Category Archives: Literacy Work Stations

Back to School

I started the new school year 2 weeks ago and its one of the best starts I’ve had in the last 5 years!  We have been able to learn routines and procedures much faster than in the past few years.

We got out our Literacy Work Station tubs the 2nd week of school and my sweet kiddos have handled them SO well!

Here’s a look at what’s currently in the tubs:

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Can you tell we are working on the alphabet?  I put a variety of activities out so that my different levels of learners can go at their own pace.


Literacy Work Stations

My colleague who teaches next door to me and I had a brainstorming session this summer about our Literacy Work Stations.  Last year, we had to wait so long to get our work stations up and going that it nearly killed us! 🙂  This year, we were determined to get them going as early as possible.  We wanted our routines going smoothly so we could start introducing our more “normal” daily schedule.

We decided that if we were going to introduce them earlier, we would focus more on the idea that the children would learn how to get the materials out, use them for a specified amount of time, and learn how to put them back.  We decided to dig through our cabinets and find materials that the children could use independently, with little to no direction from us.  Here’s what we came up with:

Kristen's Kindergarten Literacy Work Stations

Kristen's Kindergarten Literacy Work Stations

Kristen's Kindergarten Literacy Work Stations

Kristen's Kindergarten Literacy Work Stations

Kristen's Kindergarten Literacy Work Stations

Kristen's Kindergarten Literacy Work Stations

Kristen's Kindergarten Literacy Work Stations

Kristen's Kindergarten Literacy Work Stations

Kristen's Kindergarten Literacy Work Stations

Kristen's Kindergarten Literacy Work Stations

Kristen's Kindergarten Literacy Work Stations

We realize this idea is not rocket science, but because we had a little more freedom this year to decide when we were going to start our “normal” routines, we decided to jump in with both feet and introduce these on the 6th day of school.  We let the children use these materials for 5 days (they rotate through 2 tubs each day) and then the following Monday, we started introducing more specific targeted materials.

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 12.26.56 PMI’ve prepared all 10 Work Stations from my BTS Literacy Work Stations pack and have been introducing them one day at a time.  These activities are simple activities that require very few materials and can be used over and over (if laminated) by many students.

As I get them all introduced, I’ll take some pictures and share them. 🙂

Our hunch paid off…15 days into school and our kids are ROCKING their Literacy Work Stations.  They already know how to read the chart independently to find out their station for the day and they know where their stations are located.  We can also clean up fairly quickly and get the tubs put back in number order. 🙂


I’ll share my Math Work Stations next week. 🙂  We waited a week to introduce those so we wouldn’t confuse our new kiddos. 🙂



Tpt is having a sale!!

That’s right friends!!  Tpt is having a sale to celebrate 3 Million Teachers using Tpt in some way!!

The sale doesn’t start until Thursday, February 28th, but go start filling up your cart right away!

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I’ve made some new products to share with you and they will ALL (along with the rest of my store) be on sale for 20% off!  Keep watching for the special code to type in at checkout so you can get up to 28% off!

First, I created a new set of Rainbow Pom-Pom Games!  This set helps your students practice the 88 sight words in the Journeys reading series.  Its played the same way the Rainbow Pom-Pom Toss game is, except with sight words!

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If you don’t have the original game and really want it along with the new one, you’re in luck!!  I’ve bundled the two together so you can have your students practice a variety of skills!  Shapes, Numbers, Letters, Die Recognition, Sight Words and more!  33 different mats are included to help you reach a wide range of students and their abilities!Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 6.54.59 PM

Finally, if you missed it last week, I created these “Ways to Make” practice sheets.  My kiddos LOVE these!  All you need is some mini-erasers, sheet protector, and some dry erase markers and you are go to go!  This activity is great for practicing composing and decomposing numbers!

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So there you have it!!  Some new products that will be on sale beginning on Thursday!!

Kristen 🙂

New Year…New Math and Literacy Work Stations!

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been introducing some new Math and Literacy Work Stations with more to come next week!


