I have spent the past 2 days at one of Debbie's conferences. She comes here every summer. I went a few years back, but wanted to get her take on the new math workstation book she published last year. She was also supposed to talk about adding rigor to workstations--you know I love rigor!!!!! :)
I know many people have jumped on the Daily 5 bandwagon in lieu of stations, and I've read the books and I can see how it could be effective, especially in primary/intermediate grades. But I struggle with how to effectively implement it in early childhood. Last year for example, I had one student out of 25 who started the year being able to read any words at all. Only about 40% of them knew their letters and sounds. I know they can do "read to self" and "read with a partner" by retelling, picture walks, etc. But I just find being able to move around to various workstations, getting that practice in all areas of reading, is a much more effective use of time in our class.
I learned some new tips and got reminded of some things I knew I should be doing, but somehow there just aren't enough hours in a day. One of my favorite math activities was having a pic of someone the kids relate to like *sigh* Justin Beiber and having them count colored unifix cubes for vowels and consonants. So Justin Beiber would equal 5 red and 7 blue-how many letters altogether--to practice math facts.
I love her spunk. She was even talking to the administrators in the room like she says she did when she was in the classroom--everything has be what's best for the students. If your administrators tell you to have your stations set up the 1st week-tell them to come do it for you-they'll see that's just not an effective plan. If you are required to use a basal reader, that's fine, but supplement with literature and poetry and all the things you know are important for your kiddos.
Even though it was how I spent my first official days of summer vacation (take that people who say we teach for our summers off!)--I was glad I attended. I'm inspired now to get organized!