Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I originally created this as my first crack at guest blogging for the incredible Shuna Patterson at Pocket Full of Kinders.  As we’re spending time getting to know each other better this summer, I thought I’d share it with my fab followers too. Over the past week, A+ Firsties has grown very quickly! My head is spinning in amazement….but welcome, tell a friend…and keep ‘em coming! I like it!

Sit back and get comfortable.  This one’s a long one because its about my favorite time of the school day.  My centers have always ran well (using a Debbie Dillier-ish model), but I’m currently reading up on implementing The Daily 5.  So far, it seems…it may make my favorite time of day even better!

Well, check it out…if you make it all the way to the end…let me know what you think!


What’s your favorite time of the school day {besides dismissal}….c’mon, think about it?! You know you have one {and lunch doesn’t count either"}, lol!  My favorite time of day is work station (centers) time.  We call them work stations in our room because we have the understanding that we’re working to become better readers, writers, and mathematicians!

Our rotation each day begins with our work stations chart.

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 I was thrilled to find someone that runs as many stations as I do!  2’s company and 3’s a crowd, so I try to pair my students in stations.  My class this year was super sized so you may notice a group or two with 3 kiddos.  Each pair has two little mini-charts in the pocket.  They never touch this chart.  Its for eyes only and all they see are the 3 stations that they’ll visit for the day.  We visit 3 stations daily and if time allows, wrap up the week with free choice stations on Fridays.  I turn their chart to the correct day and its their signal to be off and working….(with purpose).

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Want shelves that your kiddos can’t write on?  Want shelves that kids can’t leave their stuff on?  Want shelves that won’t take up a lot of space, but still store everything you need for  center time?  Try metal baker’s racks!  They’re usually on sale at the beginning of the school year.  I have my desks arranged in groups of 4 with a shelf at the end of each group.  At stations time, their group of desks are used as our work stations.  If something is dropped, its heard or falls through, so it has to be picked up….{almost} completely mess proof and super easy to put together!

You might notice that I’m a bit of a neat freak.  I didn’t realize this about myself until someone else pointed it out. No worries, though…I have my condition under control just enough to have  a corner for my messiness.  Its hiding behind my desk.  No pictures, please…it’ll remind me that I have cleaning to do.:-) I’m kind of nut for color coding things too….so each station has the same color baskets.  What teacher doesn’t love walking into a rainbow of colored baskets each day?  Only other teachers understand this fascination!

I’ve also acknowledged that I’m completely addicted to pocket charts!  Large ones, small ones, solid ones, color coded ones, oh my!  And guess what?!! The ones you see above I picked up at Target for $1! You know I picked up as many as I could find….where else can you find a pocket chart for a buck? They fit perfectly on the end of these shelves for vocabulary displays or sorting activities.

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This stand is another fab Target find!  Why spend $80+ dollars on a pocket chart stand when an adjustable garment rack will do the same job and is super cute! Both the crossbar and the legs are adjustable. You’ll also notice a list on the top of each shelf.  These are our “I can” lists.  On each list are a choice of activities that students may complete at a station. I don’t change station activities weekly.  Even my ADD allows for a little longer focus than that! 

There are 3 to 4 activities at each station and students choose which skill they would like to practice.  As a reward for quality work, one student from each table group, sometimes more, gets to hang their work on the “Wow Work Station Wall” AKA our classroom door! This I do change every Friday and if their work is featured, they get to sign their name on a star.

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What about math, you say?  Yep!  We do Math stations too….but in a much simpler way. 

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6 tables, 6 trays…  After we’ve completed our whole group lesson for the day, each table group gets a tray.  The same tray goes on the same table each day.  The kids rotate.  The die cut numbers in each tray are to help us remember where each group should go the next day. I’ve thought about having them come in to morning work/math tubs each day…but it just hadn’t worked out that way for this year.  Maybe next year… 

So much to do, so little time…but within the day, we manage to squeeze it all in!  Thanks for letting me visit.  I hope this little peak into my favorite time of day, in some way may help to enhance yours!  Happy teaching….


  1. I love how you organize everything! I use a lot of Target $1 pocket charts. They are so useful for so many things! Thanks for sharing how you run your stations. :)
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  2. I am SO glad I have you as a friend! I learned SOOO much from you for "stations"! I enjoy how they flow and how independent the students are at each "station". I just need to work harder at the I CAN.. list! Can you give tips on that ;)
    Patterson's Porch

  3. Hi Mrs. Dwyer! Yesterday, I received the Versatile Blogger award and decided to pass it on to you. I loved your blog yesterday, and even more today. Your post on work stations is fabulous. Work stations have been a huge part of our days for the last 4 years. I am always looking for better (and to be honest, easier) ways to set them up and organize materials and kids. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  4. Great post! I wish I was that organized.
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers


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