Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Teacher Tip Tuesday: Literacy Station Organization

I've gotten many questions lately about how I run my literacy stations. It's hard to describe without you actually seeing it but I'm going to try my best. In the fall, I posted about my OWLS board.
Click here to get these labels for free.
I use this to keep my rotations on track. I covered up the frame where the kids' names go but they know what they are supposed to be doing each time the bell rings. On this board, the rotations say seat work but I have it as centers now. I used seat work in the fall before I had the centers under control. Each rotation is about 15 minutes long.

I set all my centers in flexible plastic bins that I got from Hobby Lobby last year. I love that they are flexible and they don't break when the kids drop them. I used to use plastic book bins but they were always getting broken.

 If you can tell from the picture, I have the centers numbered and labeled on the shelf. For some reason that I can't quite figure out, the kids can't seem to put 4 of them on a shelf. They seem to love putting them all on the same shelf and it drives me crazy! The labels make my life easier.

 I am addicted to Post-It notes and the label roll is amazing. If you mess up on an anchor chart, just use it to cover up the mistake. It's great for labeling things quickly and easily.
 The baskets are organized in a certain way but they really don't look like this at the end of the month.
 Inside the basket, they have an instruction sheet, recording sheets, and the sorting cards.
These centers are from my April Adventures center pack.
Click here to see it on TPT.

I found these vinyl envelopes at Office Depot and they are working great for centers. They hold the larger cards and the smaller cards. I was having a hard time with Ziploc bags because they would get thrown away when they were in the floor or all the cards wouldn't fit in the bags. This is my solution..so far, so good.

Each child has a center folder where they keep their recording sheets and center checklist.

Okay, back to the Post-it products, these Post-it pockets are awesome! You can move them around and they hold multiple sheets of paper. I have their center checklists for the month in here so they just grab one at the beginning of the month.

I have my centers last an entire month mostly because I'm too lazy to change them all the time. Also, they only have one rotation (about 15 minutes) to do them each day for four days a week. I started the year with just 10 centers but I have moved up to 12. I changed the number because some of my high kids were getting finished with them too early.

So I think that's about it. I like to see photos of how others organize things so I hope this has helped you. Please comment with any questions you might have.

In other news, I made this chicken broccoli braid after spin class tonight.
It was so good!  It kinda tastes like broccoli casserole in a pocket. 
I can't find my original recipe on Pinterest so I've linked a similar one.
I just didn't use mushrooms and swiss cheese. I used shredded cheddar cheese instead.

Click here to see a similar recipe on Pinterest.

Have a good night!


  1. Loved seeing the setup of your centers! I like your visual board. I've changed my method a few times every year and am thinking about changing it up again. This group has started messing around with my clip system so now I can't trust them:)

  2. Too funny! I am working on a post right now about managing my literacy work stations. :) I love to see how other people organize things too. I am such a visual person.
    Diving Into 2nd Grade

  3. I love to see how other teachers set up their centers. I am always changing mine each year or through out the year. I can't find one that works with me. I'm going to give yours a try.
    Your chicken broccoli braid looks yummy!!

    The Busy Busy Hive

  4. Thanks for the great ideas! Is there anyway we can see what your monthly center checklist looks like? I love using a checklist to keep them accountable. Thanks! tjulch@mpsomaha.org

  5. Thanks for the great ideas! Is there anyway we can see what your monthly center checklist looks like? I love using a checklist to keep them accountable. Thanks! tjulch@mpsomaha.org

  6. Thank you for sharing your great ideas! I love your centers board. This year I've been trying out reader's workshop with no centers. I like it ok, but I wish we had more time for centers. You can check out my RW board here: http://carrberrycreations.blogspot.com/2013/02/snowed-in-and-stir-crazy.html

  7. Is only one student at a center at a time or do you have multiple sets of the center in the basket?

    1. Each center is only one at a time. I have 4 groups going at once with one group meeting with me, one group reading, one group writing in their journals, and the last group doing centers. There are multiple recording sheets in each center to last for the month but they work on the centers on their own. There are 12 total centers and from 3-6 kids in a group.

  8. Hi Courtney, thanks for the great tips!! I'm a new teacher and I've been trying to implement Daily 5 as well. A couple of questions: 1. What do you have them write about during "work on writing"? - do you check it? - when and how?; do you have them respond to their reading during "read to self" or do they just read?; 3. when they are at centers I assume they choose what center to go to and keep track with the checklist?; 4. when they meet with you what do you work on? Thanks so much for your posts, they are very helpful to us new teachers!!


Thanks for commenting! Have a blessed day!