Saturday, December 7, 2013

Literacy Workstations with iPods

This week, I was determined to start literacy workstations. iPods were used at 2 stations, besides the technology station. The timer on the iPods were used at the fluency station as students timed each other reading for a minute. Spelling City was used for the Word Study Station. Students looked up the lists for Storytown by searching for the teacher's name "Glenda Jackson." She has both the third and fourth grade lists on there. Thank you Glenda! At the technology station, students used minis and PCs to access

My favorite time was after workstations. I decided to let all the students get their iPods out and have a little time to use them. On Thursday (the first workstation day), a volunteer, who is helping with workstations, told me that she was a little "freaked out" that the students all have access to their own iPods. She was a bit concerned that they might not be learning as much by using the technology. She asked if all the students in the school had iPods, and I explained to her a bit about how the T3 program works in our district. I wish she could have seen the students the next day. Again, I gave them some iPod time after workstations, but I said it had to be ELA (English Language Arts) related. The students know that means reading, spelling or writing. They were so ENGAGED and learning. One thing I heard them teaching each other was how to access Glenda Jackson's word list on Spelling City. While the students were on their iPods, I felt like I was able to take a moment and breathe since the students were quietly engaged. That is quite a miracle in my classroom.

I created a really awesome management board. The first 2 rows are for Wednesday. The third and fourth row are for Thursday and the last two rows are for Friday. There are 5 groups and they should read where they need to be by going down the columns. At the bottom are the named of the students in the groups. Together, we came up with "Workstation Expectations," which are posted next to the management board.
At the writing station, students work on the plan for a story when given a prompt. At the reading station, they partner read the main story of the week and answer the Think Critically questions (if they have time). At the teacher station, they read through a Leveled Reader for the week and answer the questions.

I was so fortunate to have a volunteer come into the classroom on Thursday. I adjusted my schedule so that we could do workstations when she comes in. She was able to work with group 2 and 5, which freed me up to make sure the students at the other stations knew what they needed to do. I was thinking that would eventually plan on meeting with those groups, but now I think I will have her continue to work with those students, so I can meet with group 1 part of that day. That is the group that I really should work with as much as possible.

Students were moving to different stations to switch to the next locations, which was the loudest time during the workstation period. Starting next week, I will be changing that, and during winter break, I will be rearranging where the students sit, so they will be sitting with their group during class. Then, they will not need to move during the transition from one station to another. I will have 5 magazine boxes (one for each group), each with 6 folders inside (one for each station). They will take out the folder for the directions/ worksheets for the next station while remaining seated. The only students who may need to move during the transition are the ones using the computers. However, since the students have iPods, they might not even need to do that!

I have already given the students pocket folders (the ones that also have the center section to add hole-punched paper) for their workstation work. I plan on making the center section a word study area to keep all the words they are learning this year. I'm feeling really good about the direction I'm heading in with workstations.

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