Information provided for classroom use only; not for publication. 2004




  Work Stations




Recently my Mom had heart surgery and while I sat with her in the hospital, I finally finished Literacy Work Stations by Debbie Diller.  I'd started the book quite a while back and actually had read almost half of it.  Then I decided that I needed to go back and start it again, so I started over. :)  It's a great book, easy to read, and has lots of practical advice on running Centers, which she calls Work Stations.  And I liked her methods so much that I decided to create and recreate my Centers for next year into Work Stations as well.  So as I read, I took notes of how I could implement some of her ideas into my classroom environment.  On this page I'll share those ideas with you as well.  However, I would like to say that the information on this page is only how I will use the stations in my classroom.  You really need to buy Debbie's book and read it to see how you can implement work stations in your own classroom.  This page will not cover all the stations that Debbie discusses in her book, nor the use of task cards, etc.  I don't have a traditional kindergarten, first grade, or second grade class, so some of the Stations that she discusses are not appropriate for my classroom.  And also because of that, I've implemented some stations that are not Literacy Stations as well.  I also hope to implement Math Work Stations in the future.  So far they're still in the planning stage. :)

These are the Work Stations that I've decided to have in my classroom:
Big Book Station Drama Station

ABC Station


Word Study Station


Overhead Station


Pocketcharts Station


Creation Station

Writing Station

Listening Station

Reading Station


Book Box Station

Reading Tub Station


Read the Room Station

Discovery Station

Computer Station


Puzzles/Games Station


Write the Room Station


Fine Motor Station

I'm going to use a pocketchart as a Management Board.  I'll have each station name and a picture of the station on a card in the pocketchart.  Then each student will have their name listed on a 3x5 index card.  I'll put their name card beside the station that I want them to attend.  How the students move through the stations will be determined on an individual basis.  At the end of the day, each student's name will be moved to the next station.

Below are the Work Station signs that I use.  I printed them on cardstock and had them laminated.  Then I displayed them at each station using one of 3 ways: taped to the wall, taped to a craft stick and the stick/sign was then taped to the top/back of a tub, or a piece of red construction paper was folded and stapled to create a freestanding triangle and the sign was stapled to the front of the triangle.  I used these signs for sitting on table tops and on top of my Big Book easel.

Of course, before any station will be opened, I'll have to do a lot of modeling and practicing with them until I'm satisfied that they can work in the station independently.  The stations are for reinforcing and practicing skills that they've already learned, so they shouldn't need a lot of teacher direction.  As a matter of fact, I want them designed where the students need NO teacher direction and if needed, only peer assistance ... as I'll be instructing other students in reading at the time they're doing their stations.  One of the most important things to remember about Centers/Stations is that Center/Stations will not teach your students (unless you've designed a Center/Station for Independent Study).  The Centers/Stations are there for reinforcement of skills that your students have mastered or that they've received adequate instruction for them to practice on their own.

The stations will not have all the materials listed below in them at one time.  I'll introduce about 5 activities/materials for each station.  As needed, I can add new activities and remove ones that are no longer being used by the students so that there's only about 5 activities in the station at one time.  Many of the stations will be kept in the tubs that I did use for Centers.  The students will remove the activity that they wish to use from the tub and take it to one of the "work tables" or another area of the room.  If needed, they can carry the whole tub with them.

Big Book Station:  I started using a Big Book Station this past year.  It was one of the favorites for my students.  It seemed to be more of a hit when there was a book in the station that they could actually attempt to read word-for-word such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  Other big books such as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie did not draw the students in because of the difficulty of the text, although we'd read the book MANY times (more times than I wanted to read it! :) ).  Due to the cost of the Big Books and the limited number of choices, I chose to put only one book on the Big Book easel for this station instead of allowing students to choose the book on their on.  I did model and practice with them on how to care for the books and how to use them, and we didn't have any instances of abuse.

In this station, the book was already set up on the easel and two students were allowed to visit the station at one time.  One student would read with a pointer and the other would turn the pages.  Once they finished, they traded places.

This year I want to add small sticky notes to the back inside of each book cover labeled with words from the book.  The students will find the words in the text and cover them with the sticky notes.

Another activity for this station would be to program 3x5 index cards with sight words from the text.  Then apply highlighter tape over the words on the cards.  After the students have read the book, they take the word cards and find the words in the text.  Once they've found the words in the text, they cover the words with the highlighter tape.

After each of these activities, myself or another student will check for accuracy.  Any mistakes will be corrected by the students.

10.10.04 I did follow through with the idea from above using the 3x5 index cards. Here's pictures of some of the results.  (And since I created these Big Books myself, I've also allowed them to swap them out if they want instead of only using one.  These particular Big Books I created for my Packin' For A Picnic unit.)  I clip a ziploc bag to the back of the book containing the word cards.  The students find the word on the card in the text and pull the highlighter tape from the word card and place it over the word in the book.  My TA cut all the highlighter tape the size of the words in the books, but the children have gotten them mixed up, so they're no longer on the correct card.

(click on images to enlarge)


Another activity for this station would be to have students find sight words in the text on their own and have them cover them with highlighter tape.

Tip: I make my own highlighter tape using see-through cling-on bookcovers.  Just cut to the size you need.  Make sure you purchase a solid color such as pink, orange, or yellow.  Purple isn't one of my favorites as it's not as easy to see through, but it can be used. 

*Cindy shared this idea that she picked up at a workshop: I bought two large canvas tote bags from Oriental Trading company. The tote bags have several pockets on the front as well as the large main pocket. Anyway the big book goes in the large pocket and then the smaller pocket you can put pointers, silly glasses, cards with words/letters you want the children to locate in the book etc. That way the child, or 2 children, can just take the bag and have everything they need. I bought two of them, that way the 2 children in that group can each have their own or they can share.

