Apr 30, 2014

Workstation Wednesday: Read and Retell

Welcome back for out Workstation Wednesday! The year is starting to wind down, but the workstations keep going and of course the kids keep loving them. Today's workstation that I'd like to share is one that we do all year long and all of my students participate in this station because it's easy to differentiate.

I have an old set of leveled readers from an old reading series that are all in leveled baskets and these books are used ONLY for this workstation, my read and retell station. You could use any books that you have leveled to easily differentiate this station though. 

Here is how the station looks: 

On each student work plan, it tells the student which level I'd like them to use that week. After 5-6 weeks, I just change the level on their work plan by going up one. Also, they know if they read every book in that basket, they just move up to the next level basket. Again, a station that doesn't require a ton of work on my part. Are you seeing a pattern in my posts? Lol 

Here is their work plan with their read and retell center assigned:

Students choose a book from their assigned basket, read it, then complete the read and retell graphic organizer. Download it free from my TPT store.

Read and Retell accountability sheet (please follow my TPT store and leave me some feedback if you download this, I appreciate it!) 
Also, here are my basket labels: Read and Retell Center Labels FREEBIE

Hope this station can be useful for you in your classroom! I'd love to see you using it! Feel free to post pictures to my Facebook page of you using any of my ideas or tag me on Instagram! @stuckeyinsecond

Head over to see what Abbie is up to!!

Apr 23, 2014

Workstation Wednesday: Response to Literature using RAPP

I hope you are enjoying our Workstation Wednesday posts so far. This is #4 already! Just in writing and sharing these, I've been motivated to come up with even more ideas for my kids. I can't wait to share more and the new things I've come up with just in these last few weeks!

Today I'm going to share my Response to Literature workstation, which isn't too complicated or involved, but I'd like to share the work I've done with my kids throughout the year (in and out of workstations) to practice Response to Literature using RAPP.

The station that my students do every week includes a question about our weekly story from Reading Wonders. They have to use their book to go back and use text evidence to answer.

You could write any question from your own stories that your students have read and include "use two details from the text," for example. My students have been trained (conditioned!?) to use RAPP....well, most of them anyway. If you haven't seen RAPP before, just wait, I have lots of pictures to show you below! :)

In order for you to understand how much I teach and RE-teach RAPP and how students should use it when answering a question, let me show you all of the places that students find RAPP in the classroom:

Anchor chart at the back corner of the room
(near my small group table for me to refer to anytime I'm there)

Randomly posted around the room, in case they need a reminder!

Across this long bulletin board on the other side of the room:

And, last but not least...ON EACH OF THEIR DESKS!!!

Yes, I may be crazy...but guess what? Some of them still forget.

Here are some of the tools that I have used to help me along the way. I use these tools on whole group type assignments first, before I let them try them on their own in workstations.
Graphic organizers:

If you'd like to purchase my RAPP Detective Packet, which includes the posters (color and black/white), bookmarks, desk tags, and graphic organizers, click below:

More next Wednesday!

Check out what Abbie is doing with workstations over on her page!

Apr 16, 2014

Workstation Wednesday: Scholastic Brain Bank

Welcome back for Workstation Wednesday! I hope that you've been enjoying our posts so far! We have loved the feedback that we have had and the fun collaboration! This next station that I'm going to share is another YEAR LONG station (my favorite!)

I created this station by using Scholastic's Brain Bank boxes that were purchased for my classroom by my principal. I know that not everyone has access to this, but if you do, or if you have them sitting around collecting dust (I HOPE NOT!!), then this post will be great for you because you can try using them in the way that I do. However, if you don't have the Brain Bank boxes, I'm sure you may be able to use this "year long workstation" idea with other books and activities that you may have.

First of all, let me share the Scholastic link to the Brain Banks and pictures of what they look like. When my principal first delivered one of these to each of our classrooms (they are leveled by grade level), I was excited enough. Then, a few years later, after I'd created this workstation with them, she bought MORE! I was so excited to add to my Brain Bank workstation! The kids were excited too!
Each box has two of each book included (non-fiction) and then laminated cards with activities for each book. Also, there is a guide that tells you the reading level for each book. I went ahead and labeled all of the books right away with the level right on the front so that I didn't have to go back to the guide to figure it out.

Then, I made a folder for each set of books. As you can see in the picture below (all green for me!) All of these folders are in my Brain Bank "crate."

