Work Stations vs Centers

Today (yes, on my 2nd day of summer vacation!) I went to a Debbie Diller training on Making the Most of Small Groups.  A lot of what we heard I already knew, but picked up on some new things.  Some include ...
  • guided reading is
    • children do the work (and not the teacher!)
    • materials need to be available and appropriate
    • use testing to make flexible groups, which also need to be purposeful
    • meeting the kiddos at their need
    • LOTS of reading!
  • choral reading and echo reading are shared reading and not guided reading (but are appropriate in some circumstances)
  • "shampoo" letters - take letter tiles (or whatever you have/use) and mix them up before building the word again; shampoo means mixing them up
  • there is a difference between using words in isolation versus words in text [I found how important this is during the first few weeks of moving to 1st grade; we keep sight word notebooks for each child, but ALL of their work is in context, as they write a sentence, write the word in rainbow words {a different color for each letter}, and draw a picture for their word.]
  • writing books is the fastest way to get children to read
Now, the point of my title .... do you do centers or work stations in your class??  I have spent the last year "beefing up" my centers, but the kids work in these centers and most of them take a fairly long period of time.  How do you group your children??

Some things that I need to do this summer ...
  • make an "I Can ..." chart for work stations/centers (for early finishers)
  • make a word wall on a tri-board display to especially use for my low reading group (this way they have the words right in front of them and not up on the wall during groups)
  • read through today's book and re-read The Daily 5 (from a book study this year), as well as some fun reading (Sharlene MacLaren is my new favorite author; she's a retired teacher, and many of her books are historical fiction, which is one of my favorite genres; this book {Sarah, My Beloved} is not on my nook, but most of her others are!)
  • find finger pointers to use during reading groups ... I'm searching Oriental Trading now!

My summer reading and re-reading!



  1. I lovvvvvvvvvvvve Debbie! and after I changed my classroom to what I learned from her, I couldn't believe the difference!

    Jessica Stanford
    Mrs. Stanford's Class
    PS I'm having a linky and would love for you to join!

  2. Debbie Diller has some great ideas! We do centers in our classroom 4 days a week. It works out that my lower students are paired with a higher ability student. Most of my centers are reading/word family related & are 15 minutes a piece. It seems to work pretty well.
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

    1. Lisa,
      Do you do reading groups with this? If so, how do work them in with how your children are paired?

      Learning is for Superstars

  3. Sarah, I have the finger pointers, and I found them at Really Good Stuff. I could not find them from Oriental Trading last summer.

    Reading Toward the Stars

    1. Andrea, I found them on Oriental Trading in their Halloween section. They have several different kinds.



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