I added some more french fries and hotdogs to this station to help the kiddos spell our new sight words. IMG_1516

Playing a Community Helpers game on the iPad. IMG_1517

See it, Stamp it, Write it–anytime you have stamps–a big hit!!IMG_1518

Roll a sight word, snowflake style!IMG_1519

Add some Community Helpers together and clip the answer (we have subtraction and greater than/less than/equal to also! I’m working on getting these on Tpt soon. 🙂IMG_1520

Roll, Say, Keep Addition and Subtraction boards.  The kids love seeing how many cards they get to “keep”! 🙂 This will also be on Tpt soon–just need to make some more cards to go with it!IMG_1521

I got this game from Marsha at A Differentiated Kindergarten here. It’s Community Helper Yatta! The kiddos just love saying “Yatta!” when they bump their partners cube off a number! We play by rolling two dice, adding the numbers together and then we place a cube on the sum.  If your partner rolls the same number you have your cube on, they can bump you off! IMG_1522

More new activities to come…including two new “Write the Room” activities!

Kristen 🙂

New Literacy Work Stations

Here is a look at my first Literacy Work Stations for this year.  We will have been in school for 20 days by the time I introduce these today.  I have modeled all these activities for the kiddos already and they have tried their hand at them at least once.


This activity is from Marsha Maguire’s Back to School Word Work Galore pack.  Its full of activities that are just right for my Kinders at this point in the year!  The kiddos use a bingo stamper and stamp their way through all the letters in alphabetical order.  Marsha has included both upper and lower case letters so my children can get practice with both. IMG_0993

This is the beginning of my magnet work station.  I’ve also added colorful magnetic letters to this tub so my kiddos can spell the words on the buses, or they can just experiment with their own names or other words right now. IMG_0994

Another one of Marsha’s creations from the same pack I mentioned above.  There are 12 cards hidden around my room and the children have to find them, match the picture to the spot on their mat  and then write in the beginning sound in the word.  (No one has caught on yet that they can just write the beginning sound down by looking at the picture–that’s how great Marsha’s activities are!!).  Marsha has also included other uses for the hidden cards and this sheet. IMG_0995

See, Say, and Color (from Marsha!).  I added a box of crayons and magnetic letters to this tub.  The children will pull a letter and name it.  Then then color it on their sheet. IMG_0996

My kids loved Marsha’s Star Letter Order!  They pull a card from the stack (other uses for these cards will happen later!) and write that letter down in the star.  They then write the three letters after it.  The stack includes upper and lowercase letters to make it a little more challenging!IMG_0997

This activity is from my Stamp an Uppercase Letter pack.  The children use the do-a-dot stampers to stamp the uppercase letters the appropriate color.  IMG_0998

I created this activity to go along with our Journeys reading series.  The children will use hand lenses to find tiny and colorful words on the first sheet (standing up) and then write them in the appropriate columns on the recording sheet (the one laying down in the tub). IMG_0999

This is our listening work station.  Missing from this picture are two iPod touches. I posted earlier this summer about how I plan to use the iPods so that my kiddos don’t have to be tied to the wall with a plug.  IMG_1001

These pages will go in our Word Work journals (something new I’m trying this year!).  They will each have 1/2 of a sheet and then they recreate the target word in several different ways.

I will also have 3 other Work Stations that do not require a tub:  Promethean Board Work Station, Library Work Station, and Computer Work Station.  Additionally, there are two Work with the Teacher Work Stations that will start in a two more weeks.  I’ve got to get everyone settled at these Work Stations and mingle with the kiddos as they work before I can get my small groups going! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Rainbow Pom Pom Toss

I found this game online somewhere and sketched it in my idea book a few months ago.  I finally decided to make it and I’ve tried it out with my kiddos and they LOVE it!

I call it Rainbow Pom Pom Toss (not sure where the toss part comes in because there is no tossing happening in this game! 🙂

All you need are dice and pom-poms. 🙂

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Screen Shot 2013-08-24 at 10.18.30 PMUppercase letters

Its really easy to play too!  The children roll the die that you have programmed with the letters, numbers, or shapes that are on the mat.  They place a coordinating pom-pom on the mat.

Here we are using the 1-6 mat.  You should of heard the squeals of excitement when we played!! I’ve been asked 5 or 6 times today when we can play again! 🙂


These will be going into my Math and Literacy Work Stations. 🙂  I’ll also be using them in my small groups. IMG_0974 IMG_0975

I put the pom-poms in little buckets that I got in the Target Dollar Spot.  The kiddos kept playing until their table ran out of pom-poms and then they put them all back and played again.


