Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Literacy Rotations in 3rd Grade

One of my very favorite things about teaching is how vastly different every year and every class is. I can learn and grow alongside my students and experiment with new procedures that work for a specific group of students.

Last year I had a very large class and zero technology in my classroom except my document camera. Literacy stations was a complete and utter nightmare last year because of trying to keep 30 kiddos on task without the support of any technology aside from that document camera and a CD player. 

This year, I have a much smaller class (currently TWELVE less bodies than last year!) and also have three laptops and four tablets! Man oh man what a difference having the technology makes! I am able to have groups and keep the rest of the kiddos on task with other literacy related activities without a huge fuss. Game.Changer.

My student teacher and I tried three groups (with six or seven kiddos each with a total of 20 kids) for a few weeks and finally I decided it was not working. There were too many kids in each station and they were off task and not engaged. That was not going to work for me at all. So last week I sat down and created a rotation chart. It looks like this. 

This is only Monday's. Each day is different so that I can see each group twice per week. This schedule really changed it up for me because I have 5 groups and none of them have more than 4 kiddos. Firstly they fit so much better around my group table but secondly, the amount of kids in each of the other stations has been cut almost in half and thus the kids aren't having to argue over who gets what and when. It's actually QUIET in my room during stations now :)
 Each kiddo has a folder. I labeled them with their group letter A-E so to make it easier to sort them. They keep all of their literacy stations work in the folder along with their checklist.

 This folder is from a student in the higest group. You can see on the left she has her checklist. I circled the stations that the kiddos visit each day based upon their group and then as they complete the groups (before we rotate to the next station) they check it off or cross it out. This helps keep them on track and provides a nice visual. (For the checklists, I just used pencil so I can make changes later, then I photocopied them so I have a master set that I can just copy each week.) The work from any of the stations goes into the pocket on the right. They will be collected daily so that we can cut down on a ton of grading at the end of the week.

This is another student who is in the intensive group. Same concept. They use the same worksheet/assignment to get exposure to the grade level material but I can differentiate with this system by having them only complete half of the problems so that I can see if they are understanding the concept without overwhelming them.

The best news is we now have Google Classroom and I have figured out how to turn these worksheets into Google Docs so next week the kiddos won't have ANY paper/pencil during literacy except the work they do with me in groups and their vocabulary :)


  1. Wow! That is great. I look forward to the day I have some technology for my students. How did my teacher do it back in the day?

  2. I am loving Google classroom! I just started using it this year and learning as the kids learn too. Thanks for sharing, you are an inspiration to many of us.

    1. Yes it has been so neat to work with! I really like it. My students are still figuring it out (I expect quite a few bumps in the road this week as they navigate it without my help), but it's so cool to be able to comment back and forth to them. I really appreciate that feature.