I've had a lot of questions about the highlighter tape, so here's more clarification if you need it:

I have a 100s chart on my Morning Meeting page and on My Room page that you can see.  I use the highlighter tape on those to show the 5s and 10s pattern.  There's also a visual on the Literacy Connections page where you see a Word Wall for Compound Words, Suffixes and Prefixes. They also show the use of the highlighter tape. 


The book covers I bought 4 to a box at Office Depot YEARS ago.  So that tells you how much you'll get from your investment.  And I'm still using that box.  The ones I got are neon orange, pink, purple, and green.  (The box is at school, or I could give you a name.)  They were in a black box about 5 inches wide and the length of a text book. 

The covers themself cling to the book (or whatever), like a clingy, but when you remove the film there is NO residue.  However, when you place it over the text, you can still read the text through the book cover. 


When I was at Dollar Tree this week, I thought I saw an individual roll of neon pink there.  I didn't pick it up to check and see if that's what it was, but it might be worth checking out.


Drama Station: Will include puppets, flannelboard, and story props to use for retelling of stories.

* Puppets - hand puppets, stick puppets, paper bag puppets, sock puppets

* Flannelboard - teacher-made and commercially produced flannelboard sets for stories that we're working on or have worked on during the year.  The opposite side of my Lakeshore Big Book easel is my flannelboard.  The picture below is of  The 3 Billy Goats Gruff. I photocopied blackline pictures onto cardstock and had the substitute aide color them with markers.  Then they were laminated and cut out.  To make them stick to the flannelboard, I hotglued pieces of sandpaper to the back of them.  I've since decided that velcro works better.  I try to have flannelboard pieces for each of the units/themes that we do.  I've also bought several of those kits that go along with books that have the manipulatives for the book.  The manipulatives can be used on the flannelboard.

You can also make individual flannelboards using file folders or pizza boxes.  Glue a piece of felt to the inside of the folder or box (top).  The student can open the file or box and use the pieces to retell a story.  The pieces can be kept inside the pizza box, or a ziploc bag taped to the file folder with clear packing tape. These individual flannelboards can also be used concurrently with the Listening Station.  As the student listens to the book on cassette, they can also be manipulating the story pieces at the same time.

* Story Props - can be purchased commercially or collected on your own.  Lakeshore carries story props for a lot of the most common books.  You can also make your own by collecting items from a book that can be used in retelling or acting out the story.  For an example of the story props I collected for Mrs. Wishy Washy

Story Props


Literacy Props


ABC Station: This station will be to reinforce identification, sounds, sorting and sequencing of letters. 

I found this idea on Pinterest, but when I went to the blog there was no printable so I created my own.  So of course, I had to share it here.  Here's the link on Pinterest so you can see the photo she had:

ABC Match

(stamp the letter to match the capital or lowercase letter)

* you could also import this and use it on your Promethean board

* When I did Letter of the Week with my students, I began collecting items for each letter sound and kept them hanging on a chart stand in baggies.  I went to Big Lots and purchased 22 of those clear plastic shoeboxes that were 79 cents each so that I could have a box for each letter.  Well, a couple of the letters can share, like x and z.  Then I'll label each box with a capital and lowercase letter [printable labels below] and the kids can sort the objects into the correct box (like the rhyming tubs I purchased from Lakeshore).  As a matter of fact, Lakeshore sells tubs like this, but they are expensive! :)  I also use these with small groups.  My kids love it when I pull one out.  I hide the tub under the table so they can't see what's inside and give clues as to what the item is ... reminding them of the beginning sound.  Everything goes into the middle of the table.  Then if they can tell me the name of the item, they can put it back into the box (good for vocabulary enrichment).  They love getting their hands on the "real thing."

For example, my Letter B box will hold: bear (a small plastic Care Bear from back in the early 80s when they first came out! :) .. my daughter's nursery was decorated with Care Bears), bandana, empty bandaid box, brush, ball, etc.  Anything small enough to fit in the box is fair game!

I have a low shelf that my husband built for me that I'm going to store the shoeboxes in.  I'm one of those crazies that likes to have everything uniform, so I opted for those plastic shoeboxes.  If you don't have that much storage space, then you'll probably have to go with something smaller.


(click on image to enlarge)

This is not the final resting place for my tubs.  Right now they're just stacked on a shelf until I clean a lower shelf off.  I'm using them to introduce letters to my Ks.


This is the Letter F tub that I introduced last week:

fan, fork, fish, "foot"ball/feet, fence, football, feather, fingernail file


Alphabet Tubs - things I have or things I can add.  This list will help to keep me organized and focused.  The items that are in bold type I have in my tub already.  If you have suggestions, shoot me an email .. love to hear them! :)