I told them if they rolled a number and didn’t have anymore pom-poms left in that color to roll again.  I really wanted them keep playing and to learn to share. 🙂

We played with a dot die so that my kiddos had practice matching quantities on the die to the number on the mat.

I’ve also included mats for:

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Lowercase letters a-z

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Numbers 1-20Screen Shot 2013-08-24 at 10.20.11 PM

Dice 1-6Screen Shot 2013-08-24 at 10.20.21 PM

ShapesScreen Shot 2013-08-24 at 10.20.31 PM

And a blank sheet for you to write in whatever skills you would like for your kiddos to work on.  I’ll be adding sight words later as well as pictures of two dice (when we start addition).

You can click on any of the product pictures to get your own. 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Name Cards

I like to make name cards each year for a variety of uses in my classroom.

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 9.11.10 PMI print them out using the “contact sheet” option in iPhoto.

I use my 1 1/2 inch square punch and cut out pictures of each one of the kiddos 3-4 times.  I use one set on business cards.  I glue about 1/3 of the picture on to the right end of the business card.  I then write their name on the other part of the card and then laminate.   I then stick magnets on the back of them and we use them when the kiddos have to go to the restroom.  They move their card from the filing cabinet to the magnetic board so we know who is where. 🙂

I also make a set without magnets and use them to call on students when we are doing something whole group.  I cycle through the cards and that ensures each child gets a chance at the activity.  I call them Morning Message cards.

I also make several copies (3 to be exact) for my Literacy and Math Work Stations.  We are going to be doing 2 Literacy Work Stations this year, so I will have two pictures of each student that I can rotate through their Literacy Work Stations.  I will also use one set for Math Work Stations.

Kristen 🙂

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday Banner

Thoughtful Thursdays will be posts about what I’m thinking about (or things you’re thinking about!).

I’ve been staring at my Literacy Work Station organization charts and I think I need some new labels:

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I like the labels I have because they are easy to read, but they are all different sizes and some are handmade and some aren’t! 🙂

How many of you have read Debbie Diller’s Literacy Work Station book?

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My blogging friend Jennifer at Teaching with Grace is doing a summer book study about Debbie Diller’s book and I told her I would talk about my experiences with the management of the Work Stations.

This year, my kiddos rotated through one Work Station each day for about 20 minutes.  Next year, they will be rotating through 2 Work Stations for 15 minutes each.

I did like one Work Station per day because I could use my activities for about a month before switching them out.  That required a lot less work on my part, but I felt like the kids could have been doing more in that time.  I also felt like if they had a little less time and a little more work, they would be a little more on task. 🙂

This year, they will go through 2 15 minute rotations and although it will probably require a little bit more work on my part, I think my kiddos will get so much more out of Work Stations.

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I will probably create something similar to this pocket chart (you can get it at Really Good Stuff), but mine will look a little different because I have some different work stations.

Generally though, my Work Stations will rotate very similar to the ones in this chart.  I usually keep the stations in the same place and rotate the children’s names through, and I think I can make that work with a chart like this.

I teach my children early on how to “read” the name of the Work Station and where to find the matching pictures in the classroom.  I make the cards in the chart about the size of a 3×5 index card and the pictures around the room that label the Work Stations are 8 1/2 x 11 so they are easy to see.

When we first begin Work Stations, my assistant and I circulate around the room to make sure everyone understands what they should be doing.  I start Work Stations when we have been in school for 3-4 weeks.  Until then, we are usually learning other procedures, taking restroom breaks, or working on our getting to know you items.

Pretty soon, when I tell the children it is time for Literacy Work Stations, they jump right up and check the chart (see top of this post) and get right to their Work Stations.

If you scroll down a bit on my blog under “Categories”, you will see a link for all my posts about Literacy Work Stations and activities I’ve put in them in the past 5 years.

Let me know if you have any questions about Literacy Work Stations or the management of them.

Kristen 🙂

Oriental Trading

I was given the opportunity to be a Community Blogger for Oriental Trading Company. I got a gift card and could buy anything I wanted to use in my classroom, so here’s what I got!  (I’m SO excited!!!)

