One day I was talking to our building's Super Sub (every school has one of those, don't they?) and she told me that she had been in a room where the kids chose their station right when they came in the room in the morning. So, of course, I had to figure out how to make that work in my room. I feel like I'm a pretty smart person, but for some reason, this tasking was a strain on my brain!
So, I decided I would go to the new Lakeshore store that we have in Indianapolis. (Awesome, right? . . . it might be a bad thing though . . . I think I've already spent $300 in there!) I was so excited when I found this chart. I would link it up for you, but I don't see this particular one on their website. Each color can be a separate chart and they velcro together to make one big chart. I use these Command hooks to hang it on my wall . . . If you don't have any of those, you need to get some. They are AMAZING! AND . . . they are removable . . . but strong!
So after I found this awesome chart, I made three sets of cards that name each of the different stations. I added a number if there is a maximum number of kids that can go to a particular station. Click the pic to get a FREE copy for yourself.
Then I got out my Daily 5 charts and added my kids pictures to them. You could just write names I suppose, but I didn't want to! :)
I updated my Daily 5 chart pack so that you can add pics or write names on your computer. You will have to have Microsoft Publisher to do that though. I tried to move it to Word, but I can't stand that program! I couldn't get it to do anything I wanted! If you have already bought my Daily 5 charts, be sure to go download the updated version!
I put each child's cards in a library card pocket with his/her name and number on the front. I alphabetize things in my room by first names . . . just makes sense to me! I then put the library pockets in some sort of container in number order. When the kids first get to school, they move their lunch stick and take their Daily 5 cards. They take the cards to their seats and determine which stations they are going to complete that day. (We only have time to do 3 rotations of Daily 5 in our Literacy block.)
When the kids choose their station, they check the colored card that is on the pocket. If their reading group color is in the pocket, then they don't choose a station for that rotation. They will only choose for the other 2 rotations.
Another great thing about the kids getting the cards, they have to choose different stations . . . after they have used both of their Word Work cards, they can't use them anymore and they have to choose another activity! I also have kids who leave for intervention, so I take out one of their Read to Self cards, and one of their Writing cards. They do have one Read to Self card, but that one is for RAZ-Kids. That kinda forces them to go to some of the other stations . . . and since we have other times to read to ourselves, and I do TONS of writing, I feel like it's okay to take away a couple of choices.
As the children choose, you will have some of your natural leaders make sure that all is right with the world . . . aka the chart! If there are too many people at word work, these little leaders will inform the others that there is a small problem! If there is an odd number of kids at Read to Someone, they will find someone to switch or move to that station! You know you have those kiddos! Let them lead . . . just be sure to make sure they aren't bullying or getting the same kids to move all the time! You ARE still the teacher . . . as much as they would like to take over your job! LOL
Now, while you are busy taking attendance, checking notes, and listening to stories about cats, dogs, owwies, etc., your day is getting set up!
After we get going, I just say . . . "Let me have my first reading group back at the table, and the rest of you get to work!" I have gained about 15 minutes during this block by doing this . . . and I'm sure I don't have to tell you how much you can do in 15 minutes!
It was really funny . . . Thursday, we were just cooking along and I said for the kids to get to their stations and they all said "We already did 3 stations!" It was quite funny . . . but AWESOME!
If you would like to get the updated version of my Daily 5 cards/charts that can be edited, just click the pic! You can also get my Super Hero Daily 5 Bulletin Board Headers!