a plastic apple, ant, alligator, ax, animal crackers
b bear, ball, bandana, brush, bandaid box, bell (jingle bell), banana, bowl, book, balloon, basket, bow, barrette, beads, buttons, Beauty and the Beast, box, bat (sm. Christmas ornament), bookmark, barn, bird, birdhouse, bubbles, bottle, baby, belt, butterfly, boat, bag, bat (pin), beans
c cat, car, cotton, cookie, cake, candle, cupcake, can, cow, cup, candy, card, comb, cards, coconut tree, cap, collar, candycane, caterpillar, calendar, carrot, calculator, corn, catalog, cone, Curious George, cottonball
d dog, doll, deer, dime, dollar, dinosaur, duck, dolphin. Dora, dump truck, dice, dirt
e egg, elephant, envelope, eraser (long e), eggplant, Excedrin
f fake fur, fish, fan, fingernail file, fork, firetruck, fire hat, farmer, feather, foot, feet, football, fence (small wooden craft piece)
g goat, ghost, game, gold coin, gorilla, gift
h hand (keychain), hammer, hat, horse, hamburger, hotdog, helmet, hen, heart, hair, hippopotamus
i ice cream cone (long i), invitation, Indian corn, igloo, ice skates (long i)
j jumprope, jacks, Jello box, jeep, jack-o-lantern, jar, jellybeans
k kangaroo, kite, key, king, kit, ketchup, keychain, kazoo
l lollipop (unless your kids will call it a "sucker" :) ), list, ladybug, lion, lei, lemon, lime, lipstick, leaf, Legos, letters, letter
m marker, monkey, mask, milk carton, marble, Milk Duds, M&Ms, mailbox, motorcycle, magnet, muffin tin, matches (empty box), mitten, magazine, mayo, mustard, map, mouse, microwave, money, marshmallows, macaroni
n napkin, nail, nickel, numbers, necklace, noodles, nut, newspaper, notebook, nametag, names (list)
o octopus, orange, oval (long o), oatmeal (long o)
p pen, pencil, paper, penny, paperclip, picture, pad of paper, pipecleaner, pill bottle, paint, paint stick, paint brush, perfume, pig, pickle, pudding box, puppet, palm tree, ponytail holder, pot, purse, pecan, pumpkin, pony, policeman, pillow, pan, pot, pear, pineapple, potato, pompom, potholder, Pokemon, pinecone, Pilgrim, poinsettia, puzzle, pin, puzzle piece
q quarter, queen, quilt, Q-tip
r ruler, rose, ring, ribbon, Rainbow Fish, rainbow, rug, rubberband, reindeer, rock, rat, raisins, radio, rice
s scissors, spoon, sucker, string, sunglasses, sock, Silly Putty, soap, Santa, seahorse, sand, salt, sugar, Super Man
t toothbrush, toothpaste, tape, tea bag, tack, telephone, tiger, tie, tomato, tag (keychain), turkey, toaster, toothpicks
u paper umbrella
v Valentine, vase, Vaseline jar, van, violin, video, velcro
w wagon, wheel, washcloth, worm, Winnie the Pooh, watch, wallet, witch, whistle, wiggle eyes, wood, wallpaper, water
x x-ray
y yarn, yogurt container, yellow, yo-yo
z zebra, zipper, zero


As you can see, this activity is also good for enhancing vocabulary.  In years past, I actually had a student who didn't know what a candle was.  When I did LOTW, I would pull out a bag and hide it under the table so the kids couldn't see the contents.  I'd pull out one item at a time and let them name the item.  All the items were placed in the middle of the table.  Once everything was out of the bag, I'd let them take turns identifying the objects one-by-one.  If they could name an object, they got to take it from the table and hold it.  We did that until all items had been named.  This might be a good way to introduce each tub.  We also put a lot of emphasis on the beginning sound as we named the items.

 Here are some printable labels for your Alphabet Tubs.  They're saved in PDF format.  Mine are more brilliant in color, but once I scanned them in they became kind of muted.  So I adjusted the saturation to fix the color, but it just would not save the document that way. Sorry.  I would also suggest printing them onto cardstock and laminating them before adding them to your tubs with clear packing tape.  I also gave you some extras. :)

Alphabet Tub Labels printable

 * Dr. Jean's song "Who Let the Letters Out?" on her CD Kiss Your Brain.  And here's a link for a workmat to go along with the song.  Place the mat in a cookie sheet and use with magnetic letters.  Mat created by Tiffany at

Who Let the Letters Out? mat


Carol, my online friend, just shared some more activities with me for this station.  I'll have to get to work on making these over the summer. 


*Poke and Peek - program a card (4x6 index card would probably work) with a picture and at the bottom of the card write 3 letters spaced apart.  One of the letters should be the letter that the picture begins with.  Then punch a hole either right above or right below all 3 letters.  Stick a pencil through the hole that shows what letter the picture begins with (for ex.  bat = b) and flip the card over and circle the hole with the pencil in it.  This makes the card self-checking.


The student will stick a golf tee (or their pencil) in the correct hole to match the beginning letter sound to the picture.  (Poke)  Then they'll flip the card over to check their answer. (Peek)


Note: Carol suggests making all activities self-checking.  I said, "But my kids always cheat and never try to do the activity."  She reiterated something that I'd heard in college as well ... even if the kids cheat to find the answer, they'll more than likely still learn something from the activity. 


* Water Bottles - glue a picture on a small, plastic bottle.  (The new smallest size Coke bottles would work)  On the cap, place a round sticker with the beginning sound for the picture (or you could just write the letter on with a Sharpie).  On the bottom of the bottle, write the correct letter for the beginning sound.  Kids match the correct cap to the correct bottle and then look underneath the bottle to check their answer. 


Thanks Carol for sharing!  You're just a mountain of great ideas!!!!!! :)  If you're interested in seeing more of Carol's ideas, she has her own tips page here:


* play Alphabet Bingo


* lace alphabet beads in correct sequence - these beads were purchased from Lakeshore.  They are large, wooden, square beads (more like blocks actually) with caps and lowercase.  The kids string them onto what looks like colored shoestrings in the correct sequence.  This is difficult for some because they have to have them going in the correct direction (left to right), in the correct order, and none of them upside down. Quite a feat for some!


* match alphabet letter cards to picture with same beginning sound


Kiz Club


* ABC puzzles


* letter stamps - use stamps to sequence letters or to stamp beginning sound for picture they drew.


* playdough/letter mats


* playdough letter stamps


* magnetic pictures/letters


* ABC charts and songs


* ABC books


* slates/chalk


* letter paint sponges


* letter Memory game


* ABC booklets to make such as cutting out pictures from magazines to go with each letter


* foam letters


* magnetic letters


* ABC flashcards


Kiz Club


Color Alphabet Flashcards


* tactile letters - purchased from Lakeshore


* sandpaper letters - you can purchase these (I have a set) or you can make your own (I've done that as well)


* ABC Pocketchart - purchased from Lakeshore.  The pocketchart comes with a pocket for each letter with the letter displayed on front of the pocket.  Students sort provided picture cards into the correct pocket according to the beginning sound.  It also came with foam letters and a place at the top of the chart for the letters to stick (velcro/flannel).  They can sequence the letters or use them to form words.


