Reading Workstation Logistics

Some call them centers. I call them workstations. I tell my students we do work at them so their workstations!

How did I end up with this mix?

I've read the Daily 5. I first attempted to set up the Daily 5 in my classroom at the beginning of this year but ran into some problems.
  • Student accountability, my school requires students to complete something as proof that they did something at their workstation. 
  • My students couldn't read at the beginning of the year (no really, couldn't even read Kindergarten books) and getting them a book bag for them to 'read the pictures' just wasn't feasible in my classroom. I really tried! Any tips on this would be appreciated to make it successful in the future.
  • Takes a lot, a lot of practice and my classroom rotates through students so often it was hard to train new students who were coming in 
Then I read Debbie Diller's book on workstations when I realized the Daily 5 wasn't going to work on its own. I thought my students would really respond well to these. I love the idea that the workstations don't change weekly, just minor tweaks and additions. Less work for you as the teacher right? Who loves less work? This girl!

My workstations are a mix between both books. It works for me and my students. I am too OCD to let students choose where they go and love the set up Debbie Diller suggests with a pocket chart.

How are they set up?
Their schedule is set up on a pocket chart, math on the left and reading on the right. It isn't the prettiest but it works. I love this system because it is flexible and easy to change it to whatever your needs are.

My students each have a partner, some have two due to class numbers, and you can see how one of my students doesn't have a partner for reasons you might be able to guess.

Their partner is around the same levels academically. I used to have them in groups of 4 but the classroom was way too loud. Students also get way too off task in groups of 4.  Groups of 2 are perfect!

Students just look at their schedule and follow it. I ring a bell to inform them to move to the next workstation.


It is kind of complicated to explain but really NOT that complicated!
So I have workstations for Monday & Tuesday then workstations for Wednesday & Thursday. Friday workstations vary depending on our needs; they are normally on our topic or more fun. 

I let my students decorate their picture (that box above their name) to make it more fun and personal. It is a great way to introduce the workstation schedule to the students too. Some of my students don't have pictures due to coming in later after workstations were introduced.

I'll be sharing what my workstations in my next post on them! How do you do centers/workstations? 

The teacher across the hall has her students rotate clock wise so no schedule needed, how easy does that sound? Ahhh but I do love my schedule, it works great for me :)


  1. I first tried writing the center rotations (color coded) on the center work bags my students use, but with students changing and centers changing I went to the clockwise rotation. Much easier transition.

    Of course I ran into (low)students not being able to read directions and still they have a hard time completing tasks. Next year i am going to try a new system. i am going to mix the levels of students in the groups (give them animal group names) then label ability levels by color. That way they can rotate together and help each other in stations and I can call a color to my table to work on the needed skills for that level.

  2. I LOVE The Daily 5, but attach some level of accountability work to most every rotation as well! Do you use the "parking lot" method? During Read to a Buddy? I have my own version of this where students have to respond on a post-it and boy do they know I read their they better be on their game:) I like this because the accountability piece is short and to the point so they can still spend the majority of their time reading...hurray! I also love meeting in our 'gathering place' after read to self time to share ideas about whatever our purpose was for the day. My kids really look forward to this time of the day!

    Keep doing what you know is right for your kiddos though...teacher knows best! I know it's always crazy for me to think about how what works with this year's batch of little ones might be so completely wrong with next year's keeps our job interesting, right?!

    Great {First Grade} Expectations

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