Inside each folder is a set of two books. (You could make two folders if you want, one book in each folder.) Then I copied the cards with activities that I found practical enough for my students to do during my workstation time. I have a whole folder of originals that I copied, then I just copy about 30 per folder at the beginning of each year. That's all I do...ALL YEAR LONG.

On my student work plans, my students that are up to this level of work have Brain Bank assigned with a level. This is how it's differentiated. Some students will be told they need to get a level L or M folder, while others might get N or O. They have to choose a folder that is at that level (clearly labeled on the front.) And they can work with a partner that is assigned the same level if they want, otherwise they are on their own. They read the book, then complete the activities that are assigned in the folder. That activity is then put into their workstation folder to turn into me on Friday.

How could you use this if you don't actually own a set of Brain Bank books?
Well, you could use any non-fiction book that you have, then have copies of activities that you want students to complete for that book in the folder. Just have 30-40 copies in there at the beginning of the year, then you never have to touch it again! MY FAVORITE!!!

Problems I've had: Kids trying to do the same folder each week and just memorize what to do because they don't think I can keep track of everyone and what they did the week before. Newsflash--they are right, I can't remember all of that! Tricky little 2nd graders. You could also have a class list stapled into each folder and they have to cross of their name as they do that folder, so they can never do it again that year.

This station is a lot like the Animal Kingdom one: year long, nonfiction, have to trust the kids that they won't duplicate the same one every week. But, I still love it! In fact, I'm looking for more stations to create like this. The biggest difference with this one is that you COULD do it with fiction too if you want, and it's leveled, so it can be differentiated easily within the station.

More next Wednesday!

Check out the workstations Abbie is sharing over on her blog today for Workstation Wednesday!

Apr 9, 2014

Workstation Wednesday: Animal Kingdom (Nonfiction Passage Comprehension)

This is one of my students' very favorite workstations and it's mine too! You know why? Mostly because I took the time to set it up ONCE and it's ready to go for the WHOLE YEAR, I never have to do a THING to change anything out. It's ready every single day, every single week, after just a little work at the beginning of the year. I call this a "YEAR AROUND WORKSTATION."
First of all, this set of non-fiction passages was purchased from Kayla Parker at Meet Miss Parker. Let me just tell you that it was WELL-WORTH my $14. Did I mention, YEAR LONG WORKSTATION!?

Meet Miss Parker

Here it is in her TpT Store:
Nonfiction Reading Comprehension Passages Animals A-Z (Common Core)

I honestly can't say enough about this great product. My kids love it and I love it. It doesn't get much better than that!
How did I accomplish a year long workstation? There are 26 animal passages (Animal names starting with the letters A-Z). I used 26 of these plastic three prong folders that I knew would last a long time. Luckily, I had enough of the folders that the kids had brought in at the beginning of the year as a "donation" to the classroom. I wrote the name of each animal on the outside of each folder.

Then, I printed the whole set of passages ONCE in color. (Just once...and it'll last FOREVER!) I put one plastic sleeve in each folder in the three prongs with a piece of blank cardstock just to keep it sturdy. (Or you could print the passages on cardstock.) I put one animal passage the sleeve in each folder.

Then, I copied an abundance (30 for me) of the comprehension questions for each animal with the KWL chart that she includes on the back of each set of questions. This stack of papers should last me the whole year, as long as each child only chooses each animal once. I'm sure some kids will want to do some of the animals more than once, and they'll get away with it somehow, but that's why I make sure there are extras in there. Since there are 30 copies, I literally should not have to refill or even TOUCH these folders until NEXT YEAR! Woohoo!!!

Now, I copy the questions on paper so that they can turn them into me. If you have your stations set up in a different type of way and you don't NEED them to have that turned into you, you could actually just copy the questions once and have them in a second plastic sleeve where students could use a dry erase marker to complete the station. That would be an even better win-win center because you wouldn't have to make any copies! Unfortunately, I still feel the need to have my students turn it in to me to show accountability. If I had an assistant in the room at all times that could check the work they do, then it'd work out even better!

I keep all 26 folders (with an originals folder in the back) in a crate. The cover of Kayla's product is so eye catching, so I use that right on the front of the crate!

So, once I got them all pretty and organized in my crate (in alphabetical order, of course), how do my kids use them? (Yes, they are allowed to touch them! LOL)  I will say they didn't stay in alphabetical order for very long!

