One of my favorite things about teaching 1st grade was how full of stations my days were. I loved seeing my kiddos engaged in fun activities and sitting in comfy spots around the room, while I got to hang out with a handful of friends at my “Teacher Table”. However, what was fun for me could easily be a substitute teacher’s nightmare. With the encouragement of small group instruction and the addition of intervention during the day, our substitutes have an even bigger job on their hands when it comes to behavior management. This also makes a teacher’s planning more stressful when they need to be out. To help ease the stress on both ends, I’ve created monthly substitute/review stations.
Each Sub/Review Station set includes 4 Math stations, 3 Phonics stations, and 3 Grammar/Writing stations. All of the skills covered in these stations match up with the skills covered in that month’s Sub Pack. For example, if the February Sub Pack for 1st grade includes ordering numbers from least to greatest, the stations pack will include one or more stations for that skill as well. This makes it easy to leave both of your packs for a substitute and not have to worry about hunting for matching stations.
Station activities vary from “Scoot” to matching and sorting. This allows you to decide if you’re comfortable having your students roam the room while you’re out, or to find a cozy spot and work with a partner.
How Are They Used?
Sub/Review stations have several great uses! One is for leaving them with your substitute. This way you don’t have to worry about your little kiddos sitting at their desks all day working on worksheets and not getting a chance to let their wiggles out. Simply keep your sub stations in the same container as your sub pack for that month, as well as instructions for the day!
Another way to use these stations is in Guided Reading, Intervention, or small groups. All of the stations work just as well with a group of 4-6 kiddos as they do for pairs. They also help students feel like they’re getting to have fun in their small group instead of doing “extra practice” on something they haven’t yet mastered. This made “Teacher Table” an exciting time for them!
A final use for my Sub/Review stations is for keeping them in their respective stations all month long. When I first began to use stations, I insisted on having new stations that covered our current skills each week. Not only did this make preparation exhausting for me, it discouraged my students who were not on level. When they came to stations with skills they struggled in they got very frustrated. This led to a decrease in on-task behavior, and an increase in interruptions while I was teaching my small groups. Having several review stations (in addition to current skills) helped my struggling students feel encouraged and independent during their station time.
Check Them Out!
If you are interested in checking out my monthly Sub/Review Stations, click on your grade level’s picture to head over to my TeachersPayTeachers store! I hope they make your small group time less stressful, both while you’re at school and away!