This is my 3rd year in an elementary library. Last year, I started experimenting with stations trying to get a feel for the ebb and flow of what would work, movement, and implementation.
This year, I’ve focused on organizational issues. Do I just have random stations around the room? How do the kids know which ones are good for their grade levels? It was really important to me that most of the stations were academic in nature, but I did see value in having some that were there just for fun. And I felt like I had to start before I got a full handle on things while beginning of the year excitement was high. There have been times I thought my head would explode.
Luckily, it didn’t.
I divided the stations I had into three age levels – K – 1st, 2nd -3rd, and 4th & 5th. I may eventually move to each grade level, but for sanity’s sake, I’m grouping.
The next area that I struggled with was major categories for stations (Zones). The categories I’ve come up with for now (this a process in flux after all) are:
- Puzzles & Games
- Pleasure Reading
- Library Helpers
- Library Skills
- Social Studies
- Technology (right now, this is just computers, but I didn’t want to limit myself when I found something new)
Obviously a few of these could be combined, and I’ve got a couple that are not used at all grade levels. But I wanted to have at least 8 for k-3 and 9 for 4-5, as well as somewhere to send someone who was having difficulty working on a team. Here’s a link to a table I’ve made to help me keep me organized. (I’ll put links on here to as many ideas as I can.) The stations listed are ones that I’ve already come up with and are either out or close to being reading to go out. I’ve got boxes in the library where I sort ideas/samples by area and level to visit again in a spare moment. Some current areas have a slim selection of items, so I’ll work on those next.
Next week, I’ll take pictures of the stations themselves. I got some this week of students working.
Addition: My friend Wendy asked a question about how we actually do the stations. I made a sign for each zone. Items in the zone are labeled with the grade levels. I color coded as much as possible.
- K-1 – Pink
- 2-3 – Orange
- 4-5 – Purple
Since this was an afterthought, I made labels for the grade-levels in the colors and just taped them on many items.
There are 8 tables in K-3 and 9 tables in 4-5. Each table has color coded card on it letting the kids know where they will go that day. After we’ve rotated through once, my plans are to let 2-5 start choosing. I’ve got a chart/grid that I’m working on so students can keep track of where they’ve been to keep the same station from being monopolized.