5 Minute Stations

I love learning stations.


I started calling them stations after reading The Daily 5 years ago when I taught second grade.  The authors suggested that kids see "centers" as that playtime they had in Kindergarten.  (Even though you and I know that "play" time is hugely important developmentally, kids do not, so they just see it as a fun playtime.)  This quote caused a complete thought overhaul for me.  I had to take a hard look at what I was planning for my students while I met with guided reading groups.  It was time to ditch centers and start learning stations.
Anyway, this year I am teaching 30 minute small reading groups with 1st-4th graders.  And I miss my stations.  The other day, we had five extra minutes at the end of my 1st grade group, so I pulled out a few things they could work on independently for those last few minutes.  And remembered exactly how much I love this type of learning.
No time for literacy stations in your classroom or intervention lessons?  Here's how you can squeeze it in even if you only have 5 minutes.

I want it back.  I love the learning that happens with me supporting from the sidelines instead of directing all of the traffic.  Of course, I need to be the leader of these groups, but student lead learning has value, and there needs to be time for it.  Also, there is nothing like working one on one with a kid to get a really good feeling for what's going on.  This gives me a good opportunity to do that.

About 12 seconds into this little time, and I was scheming to figure out a way to make it happen everyday.  An extended time is out, but I can for sure make 5 minutes a group happen with my first grade friends.  The only rule is that is has to be meaningful for them and fast for me.  I have a ton of different groups to prep for, so spending lots of prep time for 5 minutes is not going to happen.

Here's the plan:


I bring my iPad to school with me everyday already.  I recently got these Touchtronic letters that are PHENOMENAL.  You can read about them here.  I also have some other apps that would work well, too, like


I have these fluency stories from the amazing Stephanie at Falling Into First as well as these Fry phrases strips from Shauna’s Shop.  The kids are familiar with these, and they're all ready out and easy to grab.

Short Vowel Review

I love this Short Vowel bundle from Jodi Southard.  It is awesome.  The kids are familiar with it because we often use something from it to review, and they love it.

Familiar Reading

It usually takes me a few weeks to get sets back to the book room. (I know. Don't throw any stones at me.)  I'll leave a few out.

That's it.  If I was in a regular classroom setting, I would include more just from a logistics stand point.  When you have 22 friends, you need to Spread the People Out.  But I have small groups, it's five minutes, and this is perfect.

Am I saying you should cut your stations down to 5 minutes in a regular classroom setting?  No way.  But if you’re having trouble fitting them in, start thinking creatively.  This type of learn is so important for students, and the opportunities it provides you as the teacher to get a peek into how they work independently is vital.

Anybody else already scheming to make next year even better?

March Favorites

Hey! Hey! I've been so happy March finally arrived.  I am not a winter gal.  I can't take the cold.  Did I mention I live in Houston?  I'm that much of a winter wimp.
There are few things I've been loving this past month:

These Shoreline Converse.
I was very skeptical when a friend swore up and down that these were comfortable.  I had visions of bloody heels and me limping through the hallway at school cursing her.  But they were cute, and we were in Nordstrom, and I am weak.  And I loooooove them.  This picture looks like they're super pulled in but they must have had a box on top of this particular shoe for a week.  They have a tiny bit of elastic in the back, so they give instead of cutting into the back of your heels.
This hot wings recipe from Lexi's Clean Kitchen.
I am like a freaking super hero in my house with this recipe.  AND it's clean.  Whole30 compliant here.  No additives, junk, sugar, preservatives, etc, etc in this recipes.  You're welcome.  So when you family gorges and over eats these things, it will still be healthy.
The Hill Country Hyatt.  My husband had to go to a work thingy in San Antonio, and I tagged along.  He worked.  I relaxed and supported the local economy because I am a good person.  This hotel is beautiful and relaxing and just stinking charming.
If you follow me on Instagram, I spammed you with pictures of it.
I got an iPhone 6 Plus.  Yep.  I did it.  I got the mega iPhone.
And I have zero point zero regrets about this.  Why didn't I do this sooner?  Plus I got a super snazzy case for as you can see in my World Market iPhone selfie.
My Kikki K planner.
I'll be writing a whole planner tour post and share how this planner is saving my life right now.  Roll your eyes non planner people.  My planner people plans will be drooling over this beauty.

Hope you had a great March! So glad April and warmer temperatures are finally here!