These days time just seems to be flying by! For some of you school has already started and for many others your days are filled with getting ready for school to start soon. This is such a busy season that seems to usher in a busy school year. I know how limited time is which is why I am sharing one of my favorite time savers with you today.
Learning Stations (or Centers) is the norm in the primary classroom today. But gone are the day when stations are just for play. It can be tough finding education activities that your students can do independently. One way I build independence is by having a station that stays consistent all year long. Do my students do the same activity all year long? No. But they do have some of their centers that include the same format all year – but the content changes. I find it easy to to teach these stations in whole or small group at the beginning of the year. Once I see that the class understands the activity and can complete it without much direction I use it as a center. Here’s a couple of the on-going centers that I use in my classroom.
1. Multi-Sensory Sight Word Pages
I LOVE these sight word practice pages and so do my students. As a teacher I love that this one page includes so many different ways to read, write and spell sight words. I introduce this activity whole group as we learn our first sight words. I take the time to explain each section and model my expectation on the page. We usually do 3 – 5 pages whole class before I put this in a word work station. After that all I have to do is change out the page to match the sight words we are working on.
This activity makes it super easy to differentiate for my students too! I can easily give students the words they are working on in their guided reading lessons to make sure I am challenging each of them at their instructional level.
Each page gives your students 7 ways to practice reading and writing the word. I begin these pages whole group in my classroom. Why? I want to train my students to do the page. Here’s what we do. First, point to the word in the box and read it. Then we trace it with our finger. Next, trace the word with a pencil on the dotted lines, then write the word on the lines with your pencil. Now for the class favorite – Rainbow Writing. I teach my kids that this is not coloring. We use crayons to write the word inside the bubble letters with at least 3 different colors. Then we practice reading the word as we search for it amongst other words. I tried to put other words in the search box that look similar to the target word just to make sure students are reading through the word and not just looking at the first letter. Last, we build the word. In the available letters I always try to include letters that are similar or have common mistakes. This is just another way to help them master their letters too!
In my TpT store you can find sets for many of the most common sight word/high frequency word lists. I have a set for Fry’s First 100 Words, the Dolch Word List, common kindergarten words, common first grade words and more. I am also happy to put together a custom set with your school specific sight words too! Stop by and check them out!
2. Write the Room
Another one of my favorite on-going learning stations is Write the Room. During this word work station students use a clipboard and move around the room to write down letters, words or sentences that match a corresponding picture.
One of my favorite beginning of the year activities is write the room with names. This is a great way to help the kids get to know each other and start to recognize their own name and the names of their friends.
Another great write the room activity at the beginning of the year is searching for letters around the room. The students had to find the letter somewhere in the room before writing it on the recording sheet. Click on the picture below for a recording sheet you can use to put this station in your classroom. The kids really loved doing this activity with magnifying glasses.
Another reason I love write the room activities is because they can easily be changed out to match a topic being taught at the time. I really love incorporating our science and social studies themes into our language arts activities. Here’s a Write the Room activity from my Community Helpers Activities Set. In this activity students are matching the picture of the community helper and writing the name of that job.
|All you have to do is cut these cards apart and tape them up around the classroom.
The students then do a “scavenger hunt” looking for the cards!
|Students use this recording sheet to write the name of the community helper
after finding the card in the classroom.
You can find this write the room station and more community helper activities in my Community Helper Centers and Activities set in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Just click the picture below to check it out.
I hope that you got some ideas on using on-going learning stations to help you students work independently and save you some time! If you have a favorite on-going station please share it in the comments and help out another teacher.
Don’t forget to check out the other September resources on the Teacher Deals and Dollar Steals Oh Snap – It’s Almost September Link-up.