Thursday, April 19, 2012

Work Station Management

A while back I was really struggling with managing my work station groups and rotations. I would end the day with post it notes on my desk marking which students had been to which work station. Basically, it was madness. I borrowed some ideas and came up with a situation that works for me right now.

Here's what I use to rotate students. When people first see it they think it's really confusing but after explaining it to my students a few times they all got the hang of it. The names (which I blurred) do not move unless they move to a new group. All groups are based on ability level. We do both reading and math work stations so the reading work stations are identified by letter and math work stations have the numbers.

So if you look to the 1st two students, you can see to the left that their row says B, D, 5. If we're doing our reading work stations they know that their first stop would be station B and then station D. If we're just doing math they know to look for their number and they'd be going to station 5.

In my perfect world we'd be doing 2 reading work stations and 1 math work station a day but of course that rarely happens. I have velcro on each of these pieces so I can easily change them or just move them over if we don't get to everything I planned.

My biggest issue has been figuring out how to get each group to each station and so I come up with things like this. I can't tell you how many times I have to erase and change things. It drives me crazy! Eventually I just had to be okay with it so we could start our rotations. It's definitely more difficult for me to figure out our reading rotations because I meet with my lowest group almost every day. I was actually too embarrassed to post my reading rotation like this one. Ha! Is this normal?? How do you figure out the rotation without going crazy?

I just read a post from KinderGals yesterday about their math station management and I'm totally digging it. Since I'm getting a lot more practice running & maintaining stations this year I'm hoping that next year I'll feel more comfortable with students working in bigger groups. If you're already thinking about plans for next year (only 24 days left- ahh!) then I'd definitely recommend this post.

I'm also participating in the Pinterest Craft Exchange through the Teacher Blogger Exchange and I was so excited when I won a giveaway for $25 to Amazon. I knew right away that I wanted Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller and it should be here soon! Thanks to Leea from Set This Circus Down! My goals for the summer are to figure out a simpler way to do things and create more of my own materials.

My question to you: If you put your students in heterogeneous groups, how do you manage pulling your small groups? While the ones are with you, do they still do the same work that the other students are doing but just at a different time? I need a lot of time to wrap my brain around all of this but hopefully I'll get the hang of it soon.

And to leave you with a little cuteness: we've been working on cause & effect these past two weeks and my students completed this page with a sub.
Haha! Choose the good mouse side, friends! : )

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