* file folder activities


* another idea I stole from Nora's site :) - give each student a paper divided into columns with a letter at the top of each column.  Student stamps pictures into correct column for the beginning sound.


* ABC blocks - use blocks to sequence letters


* ABC cushions


* flannelboard letters


* A is for Alphabet (letter necklaces to make)


*ABC Coloring Pages


*Alphabet Arc


*Alphabet Mats


*Alphabet Set 4

an alternative to using these as worksheets would be to make mats out of them by copying them onto cardstock and laminating (2 copies of each).  Students will cover the correct pictures with an appropriate sized counter or marker.


*Alphabet Set 5


Alphabet Printable Materials


Letter Art - things that can be glued onto a large letter that begins with the sound of the letter.


Alphabet Posters - these can be used for large flashcards or sequencing


Word Study Station: This station will be used to reinforce the concept that letters are used to form words and that the letters can also be manipulated to form new words such as in rhyming words and word families.  It will also be used to reinforce the concept that words are used to form sentences, therefore text in books and environmental print.  Activities for this station will be ...

* to match pictures and words

Print these cards and make matching picture cards


*Digraphs: Print the matching cards at these links onto cardstock, color, and laminate.


Use the pictures on this worksheet to create /wh/ picture cards.  Print the worksheet onto cardstock, color and cut out pictures; laminate.  Create your own word cards and laminate.  Students will match the words to the pictures.,sh/wh-sound.pdf


* Th, sh, ch sounds - print these cards and students can match the words to pictures,sh/th-sound1.pdf,sh/sh-sound1.pdf,sh/ch-sound1.pdf,sh/-chsound1.pdf

* sort words by number of letters, number of vowels, same beginning sounds, into word families

* make lists of words with indicated number of letters, same beginning sounds, in word families

* make words using playdough letter stampers

* make words using letter paint sponges

* make words using letter stamps

* put words into alphabetical order by sorting into correct letter category (color groups) using magnetic word cards


To complete this activity, some students need visual helpers.  I give them a laminated ABC strip and chips to put

over the letters for the beginning letter of each word.  Then they "drive down ABC Road" and see who's house

the come to first.  Letter A, Letter B, etc.  As they come to a "house"/letter, they put that word on the board.



* printable alphabetical order activity:

* make words using plastic letter tiles

* printable activity for students to use with plastic letter tiles to make the word to match the picture by supplying

   the correct beginning sound, ending sound, middle sound, or making the complete word (4 different sets of cards 

   or mix them all together); made to use with the plastic letter tiles from WalMart (my favorite) or tiles from

   Lakeshore .. I also added labels for your envelopes or whatever you're going to put them in with the _ug set.


* complete Word Hunts by highlighting specific words such as sight words in text like poems, newspaper, etc.

* provide an appropriate dictionary for students to use

* make words using spelling rods - Spelling Rods can be purchased from Lakeshore. They're almost the same as Reading Rods.  They look like Unifix cubes with letters.  They snap together to form words or for sequencing ABCs.

* build sight words or using letter cut-outs and mats

* form spelling words

* use slates for writing words

* use rhyming mats and magnetic letters for students to change beginning sound to create new words.  New words will be written on Response Sheet.

* make lists of Word Families

* create lists of short vowel words, long vowel words, words with blends and digraphs

* use pocketchart letters to form words in pocketchart

* sight word Memory game

* color words activities

* rhyming tubs from Lakeshore - students sort objects into the appropriate rhyming tub.  For ex. __ake tub holds: cake, snake, rake, etc.

* use word cards to create sentences in the pocketchart; you can provide models for students to use in forming their sentences.

* use picture stamps and write word for picture

* many years ago I created cards with a picture and the word on each card in dotted print.  Each card is a 3x5 index card with the picture, the word in dotted print, with a line underneath for the student to write the word.  The cards have been laminated, so the the student completes the activity by tracing the word, then writing it on the line with a Vis-a-Via pen.

* this past year I also purchased a bulletin board set for Word Families.  Each word family is listed on a big picture.  For ex. __et is on a net.  I had them laminated so that they could be used in a Center. The students create lists of words for each family and write the words on the picture using a Vis-a-Via pen.

* use the pocketchart to sort word cards into the appropriate word family.  The word families are each listed on a card and placed across the top of the pocketchart.  Students enter the word cards into the correct column.

* Word Families - print these word family cards for students to match.  *Hint - because I'll be adding more families and sometimes pictures may be hard to figure out, print the family ( _at ) on the back of the picture cards to make the job much easier. 

_at family

_an family

_ig family

(plus labels for the other two families)


_ot family


_un family


* Print the activity at this link for another good Word Family activity:

* Rhyming Words:

* Rhyming Word Bingo (purchased)

* Print the cards at this link on cardstock, laminate and cut apart ... as well as a matching rhyming word for each set of rhymes.  (Ex.  pictures of rose, nose .. make word card "hose")  Students will place all word cards on a table and then place one rhyming picture on each side of the word card creating a set.  Ex.  rose, hose, nose


*Rhyming Picture Cards galore to match! To extend the activity, make word cards to go with each rhyming words set and have students match rhyming words to rhyming pictures.  For example: pictures of snake, cake and word cards rake and bake.  So you'd have two rhyming pictures and two rhyming words.


 Update: I used printables at Kiz Club and created word cards to match the pictures.  My students have to decode the word and match to the correct picture.  They can also use the word cards to match rhyming words. 


Phonics and Rhyming Word Cards Match


I used these links for the pictures:


 * Sight Word Bingo (purchased)

 *Sight Words Flashcards:


1st Grade

2nd Grade

*Spelling - I have this thing that has 3 - 4 letters across and you twist it to form words.  I can't remember the name of it.  Kind of like a Rubics cube, but it's a cyclinder shaped.  Students use it to form words and write the words they create on a response sheet.

