Sunday, October 3, 2010


Workshop is what I call the time of the day where we do centers/stations/small groups/one-on-one/parent helpers. I hope to explain this in the least confusing way possible. :)

We have specific rules for Workshop. They are:
1. Always be working.
2. Finish the must do first.
3. Whisper voices.
4. Don't interrupt the teacher.

Each child has a star at their desk with their name on it. If they have a question, they are to ask everybody else first, then they bring me their star and move on to something else until I am able to help them.

Workshop lasts for about 30 minutes. All the children start out with a “must do”. This is usually some type of worksheet that reinforces a reading/math skill previously learned. They are supposed to do this page independently. When they are finished, they turn it into the basket and move on to their “next do”.

I have about 10 of these activities. I assign 2 children to each activity. Since we have an odd number of students, one child is by themselves. I usually pick a higher student who is okay with being alone. For now, River said she didn’t mind being by herself. I change the partners every 6 weeks or so. I have about 15 different stations I use all year. The activities stay about the same, with the exception of changing the book for listening center, adding new games, etc. The children get to stay at their “next do” for as long as they want.

Here's some of the next do's in action:

Read Around the Room
They simply read any of the letters/numbers/words they can. When we have more sight words up on the word wall, this will become word wall. Then they will only read the sight words.

Listening Center

Pocket Chart
This changes throughout the year. For now, it is putting the alphabet in order. Other activities include sorting words by spelling patterns, putting a sentence in order, etc.

They are to stamp the spelling words. But until we start spelling, they stamp sight words.

I have a few different mats to practice handwriting.

I have several boxes with different counting and alphabet caterpillars for them to make.

Pattern Blocks
I got these wonderful pattern block mats from PreKinders.

Right now we are just playing Starfall. But soon we will start Math Facts in a Flash and some of the other sites under my Favorites to the right.

When they are finished, they get to move on to a “may do”. These include activities like going to the library, writing in journals, using the reading phones, taking AR tests, etc.

While everyone is working, I pull back groups or individual children to work on various reading/math skills. Parents also come in to work with the children as well. I have parents play learning games, review letters, sight words, numbers, math facts, etc.

We've spent a month really learning how to do workshop properly. Parents are starting to come in this week. I'm really hoping the class remembers the rules and works well. I'm sure they will! Workshop really is our favorite time of the day!


Gladys said...

I usually only have 5 workstations that the children rotate through...our workshop is 90 minutes we work on our anthology story first and our comprehension skill... then we go into small group district is big on guided reading right now...but I just read the Daily 5 by Joan Moser and Gail Boushey and I'm trying to model their literacy block...I hope it works!

Latte Mama said...

My favorite time of day also! I love seeing students work together and practicing skills taught. Thanks for the link for the pattern blocks! :)

Kim ( said...

Jenn: How do your students know exactly what to do? I know you probably model...model...model! Do your centers change daily? Do they go through each center daily? I am looking for different ideas on how to do mine! Thanks for any help!

Janae said...

Yes, it is A LOT of modeling. It takes about a month to practice and put the whole system in place. The centers stay the same almost all year long. I make them easy to change. For example, for listening center I just change the book, for pocket chart I just change the words/sentences. That way it is a lot easier to maintain. Feel free to email me any more questions.