Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tracy asks...

I am wondering what methods others use to keep kids busy during reading group time for Kindergarten. Anyone use Workshop Way? It seems time consuming to set up but maybe it is better when it is all ready to go and the kids are trained?


  1. I highly recommend reading Debbie Diller's Literacy Stations. There are tons of engaging/learning things to keep your kids busy and learning during this time. Yes, it does take lots of training/modeling/practicing to get it done, but it is totally worth it. My K kids were able to go to a station, state the I can, and then complete the activity that they were to do.

  2. I teach 1st grade and during Guided Reading my kiddos go to Literacy Centers. My chart is split horizontally into 5 sections and each group works through one section a day. The kids each have a clip with their name on it, so they actually move independently through the centers in that section. Of course I group them with mixed ability so there is always someone to help along their section for that day. It takes about 3 weeks to get it really going (with explaining and modeling and practicing) but then it really runs itself. I just change out the Centers however often I need to (spelling every week, others not as often) and the kids stay busy! There are so many Centers you can put in- Spelling, Word Wall, ABC, ABC Order, Listening, Computer, Puzzles, Word Search, Writing, Post Office and I usually have a Math or Counting center just to keep that practice going too!

  3. I teach Kindergarten and also recommend reading Debbie Diller's Literacy Stations book. The Daily 5 is a great read. It is about setting up workstations. I have used this in my classroom. I also agree with the Waller family. It does take a lot of training/ modeling/ practice to get it done. IT is WELL worth it. They go to a workstation or as we call them literacy station for 15 minutes. Of course, you don't start out with 15 minutes but build up to that. The kids are engaged in authentic literacy activities while you are working with a small group. They love it

  4. I use a "guided" reading approach w/ the use of small groups w/ 4-5 kids sometimes 6 (which I dislike for attention to needs) one group w/ me, one group at tables working on a reviewed skill (to include some sort of cutting / glueing project ( sorting sounds, working w/ sight words ect) the other group of kiddos are working in a variety of literacy centers that are also changed as needed. (Listening center, computer, skill development that has been taught the week before, vocabulary development)

    I have not read Debbie Diller's book but I have heard lots of great things about it...might have to check it out! Our goups run about 7-10 minutes long w/ a 2-3 transition between groups! I know its not super long but its what works with our routines each skill group w/ me gets a mini lesson and we go from there.

    I always think it takes 6 weeks to get things into place!! Where is OCTOBER! ha!

    Good Luck! It can be a lot to manage but it gets better if you take it slow and make sure everyone knows what to do when they are working in each location!!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I teach kindergarten. I highly recommend that you read two books-Literacy Work Stations by Debbie Diller and The Daily Five by Gail Boushey & Joan Moser. Debbie's book is an excellent resource on literacy centers and organization. The D5 tells how explicit teaching, modeling, providing lots of practice...helps your students build stamina and independence. The key is to take the time at the beginning of the year. Be patient.

    Making the "I Can" charts (Debbie Diller) or anchor charts (D5) with your students are important. It gives them ownership and helps with problem solving. Plus giving students choices helps make them responsible for their learning.

    I have literacy centers in my classroom. Debbie's book helped me create meaningful centers-not just busy work to keep them busy while I worked with small groups, but I still struggled with how to get my students to be more independent and to be able to solve problems on their own. The Daily Five is the answer.

    I read the D5 book this summer as part of a PLC led by my district's reading coaches. I am very excited and can't wait to do it this year. The book makes sense.

    I am still going to use some of my centers in the different D5 components. For example: For Listen to Reading,I will have the listening center with books on tape, computer and Smartboard-books, even poems and songs. I can use my ABC activities in Working with Words.

    The authors of the D5 tell you that you don't need to make more work for yourself trying to prepare tons of different center activities and then having to check everything. Keep it simple. For example, one of the D5 components is Read to Self. You don't need to make center activities because the activity is the reading itself. We know that students become better readers by practicing reading so the goal of D5 is to have them read. It is hard to explain. You need to read the book.
    Both books aren't written for just kindergarten. Kindergarten has some unique challenges that the other grade levels don't have. Some K teachers only do 3 instead of 5 components of the Daily 5.

    Ashley Nichols has a wonderful blog, The Polka Dot Patch. She uses the D5 in her classroom. I read on her blog that this year she is going to train other teachers in her district on D5. I am looking forward to reading about the experience on her blog.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I teach K and when I am working with guided reading groups, the other kids are working in centers throughout the room. I usually have 6+ centers set up with 3-4 kids listed in each center. But, remember, not all of them are in the center - some are working with me. I give explicit rooms about "whisper only" and "you can't come to my table". I also put a star helper at each center. I use the cheap plastic photo frames with their names and put a star on the star helper. The students quickly learn my center rotation so they can rotate the center frames for me.

    ✿ Stacy
    Land of Aha-Z!
    The Wolf’s Den