This is the Awesome Alphabet Pocket Chart.  I’ve wanted one of these for a long time!  I’ve seen these on different sites and they were always so expensive so I kept waiting.  Now I have one and it didn’t break the bank!  I love this chart because it comes with the pocket chart which can be hung on a garment rack with a pants hanger or book binding rings.  It can also be hung on the wall with some of those 3M Command hooks (love those!)  I also love how I can use this pocket chart over and over with a variety of activities:


The pocket chart comes with all these different cards.  IMG_5158

The kids can put the picture cards in the appropriate pockets on the chart. IMG_5159

Each picture card is labeled with the word on the back–I’m thinking how great this would be later in the year during Writer’s Workshop.  How do you spell raccoon Mrs. Poindexter?  The kids can go get the picture card!IMG_5160

Also included are the lower case letters so the children can match lowercase letters to the correct pocket. IMG_5161

And of course there are uppercase letters as well! 🙂IMG_5162

I also got these Center Organizing Charts.  I didn’t know that Oriental Trading carried Carson-Dellosa charts, but they do! 🙂  These are going to be great next year for my Literacy Work Stations.  Sometimes there just isn’t any room to put a center activity in my already crowded class room, so these will hang wonderfully from the wall or door!  IMG_5163


Each chart (there are 3 in the package) has two larger pockets on the top and a smaller clear pocket on the bottom.  I’m thinking that any materials for the activity will go in the top two pockets and dry erase materials or small items like dice will stay in the smaller pocket.  They are super strong too!  They will hold up to 5 year old use! 🙂 IMG_5165

You get three charts in each package, green, blue, and yellow. IMG_5166

The next item are these dry erase stars.  (They also come in apple shapes too!).  I’m going to use these at my small group table next year so my kiddos can write down their work and not have to waste anytime getting out paper and pencils.  The stars are removable and reusable!  I hung this one on my wall to try it out and it was super sticky and took a little effort to pull off, but the paint wasn’t harmed! 🙂  IMG_5167

I took this picture after I erased the words just to show how cleanly they erase. 🙂IMG_5168

I also picked up this 100 Days of School Countdown Banner.  It was a steal at $1.49! 🙂  I’m going to hang this up in my classroom and we are going to have some fun counting up to the 100th day of school next year! 🙂IMG_5169


I can’t ever have too many dice! 🙂  I got a dozen of these foam dice (1 1/2 x 1 1/2) so my kids could play some math games.  We always loose the traditional sized dice so these will be great and easier for us to find!  I also like them because they’re foam.  That means they will be quiet! 🙂  I liked that there are two of each color, making them easier to put 2 in a center and to figure out what center is missing a die. IMG_5171

I got these Laser Smile Face notepads because I had a great idea about how to use them!  I watch my kiddos when we are out and about collecting information in our science notebooks and although those are wonderful, they are sometimes really bulky to carry around.  I thought we could use some of them as travel sized notebooks! There are 6 dozen in a box–that’s 72 of them in all, so they will last me a few years!  When we are done writing down information, the kids can tear out a page and put it right into their bigger science notebook.  IMG_5172

I also thought I might order some more notebooks with the spiral biding and use them to respond to math questions.  I’m thinking I could write and number on each page and the kids could flip to the correct number that answers my question. 🙂

Did you also know that Oriental Trading offers FREE shipping on orders over $25 until August 24, 2013?  That’s a great deal!  I’ve already got a wishlist going there! 🙂

What are your favorite Oriental Trading products?  I’m always on the hunt for more! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

The opinions expressed in this blog post are entirely mine and were not influenced by Oriental Trading in anyway.  I was provided with a gift card by Oriental Trading Company. 🙂

New Center Activities

I went into school to work today (we are on Spring Break) and to check on the tadpoles.  While I was there I copied A LOT of new pages we will be using to write, glue, and illustrate!  I also laminated more than the law allows and brought it all home to cut out. 🙂  Here are some of the new things we will (and have been) using in our Math and Literacy Work Stations.  I’m putting the link to where I got them (if there is one) underneath the picture.


Literacy Activities


We practiced subtraction last week using this song/poem and the kids loved it so much that they asked me to write it down and put it in Pocket Chart Work Station so they could “play” with it more.


Our chicken eggs arrive next week and I always like to add Humpty Dumpty to the egg mix when we learn about them.  This rhyme will go in our Pocket Chart Station as well.