* play Boggle (I think that's the name).  Student has a certain amount of time to form a word with letters to match a word card before the timer goes off. (purchased)

* string beads to form words

* use a half of a shower curtain or piece of posterboard to form a grid.  If using posterboard, laminate.  Then program the grid with sight words.  On the posterboard, use a Vis-A-Via pen.  Students throw a beanbag and read the word it lands on.  This idea was adapted from one @ Little Giraffes.  I would rather use a piece of posterboard because it would take up less room.  By laminating it, you can change the words periodically.  I would also have as many levels of this activity as I had groups of readers. For example, 2 groups = 2 gameboards

*use the worksheets at this link to create a sight words book

* print the cards at this link on cardstock, laminate and cut apart.  Place the cards for each page in a ziploc bag or other container.  If you use all the pages at once, have students create one word from each bag and write it on a response form.  If only using one or two bags at a time, have students create the number of  words the page instructions gives you, and write them on a response form.  Have the students read the words to you or another student.  For lower students, provide a model of the words you want them to create by writing the words on a card.  The students will use the card to create the words and write them on their response sheet.

~Note: watch out for page 2 on this link ... they forgot to resize the page before uploading it to the site.  You'll need to save it to your computer and resize it, rather than just printing it from the site.

*print the cards at this link on cardstock and laminate to make mats.  Students will identify the correct beginning sound for each picture/word by placing plastic tiles or magnetic letters beside each picture.

*choose word/picture flashcards and re-create the words using their method of choice (stamps, playdough stampers, writing a list, etc.)  You can purchase flashcards like this (Carson-Delosa CD-3908) or make your own.  I'm debating whether or not to make another set of cards for my pocketchart to be used in every day writing activities.


Print these free printable word/picture cards to be used the same as those above:


*contractions matching activity - match the cab of the truck to the correct truck body.  The patterns for this came from a big yellow book dealing with Learning Centers (I believe).  I do not know the full title and I've had it for many years.


*Contraction Action: Turn this worksheet into a matching activity by printing on cardstock and laminating.  Cut pieces off bottom and keep in a ziplock bag taped to the back with clear packing tape (not scotch tape).


Contraction Puzzle: print on cardstock and laminate


Contraction Worksheets:


Contraction Matching Cards: print on cardstock and laminate

* sound chunk tubs (for lack of a better description) - I'm going to start collecting things for tubs like the Letter Tubs listed above, but these will be for sound chunks (blends, digraphs, etc.).  The students can sort the objects or pictures into the correct tub.


sheep, shoe, shell


chair, chain, chick


white, whistle




bracelet, brad, broom, brown, bread, brush


green, grapes


triangle, trash can, truck, troll, Trix


block, black, blue


clock, clip, Clifford




glasses, glass, glue, glitter




skateboard (McDonald's toy)


spoon, spatula, sponge, Sponge Bob, Spiderman


Twix, Twizzlers


Snow White, snowman, Snickers


smiley face


starfish, stone, stickers, stamp, star, stick




car, card, arm, barn, jar, farm


orange, Oreo









 * Ending sounds: print the worksheets at these links onto cardstock, color, and laminate.  They'll be used as workmats rather than worksheets.


Use these workmats with plastic letter tiles.  Students put the correct word ending on the word using the correct letter tile.


Trace over the letter choices on these workmats with a black Sharpie.  Students indicate the correct ending sound by covering their answer choice with a round disc used for the overhead (so that they, and the checker, can see the letter through the disc).  If overhead discs are not available use another type of marker or have students circle the letter with a  Vis-a-Via pen.


After laminating this mat, remove the pictures and cut them a part.  Students will sort the pictures into the correct ending sound box.


* Complete sentences: To teach that a sentence has to say WHO or WHAT and WHAT THEY DID.  (subject/predicate)  I'm a pocketchart person, because they work so well in a SPED classroom.  You can easily differentiate activities for multiple levels of students and it gets them out of their seat and gives them wiggle room.  For this activity,  I would write sentences on sentence strips and have them laminated.  Then I'd introduce them to the group and discuss the WHO or WHAT for each sentence as well as the WHAT THEY DID or what happened part.  Then I would introduce a heading for each sentence part (WHO or WHAT, WHAT THEY DID) and review that every sentence has to have both of these parts to be a complete sentence.  Place them at the top of the pocketchart (this make take a wide pocketchart).  Then take the sentence strips and have the students tell you WHO or WHAT and WHAT THEY DID and as they get it correct, cut the sentence strip into subject/predicate parts.  After you've gone through all the sentences, mix up the parts.  In the Station the students will sort the sentence parts back into the correct columns according to whether it's a WHO or WHAT part or a WHAT THEY DID part.  Once they get this part down, then they can begin putting the parts back together to make silly sentences and/or sentences that make sense.  If you have them make silly sentences, have them choose one sentence that they made, write the sentence and draw a picture to go with it.


Someone also suggested color coding the sentence parts to help the learners see that they needed one of each color to make a complete sentence.  If you did this however, you wouldn't be able to have them sort into the two sentence parts, because the color would give it away as to which group the sentence part belonged.


*Word Order: Print the sentence strips below onto cardstock, laminate and cut apart to make word cards.  Place each sentence in a snack size ziplock bag and then place all the 3 word sentence bags in a pencil box for storage.  Continue for each level of words.  Students will unscramble the words to create each sentence.  (The words were created using primer and first grade level sight words as well as a few short vowel words)


3 Word Sentences

4 Word Sentences

5 Word Sentences

6 or More Word Sentences


4 word sentences


Build A Sentence printable:


*Antonyms printable:


*Synonyms printable:


*Compound words printable:


*Singluar/Plural: Print these cards and make a heading each for Singular and Plural for your pocketchart.  Have students sort the picture cards into the appropriate column.



