choking. Crisis Management Strategy: Instead of doing all 5 rotations in one day, we're taking 2 days to finish (2 rotations on one day and 3 on the other). I'm also giving them extra time in each center than they normally get (20 instead of the usual 12-15). The extra minutes give them time to settle into their center work. The extra minutes allow me to help my boot campers learn to complete rotations the right way (Teacher Time is Math Mania until we get the hang of things). Is it time consuming? Yes. Do I want to poke my eyeballs out? Yes. Is all this "training" time worth it? Yes, yes, yes!

One of my favorite writing center activities for this time of year is "Wacky Writing." I'm pretty sure a Mailbox Magazine (before Pinterest took over my world) allowed it to enter my world && lawd am I happy it did. The kids love it and it gives me a chance to see where they are in their idea developing/sentence writing abilities. All you need are manilla envelopes, some old magazines and card stock. This entire center had me paying $0 and nothing is better than free to a teacher. The cardstock and the manilla envelopes came from our school supply closet and the magazines came from my dentist office...they are fabulous about giving me their old magazines. To make it for your class all you need to do is cut out pictures from magazines, mat them onto cardstock and write the name of the item in the picture (cuts back on panic attacks from 6 year old spellers). I make 4 packs (5 cards in each envelope). Everything is laminated because glue stick covered fingers will ruin everything and anything they come into contact with. Once things are safe guarded it goes into the writing center where the kids write sentences about each of the pictures. Completely a brilliant find that they love, love, love!

Now that I've shared a slice of first grade heaven, I've got to make like a banana and split (whatever that means). Until next time live, love && remember to make things bite sized!


  1. Sounds like you have your centers down!!! Thanks for sharing.


    1. Thanks Jamie! It isn't pretty but so far they're surviving! :)