Each student that is assigned this station on their personal work plan is to choose one animal each week (that they haven't done before). They start by filling out the K and W of the KWL chart. Then, they read the passage carefully. I encourage my students to read passages like this three times. Then, they answer the comprehension questions on the other side of the KWL by looking back into the text to find evidence for the answers. If they choose, they can use a dry erase marker to underline parts of the passage as needed, since it's in a plastic sleeve. After completing the questions, they go back and fill in the L of the KWL chart. Their completed comprehension questions/KWL paper is then put in their yellow workstation folder that will all be turned in to me at the end of the week.
Like I said at the beginning, this is one of my favorite stations. I think it's easy to see why I love it so much and why my students do too! My reasons for loving it are,  top and foremost, the quality of Kayla Parker's work on the non-fiction passages. It amazes me. Very high quality. (No, she does not even know I'm writing this post! Haha)

Also, like I keep saying, it's a year-long workstation. I took the time to put it together at the beginning of the year, and I haven't had to touch it again. Now, next year it will be even less work for me, I'll just make copies of the questions and stuff each folder. It's not just busy work, it's quality work and covers a large spectrum of standards.
The kids love it because it's about animals and there are a great mixture of animals included. As you can see in the example pictured, there are some unusual animals and animals that are "new" to students. But, there are also animals that are more common and excite the students just as much, for example, the lion is a big favorite. 
Even without purchasing this exact product, you could easily create a similar year long workstation crate with other nonfiction passages that you already have, then placing the comprehension question copies in the folders. In fact, I'm already trying to think of another year-long comprehension station that I can create! I have tons of comprehension passage books that I could possibly make copies of for next year and do another crate with a creative name! I'm also waiting for Kayla to create another set of passages!

Check out Abbie's Workstation Wednesday blog post today!

Apr 7, 2014

Coin Top-It

Last week, I posted about Introducing Coins and Counting Money. I asked for feedback and Teacher Gone Digital gave me a great idea for a quick and easy coin counting game that she calls Coin Toss!

Today, as we did our introductory Envisions lesson on coins, there was a game included, but I quickly decided that Teacher Gone Digital's game would work much better for me to see exactly what my kids know at this point. So, I explained it to them and we had a blast! My students already know how to play addition top-it (from Everyday Math) and we play that often, so I named the game "Coin Top-It."

Students were put into pairs and each pair got a cup of coins. I had put them in boy/girl pairs (just happened to work out perfectly!)  

They dumped the coins out on the floor between them.


I told them all of the girls were heads and the boys were tails. So, they started sorting their coins however they landed on the floor.

Then, they each counted "their" coins (heads or tails). I had to remind them to not just COUNT the coins, but to actually count up how much money. One could have more COINS, but it could be worth less money. So, the "top-it" part comes into play when they are motivated to count their coins and check each other to determine who "tops" the other/has more money. Then, they just put all of the coins back in the cup and start again. EASY!

I had to work with one student because of the odd number. After working with him for a bit, I started "trading him out" with other partners, so that I could get some quick one-on-one time with students and counting money. Each student that I taught some tricks to, I told them to go back and teach their partner that trick, since I couldn't get to everyone. They loved it!

I showed them how to sort their pile of coins, then start with the quarters, then count up by tens or fives, etc.

This worked out really well and I'm glad we did this instead of the game that was planned today (straight from the book). I love when last minute decisions work out so well. This will definitely be a game that we play many more times!!! Thank you again to Teacher Gone Digital! Check out her blog!

What a fun Math Monday for us!


Apr 6, 2014

Fifty States..Please Review!

I've been wanting to try creating nonfiction passages for awhile. I have a list of different topics that I'd like to create for my classroom in my notebook that I keep for school ideas. I've decided to try a unit of nonfiction passages of all fifty states. I think my students would enjoy learning about this in our small groups when we are working on comprehension skills. They are really into learning about animals and I'm trying to get them interested and learning about some other things. Another idea I have is famous/historical people, maybe? I am just trying to think of things that I know my students need to learn about, and I know there have to be others out there that could possibly benefit from this too.

Well, I've never done this with one of my projects before, but I'm going to ask your opinion. What do you think? Useful? Too easy? Too difficult? I'm planning to try out the passages that I've completed so far with my students when I return from Spring Break. I hope I can then add to this post with some more feedback and pictures. But for now, I'm going to add the pictures of my work so far for your review!!

The first page is the actual passage and facts.  The second is the first option for the teacher for comprehension questions with the RAPP model (I use this in my classroom, hoping for a blog post about this soon!). The third picture is for the second option for the teacher to use (without the RAPP model, in case you use something different and don't want to confuse them with the RAPP.)