Overhead Station:

* provide familiar text (poems, songs, etc.) on transparencies for students to circle known words, sight words, or letters


* form spelling words with magnetic letters


* sort words


* write spelling words, sight words, letters using Vis-a-Via on a transparency


* complete transparency by filling in blanks such as A B _ D _ F or A_ B_ C_


* practice handwriting by completing handwriting sheets copied onto transparencies


* Lift A Word - display word list or text onto board/wall.  One student will be the "caller" and the other student will be the "finder."  The caller will call out a word from the words displayed.  The finder will find the word and "lift it" from the wall/board by placing a piece of white cardstock in front of the word causing it to display on the cardstock.  Then the word can be lifted off the wall/board by moving the cardstock towards the overhead.  Works like magic! :)


* story props - create story props for familiar stories by copying them onto transparencies, coloring and cutting.  Students can use them with the overhead to retell the stories.


* copy the pages at this link onto transparencies.  Students use a Vis-a-Via to circle the identified letter at the bottom of the page.  An alternative to using a Vis-a-Via would be to have them cover the letter with a colored disk made for the overhead (the letter can still be seen through the disk for easy checking) or another type of non-transparent manipulative.


* print the pages from the link below and copy onto transparencies to use in this station.  Students can use mini pointers and take turns reading them.



Pocketcharts Station:

* match pictures/names of students


* sort student names into boy/girl categories or number of letters


* alphabetize names by placing names beside cards with appropriate beginning letter


* read/sing poems/songs


* match words/pictures


* match word cards to text


* sequence pictures


* sequence lines of text using model if needed


This picture shows 4 pocketchart activities:

1 - matching words to text; students match the pink word cards in the picture to the text from the book The Birthday Cake by Joy Cowley.


2 - match words to pictures; they can also match the color words to the appropriate color balloon (there's always a model or chart up somewhere in the classroom for assistance for those who are still having trouble with this kind of skill)


3 - sequence pictures; they can sequence the cake layers to match the story (using the book if needed)


4 - sequence lines of text using model if needed; they could remove the sentence strips and then replace them back into the pocketchart in the correct order, therefore practicing their sequencing skills.


In this picture students also match words to text, but it's made easier by using different color sentence strips.  They know that a pink word card will go on a pink sentence strip, and the same for green and blue.  They can also remove the pictures and them match them back to the correct sentence as well as remove the sentence strips and replace them in the correct order.   I wrote this poem for my Easter Unit using a spinoff from the Jack O' Happy poems written by Susie Haas, I believe.


* sort pictures


* sort letters


* sort words into number of letters


* match rhyming words/pictures


* alphabetize words


* complete following directions activities


* use word cards to create sentences and write sentences on Response Sheet

*Story Elements: After listening to the story and/or reading it, discuss the story elements: title, author, setting, characters, main character, something that happened in the beginning of the story, middle, end, problem, solution, was the author's intent to entertain, inform, or persuade the reader, what was the lesson learned?

I created story element pocketchart cards for this activity.  Print the story element cards below on cardstock, laminate and cut out.  Place them in your pocketchart one story element per row.  The activity can be done in a couple of ways.  As you're discussing each element, you can jot down the answers of the students.  Later make answer cards from their answers by writing them on sentence strips (one answer per story element).  OR, you can have premade answer cards and as a student supplies the answer, place the answer card in the pocketchart beside the story element.  (This is what I'll do) 

The next day, after reading the story again, review the story elements.  Then remove the answer cards and pass out to students making sure that everyone can read their answer card.  (for lower level students, you can quietly read the answer card quickly with them as you had them the card)  Then go back to the pocketchart and read the story elements.  As each element is read, the student with the correct answer card should raise their hand and read their card.  If it's correct, they place the card back into the pocketchart beside the correct story element.

The next day, you could have all the answer cards in the pocketchart, but have them placed mixed up and have the students take turns putting the answer cards in the correct place. 

After the activity has been sufficiently reviewed, you can remove the answer cards and place them and the pocketchart with the story elements in a work station or center for the students to complete individually or in pairs.

printable story element cards in Word format

* you can use the sentences from the link below as ideas for creating your own rebus sentences for the pocketchart.  Students can use pointers and take turns reading them.



Creation Station: This station will be used to link literature and artistic expression.

* create art projects as in focus books


* use shapes to create


* make puppets for retelling stories and drama


* draw and write about illustration


* illustrate books


* make story props


* make masks to use in acting out stories


* make bookmarks


Writing Station: This station will be used to reinforce both writing skills and handwriting. 


This station is really only a "one seater" although it does cover two desks. :)  They write in front of the station sign, the other desk just holds some of the materials.  This is showing small note paper and cards in the basket, the Rolodex pictionary, dictionary, green and white paper (inside desk), handwriting sheet, and colored pencils.  The student chooses what they want to do .. do the handwriting practice, write a note to their friend (we have a mailbox for each student and teachers), write a story, etc.


*That's the Discovery Station on the opposite two desks.  Same set up.*


* handwriting sheets - you can either provide a handwriting sheet for each student, or make 2 copies of the page on cardstock and laminate mats. Students complete with a Vis-a-Via.


Alphabet Set 1


Handwriting Sheets


Amazing Handwriting Worksheet Maker


* pictures as writing prompts


* paper


* stationary


* special pencils


* pens


* crayons


* colored pencils


* appropriate dictionary


* copies of student work


* short poems to copy


* Rolodex word cards


* handwriting mats


* slates


* letter/word tracing activities


* stencils for letters


* Tablecloth Writing - I stole this idea from Nora at Little Giraffe's. ;)  Each set of students will decide on a topic or write/draw to an assigned one.  They will be given a large sheet of butcher paper to draw/write their ideas on the assigned or chosen topic.  (And normally I wouldn't include ideas on my webpages that I got from other websites, because it makes more sense just to include a link to the other website, BUT I'm going to be using this page in planning for my own class, so I want all the ideas that I want to use here on ONE page.  So do go and visit Nora's page as well.  She has a whole page of ideas for Centers, and I'm only stealing a few of them. :)  )


*Student Mailboxes - students write notes to each other, the teacher(s), administration, and/or faculty; whom ever you want to provide a mailbox for.  Each student should have their own mailbox that has been labeled with their name.  When modeling this station with your students, really model what kind of writing will/will not be expected.  (only say nice things; nothing mean, sign your name, etc.)  A good way to get this started is for you to write to each student and encourage them to write back. 


