Starting Kindergarten Stations

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Peek at my Week: 5 tips for starting stations

August 23 Deedee 4 min read
Kindergarten centers
One question I get often is, “How do you start stations?”  Let me see if I can show you what works for me.
 
Keep the tasks simple!  At the beginning of the year, I want students to view stations as a highly engaging task that they can be successful at.   Stations! Are! Fun!   I will add the rigor as the weeks progress.
 
Puzzles are great for this!  I put them out and say, “This is a puzzle.”  The. End. Easy!
ABC centers

 

ABC activities

 

math stations kindergarten
 
 
 
We do a MILLION roll and trace activities.  Add a marker and it is FUN!  For REAL!  I teach my students to roll the die in the station bucket.
This cuts down on the high-roller-at-the-Bellagio moments!
ABC handwriting
 I get my differentiated cubes HERE.
 This super  “new” thing called the overhead is engaging.  They are just tracing.  However, they are also practicing taking turns and sharing.  This is a very important ingredient if you are going to have successful stations.
ABC handwriting
On the first day I introduced the writing station, I just told the students they would go there and write.  I had a few students model how to find words, but that was it… just go and write.
writing station
 However, each day… I wander back to that station and nudge students to do more.
This station will be with us ALL YEAR.
writing station
Same with the pocket chart. The first few weeks I asked the students to just build and read the sentence.  I kept the same sentence up there all week long, they just swapped out the ending part.
sentence writing
 Last week I mentioned,  “Friends, when you go to the pocket chart today and everyday, I want to you write one of the sentences you made.  Let me show you.”  This took about 3 minutes on a Tuesday.  NOW, everyday, I expect an attempt at writing.   I applaud their best efforts.
 
Think about ways to aid your students’ independence.
 
“I Can ” cards are a great resource.  Remember, you can make your own.  All you need is a pen and a piece of paper. Kindergartners think their teachers are magical!  They will love your drawings!
 
My students hear me say… 100 times a day,  “How do you think you could solve that problem?”
 
I also praise those students who were “problem solvers” during our station debrief period.  This is the time after station rotation #1 where we all return to the carpet.  At this time I can send out compliments and offer short clarification.
 
There can be a lot of important work being during stations.  Set the behavior expectations high.  Yes, there will be some chatter.  The amount of chatter depends on how you set your expectations.

 

 
Beware… Transitions can be the death of you!
 
You can lose a lot of time (and sanity) with transitions.  My students do their blue station for 15-20 minutes then we regroup on the carpet before they do their yellow station for another 15-20 minutes.  Here is how I call them to the carpet.  I put on a song.  I try to select a song that is about 2 minutes long. As soon as they hear the song start, it is a signal for them to stop what they are doing and clean up.  They have until the end of the song to be at our carpet.  There is MAJOR peer pressure because they earn a piece of Mr. Potato Head if they are all there.  I don’t have to raise my voice.  I don’t have to lose my cool.
 
 
 

I will advise you to NOT put 10 new and different stations out at one time.  You will lose your mind.  If you look at my plans you will see they build over time.  Students can listen to about 2 new station introductions a day… that’s it!  AND… if they are not going to that station for several days, I know I will need to touch base with them so they are doing the task as designed.Generally, I introduce a few stations on Monday, then a few more on Wednesday…

This time is important.  Getting routines in place are important.  I know I will be starting small groups in a week or two, so we must be able to work independently on meaningful tasks.

To download the lesson plans for this week CLICK HERE or click on the picture below.

 

Starting Kindergarten Stations.  Wondering how to start math and literacy centers to help your students increase their learning potential? Easy tasks for back to school and the beginning of the school year. Check out these 5 tips for starting stations!

You may also be interested in the following blog posts:

Fitting it all in! A kindergarten schedule

Station management ideas and tips

Classroom management and organization ideas

 
 

13 Comments

  • Camille August 23 at 6:00 pm

    Great info Deedee! Thank you! About how many students are in each station group? How many stations do you have out at one time? How many stations do students rotate to in one day? So many questions!! Thanks again!

    • Deedee August 24 at 12:47 am

      I have two students to each station and they stay there for 15-20 minutes for the first station, then the same for the 2nd station. Then we repeat that for the math station times. If you look at the tabs at the top of my blog, you will see one that says "My Classroom." You can find lots of pictures and posts that will tell you more.

  • Elisabeth Turner August 24 at 12:28 am

    I was wondering where I could find the pencil puzzle??

  • Colleen Carson August 26 at 1:58 am

    Do you teach a mini lesson for 10 minutes then go into 4 rounds of stations? I am trying to learn how to set up math centers. Great blog.

    • Deedee August 27 at 5:45 am

      Thanks Colleen!

      I do stations at 2 different times. Literacy stations (morning) Math Station (afternoon).

      Each station time has 2 rotations…. they go to their blue station for 15-20 minutes, we regroup… then they go to their yellow station for 15-20 minutes.

      You might find some more helpful information if you click on the "My Classroom" tab at the top of my blog. I have some FAQ links to posts that might help you out!

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  • Genevieve August 18 at 7:50 am

    I have watched your webinars all summer and am enjoying implementing many useful ideas. Looking ahead to beginning literacy stations and guided reading groups…I’m a bit confused. I notice 2 station rotations and 3 guided reading group rotations. What are the other children doing when I’m meeting with my 3rd reading group? I apologize if I’m making this more complicated than it is. 😉

    • Deedee August 18 at 5:38 pm

      No worries! I pull that 3rd group during one of my math station rotations (which is later in the day).

  • Genevieve August 18 at 8:08 pm

    Got it! Thank you for your quick reply! I appreciate all you do to support teachers and our precious children.

  • Sarah July 29 at 12:38 pm

    Hi! Thanks so much Deedee for sharing, this is wonderful! How do students know which stations to do each day? Is there a visual that they can look at so they know which 2 stations they are doing that day?

    • Deedee August 4 at 6:50 am

      Here is a blog post that will help you!

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    My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching to different age groups and in different classroom environments. My heart belongs to early childhood education and I love working with other teachers who share this same love as me. Read More

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