Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hidden Treasure Tuesday #2

It is time for another edition of "Hidden Treasure Tuesday"! 

For those of you who missed the explanation, feel free to visit my explanation post here. And don't forget to snag the first "hidden treasure" while you are there ;)!

This week, I am bringing you an oldie but goodie management tool that I used during my Daily 5 stations last year to assist my students in solving problems independently and thus avoid interruptions during my time with groups!

This anchor chart is one that I had hanging up all year above my guided reading table for my students' to reference. (I promise I will break it down in English as well!)

The chart outlines the variety of ways that I had presented to my students at the beginning of the year as to how to solve a problem on their own without wasting their or my precious learning time!

The chart is titled "What can I do if there is a problem during centers?"
The question directly below is "Is it an emergency?"
This is the first question my students had to ask themselves in working to solve the problem. 
If so, (blood, flood, vomit, ya know the works) then they would follow the red "¡Si!" step and find the teacher immediately.

If the child answers "No", then green means go and they must work to follow one of the following other suggestions on the poster to solve the problem without interrupting my group session.

1. "Pregunta a tres, y a la maestra después./Ask three before me.":
I encouraged my students to utilize one another as resources. Generally, if they had a question about a center activity, how to operate something, spell a word, etc. there was a peer that could help them as well as or sometimes even better than I could!

Fonts/Graphics: Scrappin Doodles, Print Candee, Kevin & Amanda

I had this poster hanging on my board throughout the year as well, as this was a strategy I did not only use for centers, but throughout the entire day. I really wanted them to use one another as resources! You can grab it for free in Spanish (as shown) or English too by clicking on the image!

2. "Escribo mi problema en una nota adhesiva,/I write my problem on a Post-It note.":
I had a pad of Post-It notes readily available on my desk all school year. I told the students that if there was a problem that they would like me to resolve that was not an emergency (something broke, iPod died, ran out of paper, etc.) that they could jot me a quick note, and I would then see it at my nearest convenience and work to resolve it as soon as possible. This worked really well as it not only let them feel that they were getting the information to me, but also the Post-Its served as a constant reminder that something needed to get done or resolved and I kept them sticking there until it was done. I find that if the students just tell me something throughout the day I may forget, so the Post-its are a great visual tool!

3. "Uso mi 'voz de grande'. Use my 'Big Voice'.":
The "Big Voice" is a concept I gleaned from "Conscious Discipline". It is a strategy for helping students to solve problems with their peers in an efficient manner as well as independently without always having to seek out teacher assistance. At the beginning of each school year, I read the text "Shubert's Big Voice" which teaches the students how to use this "Big Voice". More or less the idea is that the student shares with another what it is they have a problem with by stating "I don't like it when you...." and then go on to share what they would like the outcome to be. For example, "I don't like it when you talk loudly during our station time with friends, please use your quiet voice so that I can concentrate on my work". The other child should then respond with an acknowledgement of what the peer is stating and stop the problem behavior. We role play this a ton at the beginning of the year, after the reading the text to prep them for using it on their own!

4. "Voy a mi próximo centro./I go to my next center."
The premise of this idea is basically just that at times, particularly with technology in the mix, things might not always work and we must be flexible. If there weren't enough computers for some reason or an iPod died, etc. my students knew that they could just go ahead and head to the next station to begin working and that they would make it back there in the next round when there were sufficient materials/items were working again. This in no way gave them the opportunity to skip around centers as they pleased, but the okay to move ahead if need be so that learning was still being done :)!

What are some tricks of the trade that you have in place to minimize interruptions and increase student independence during your station time? I always appreciate adding ideas to my bank!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing! I tried to download it, but I had a message pop-up that said the file was unavailable or I lacked access to the file. If you happen to repost can you change pregunta to pregúntale. ¡Gracias!

    1. Thank you for letting me know. It worked earlier when I checked it, but I came up with the same message you described when I just tried again. It should be fixed now, but let me know if not and I would be happy to send it your way! Also, thanks for the suggestion for tweaking/enhancing it a bit! Not being a native speaker sometimes I need and appreciate others input! Hope this helps!