When I first started this with my class, my mailbox consisted of a liquor box with partitions that had been covered with contact paper.  The partitions used in the box to keep the bottles of liquor from getting broken were perfect for mailboxes when the box was turned on its side.  I labeled each compartment (mailbox) with a student's name using cut down file folder labels.  I have since graduated from the liquor box to a commercially produced student mailbox from Really Good Stuff I believe.  Exact same premise as the liquor box, just a little bit sturdier.


Of course, notes to other teachers, administration, or staff will have to be delivered by you or a helper.  If appropriate, this could be a Helper's job.


* Let's Go Shopping: Use teacher created catalogs to create list of 10 items wanted during pretend shopping spree.  I cut out pictures from magazines to make 2 separate "catalogs". One is "Let's Go Shopping at the Grocery Store" and the other is "Let's Go Shopping at the Mall".  They use the catalogs to help them choose what they'd like to purchase. Each item is labeled below the picture. This picture was taken before I'd gotten my binder. The pages are now bound together to form two separate catalogs.



* Shape Books: At this link you can print pages to make shape books



Listening Station: This is my old Listening Center.  I have a crate full of books and tapes in ziploc bags.  On top of the crate is the tape player, headset, book, and clipboard with Response Sheets.  The student sits in a beanbag chair and listens to the book. Afterwards, they write their name of their Response Sheet, title of the book, and draw their favorite part of the story.  I have some students turn their paper over and write on the back what their picture is about.  I put stickers on the taper player buttons to show play (green), rewind (yellow), and stop (red).  After listening, the student is in charge of rewinding the tape for the next person.


Reading Station: This is my old Reading Center.  I have a bookshelf that holds books with the cover facing out and two small plastic chairs from the dollar store.  I also have at least one stuffed animal here for the students to read to.  The bookshelf holds books that I've read to them, as well as magazines (World by National Geographics, Humpty Dumpty, and Highlights), class made books, thematic books, etc.


My Reading Center from a couple of years ago.  This will now be my Reading Station with a few updates such as the stuffed animals to read to and a tabletop turnstyle type rack that holds small emergent reader sets.


I've also added 2 tubs of AR books.  One tub holds K-1st grade level books, and the other tub holds 2nd grade level books.  Because the children don't always get to finish their book before taking their AR test on the computer, I like to keep a can of bookmarks sitting between the tubs for them to use.  Bookmarks would be something you could have them create in the Creation Station to go along with specific pieces of literature or here's a link for printable bookmarks that just need to be colored.


Book Box Station: I've used Book Boxes for several years and still love them.  At this station, the students will read or use the manipulatives in their own Book Book.


Each student has their own book box to keep their individual class-made books in, their Poetry Journal, along with any literacy props, etc. that we make. The boxes are just Tide boxes that my husband has so graciously painted for us, and then I added the clipart sign to the front. The handles are the handles that come already on the boxes.  They're made with heavy duty plastic, because the Tide boxes are heavy when full of Tide. They are kept on the floor, up against the wall, underneath the chalkboard or another out of the way place.


The students put all their things into the  boxes all through the year, then at the end of school they take them home.  If I want to send their books home to read for homework, I put them in their homework folder and send a response form with it for the parents to sign.  They bring their book back the next day. 

When I send the books home for homework like that, it reminds me why I use the Book Boxes.  I always have at least one student who's brother/sister/whatever, got hold of their book and scribbled/tore it up/etc.  I think if I just sent the books home all along, they would be everywhere and get thrown away.  At least by sending them home in the box, they MIGHT have a better chance of survival.


Book Boxes from several years ago.


I know that some people prefer to use cereal boxes for their Book Boxes and I've even tried using 2 gallon ziploc bags.  For my class, the cereal boxes would be too small and I just prefer the detergent boxes to the hanging ziploc bags.


Our student books consist of the Frog Street Press color words books and alphabet books, and books that I create for my class as well as The Teacher's Bookbag.  I use a few other commercial reproducible books, but not many.  Many of them are just too small or have text that's too small and too close together.


 ** 7.8.04 - Update: There will be no Book Boxes this year. :(  My husband does the grocery shopping during the school year and he refuses to buy the size detergent that I need for the boxes, so I'm going to start the year off with NO Book Boxes.  But, in an effort to take their place ... because we will have to have somewhere to store all our books .. I came up with the idea of using large gift bags.  So I purchased solid, primary color bags.  I wanted to dress the bags up some with border to match their book tags, but I couldn't find what I wanted, so I just made some on the computer.  They're not perfect by any means, but they're cute and the kids won't notice the imperfections. :)   I also decided just recently that I'd cut the eyelet looking part off of the "border" on the bags for the boys.  I don't think they'd appreciate the eyelet. :)


The pictures aren't the greatest.  I hope to have better pictures of them after school gets started.  But before school starts, I'm going to run the bags through the laminator to make them more durable.  I'm going to tape the handles down inside the bag so that they don't get laminated. Then after I slit the laminating film from the sides and top, I'll untape them and bring them back out of the bag!