We used 5 Green and Speckled Frogs two weeks ago to introduce subtraction.  The kids loved it…so it’s going into Pocket Chart Station as well…along with these guys:

photoThe kids can retell the poem while acting it out.  I’m going to add some velcro to the back of the frogs and the top of the log when I get them back to school. You can get the poem and the frogs in my Ponds and Plants pack. 🙂photo

This activity is also from my Ponds and Plants pack.  This activity can be used in two ways.  You can either show the children the words and have them practice reading them, or you can have the children sort them by middle vowel sound, put them under the correct letter, and then write the words on the included recording sheet.

Math Activities


I just made this this week and you can get them here. The children match up the sum with the math sentence and then write their work on the included recording sheet (it’s at school. 🙂  ).


How many more to get to 10?  This activity helps children learn to see quantities quickly on a ten frame and to visually help see how many more they need to get to ten.  After adding the green flowers, children record their work on the recording sheet.  The recording sheet asks the child to record both the ten frame work and the math sentence that shows their work (ex: 3+7=10).


These awesome cards are part of a pack I purchased from my blogging friend Kathleen Pedersen from Growing Kinders! You MUST own this pack!  In addition to these “I have, Who has” teen number cards, Kathleen has booklets for all the teen numbers (11-20) designed to help your kiddos master them!  I printed off the entire pack and copied most of the activities…I’ll share those when they are in use. 🙂


Next up are these awesome cards by another blogging friend Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard! These are from Greg’s Snapping Numbers, Composing and Decomposing Numbers.  These cards represent just two of the activities in this huge pack!  I’ll be hitting up my favorite LEGO store later this weekend to score some of these bricks off the pick-a-brick wall (I love that wall!)

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I’m a LEGO nerd at heart and it helps my obsession that my 8 year old is too! 🙂


This is one of our new Promethean Board activities for Math.  It includes both addition and subtraction activities and the kids love them!  I got this at Lakeshore down the street from my school, but I can’t remember right now what the name is…

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Found it!  It’s called Beginning Operations.  Here is a shot from Lakeshore’s website.


This pond roll and cover sheet has funny story behind it.  I set out to make something that resembled a lily pad and got that finished.  Because I was so tired, I started adding cattails and grass around the edges to finish up my pond.  Then I colored it green…still thinking that it was a lily pad, but also thinking it was a pond.  So now it’s either a really big lily pad, or a pond pad, a mix of a pond and a lily pad! 🙂  The children roll the two dice and cover the sum with a cube. 🙂

photoThis activity is also from Lakeshore (if anyone from Lakeshore is reading this, I LOVE your store and would LOVE to be a spokesperson for you or guinea pig some of your new products! 🙂  )

The children use two different colors of linking cubes (included) and then write all those combinations down on the opposite side of the card.


Here is our Frog Dice Toss activity.  The children roll the two pocket dice and then write the two numbers down along with the sum.


This is Subtraction Bowling…the latest craze to hit our Kindergarten classroom!!  The children set up the 10 pins and then roll the sphere at them.  They count the number of pins (cups) that fall down and record that on their recording sheet.  I found this activity through a pin on Pinterest, from a site called What the Teacher Wants.  Click the words above to go there. 🙂photo

I thought they would throw the sphere everywhere, but with lots of careful modeling, they did an awesome job! 🙂  They were so engaged too! 🙂


These are our Domino Mats I got in my Math Swap last summer.  I pinned the idea on Pinterest from Kindergarten, Kindergarten. photo

We’ve been using the mats for about a month now, to get us warmed up to the idea of addition with the amounts on the dominoes.  I decided to step it up a level by asking the kiddos to record their work on this recording sheet.  It’s not available yet, but I’m working (slowly) on a pack of domino ideas and this will be in it> 🙂


This is Dunk it Dominoes again.  I’ve shown it before in this post, but I wanted to show you that I also added the same recording sheet here in this station as well.  The kids were getting done earlier than everyone else and they were truly trying to dunk the dominoes from far away, so I added this sheet. 🙂  They can now slow down, take their time, and show me they are working on mastering their addition facts. 🙂

This was a long post! 😉  If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with me! 🙂

What are your favorite Literacy and Math Activities you can’t live without right now?

Kristen 🙂

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