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 :)
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 :)