My chatboard friends tell me that the laminating idea I was so proud of probably will not work well. :(  Soooo, someone else came up with the idea of trying laminating PAPER by Contac and just laminating the front of the bags.  So that's my "new" solution! :)


click on images to enlarge



As a note, these bags will not go home with the children until the end of the year! When I send their books home to read, they go home one at a time in their homework folder. Sometimes they come back scribbled on or not at all, so I'm not sending the whole bag home until the end. These things are not important to most of the parents. I hear all the time .. My mom threw it away. :(


Reading Tubs Station


 Read the Room Station: My husband painted this large coffee can for me and I use it to hold my pointers.  I use a pointer (my apple pointer) on a daily basis, and the children use the other pointers when they go to this station or the Big Book Station.  So I have 3 sizes of pointers for whatever needs occur; long, medium, and small (pencil sized).  I also have "magic reading glasses" which are safety glasses with clear lens from the Dollar Tree and old Pizza Hut sunglasses with the lens removed.  Their place is to be hanging around the rim of the can.



When the students go to the Read the Room Station, the "teacher" student will choose a pointer and a pair of glasses, and the "reader" will choose only a pair of glasses.  The "teacher" will point, while the "reader" reads.  They proceed around the classroom reading the numerous pocketcharts, charts, Word Wall, ABC line etc.  Then they change roles and the "reader" becomes the "teacher" and vice versa.


Things to have:

*pocketchart poems

*pocketchart songs

*song charts

*poem charts

*ABC line

*number line

*counting chart

*Word Wall


About the Pointers ...

you can find more information about the pointers I have, where to get them and how to make them here.


Discovery Station: The Discovery Station is just a place to let the children indulge their curious nature.  If I introduce something in class for a "hands on experience", I might include it in the Discovery Station for further investigation.  Such as the coconuts that you see in the picture below.  We learned about the coconuts during our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom unit.  The whole one was placed in the Discovery Station and the opened one we opened and completed a 5 Senses Chart.  Afterwards, the opened coconut went into the Discovery Station.  The picture also shows facts about coconut trees printed from the Internet (couldn't find any books on this in our library) and our ant hill, ant diagram and ant books left over from our Packin' For a Picnic unit.



This station covers two desks, but it's only for one person at a time.  The second desk just helps to hold some of the materials.  The student sits at the desk with the station sign.  Inside the desk there is paper for writing or drawing about their observations.


*The Writing Station can be seen on the opposite side and has the same set-up.*


 * Discovery Bottles: I created these Discovery Bottles back before the big testing push.  I still think they have worth as part of the Discovery Station and they could be used for calming some students as well.  (bad picture, but it's very old)



The first bottle in the picture is colored Karo syrup with metallic confetti, which they just turn upside down and watch it slowly move from one place to another. 


The second bottle is colored Karo.


The third is a tornado bottle.  You can buy the attachment to create the tornado bottle at school supply stores and then just add some water to one of the bottles.  Attach the bottles together with the attachment, turn the bottle with the water upside down and swirl and watch the "tornado" form as the water pours out of the bottle to the bottle below.


The fourth bottle is rice with magnetic items.  You use the magnetic wand to pull the magnetic items through the rice.


The fifth bottle is magnetic filings.  You also use the magnetic wand to move the filings around inside the bottle.


The key to making these bottles is to make sure that the lids of the bottles are secure.  I put lots of electrical tape around the top of mine.  You can also hot glue them.  Otherwise, you're going to have a mess.


Another bottle that I made and probably put in my Ocean Unit is a wave bottle.  Put 1/2 bottle of baby oil, then finish filling the bottle 3/4 full of water that's been tinted blue with food coloring.  (make sure you tint the water ahead of time!)  Seal tightly.  You can also add sand, but you'll need to change your measurements for your liquid.  There should be enough room left in the bottle for the contents to gently move from side to side inside the bottle creating a wave action.


* Magnets: Add magnets of all kinds ... marble magnets in a good holding container, horseshoe magnets, donut magnets, wand magnets, bar magnets, etc. along with items that are and are not magnetic.  Students can make discoveries about which items are magnetic and which ones are not and how magnets push and pull against each other.



Computer Station



Kids Online

lots of links to browse through



 Write the Room Station:  The Write the Room Station contains clipboards and writing paper for the students to use to write things from the environmental print in the room.  The younger students usually start out really wanting to write the names of their friends.  So make sure these are posted somewhere in the classroom.  (Then they can also use them in their writing during Writing Workshop)   My 1st and 2nd graders like looking for words they know how to read.  When they finish, they read them to me or the TA and they get a stamp beside all those words they read correctly.   They like being able to show off those reading skills.  (I have some of those old stamps that look like markers but make footprints, butterflies, lips, stars, etc. 


You can load your clipboards with paper that is lined, unlined, colored, white, seasonal, shaped, etc.  This keeps it new and fresh for the students so that they'll enjoy and look forward to going to that station.  You can also add different writing instruments.  Sometimes use pencils, others use washable thin markers, washable fat markers, twistable crayons, colored pencils, cool pens, etc.


You can tell the students what you want them to look for, or you can provide them with "response sheets" that you create that specifies what you want them to look for.  For instant, if you want them to look for 3 letter words.  Create a page in MS Word that has a place for their name at the top and says "3 Letter Words".  This will be a reminder to them to look only for words containing 3 letters.  Of course, the cuter you make this page, the better they're going to like it.  And I actually let my kids take their papers home to show their parents, so the label at the top will help them to understand exactly what the child was trying to do.


You can purchase clipboards relatively cheap at WalMart, but invest in some different kinds as well ... or jazz up those cheap ones.  I have one that I purchased for myself that is clear, neon pink and the kids like to use it just for that reason.  You can also make your own clipboards by covering a sturdy piece of cardboard with white or colored contact paper and then adding thematic or seasonal stickers to it.  Use binder clips as the clamp to hold the paper at the top.  (idea from my online friend Carol at The Learning Tree).


Other ideas for Write the Room are:


* have your students look for words that begin with a specific letter

* look for words that contain a specific letter

* look for words with that begin with blends/digraphs (ch, sh, bl, pr, etc)

* look for words that have 3 letters, 4 letters, etc.

* look for compound words

* look for words that rhyme

* look for contractions

* look for words with prefixes, suffixes

* look for 2 syllable words, 3 syllables



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