Students At Work: Problem and Solution Literacy Workstations

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SWBAT apply knowledge of previously learned 5th grade reading standards and text structures in a small group setting.

Big Idea

Structures abound! Practice your skills in various stations today to really let this structure stuff sink in.

Introduction and Expectations

10 minutes

See my first workstation lesson for complete details.

Students will rotate through 3 stations today for 15 minutes at a time. Today, students will work on RL5.5 for text structures. The stations I included today are based upon needs in my classroom. You may change out any station for something that works better for your students this year. Today I am going to meet with my students as one of the stations to continue working on identifying clue words and characteristics of text structures. 

For this round of workstations, I am creating my groups based on overall reading performance in my classroom. I try for 3 even groups of ten, so if I have some students that excel, but can be inconsistent, I'll place them in my average group. If I have some students who struggle, but can be pushed, I place them in my average group as well. I currently have 10 RTI students in my classroom, so my grouping is actually pretty easy when I do it this way.

To start off, I always show students the rotation chart. I use the SMART board to do this so the groups can be moved easily, but you might use pocket charts, writing on the white board, etc.  It's also really important to go over expectations and procedures EVERY DAY. The kids love working solo, but they also love to find time to get off-task, so I try to be proactive with my stations so we can get more bang for our buck. 


45 minutes


Reader's Theater: Tell students to break into two groups of 4 or 5. Students will read aloud from the Problem and Solution Reader's Theater script I found on this site. I also have them record themselves reading using vocaroo internet voice recorder, a tape recorder, or the Sound recorder on the windows computer systems. I have one group use a tape recorder and the other uses a microphone on the computer. That way we make the most of large groups and limited time. There are probably others that you may have access to as well. To complete the station, students will listen to themselves and complete a student fluency self eval for themselves and turn it in to me.

Teacher Station: Today I plan to use this main-idea-and-text-structure activity in a few different ways with each of my groups. 

  • Advanced Group- Students will be reading a few passages and determining the main idea and text structure of each. Students will work on this with group members and I will serve as facilitator to guide discussion. 

           While reading today, I'd like you to discuss what you think the main idea is. Underline that in green, please. Then determine the text structure using those key words we've been discussing. Use your notebooks when necessary. Please color code as we have practiced. You'll show me this structure by placing the information in a graphic organizer that best represents that information. Then you'll come up with a title for each passage. I'm hear to answer questions you may have, but I want you to use each other to have discussions about possible ideas. 

  • On-Level Group- Students will work with the main idea and text structure activity as well, but I will help to guide them through the process. We will be color coding the main idea as we find it and then color coding to find clue words to help us identify the text structure. I will start students off and then give them some freedom to try this with partners in the group. We'll review findings, misconceptions, etc at the end of the rotation. Most likely, we will not get through all of these. I want to pay special attention to key words and creating graphic organizers for display the information based on the text structure. 
  • Inconsistent Group- This group needs some work in main idea, and although I will be teaching a lesson on it soon, I wanted to "accelerate" their learning a little bit. We will also work together on the main idea and structure activity, but I will be giving them explicit instruction on main idea. 

What do you remember about main idea? This should be the main topic of the paragraph. We'll first read today to think about what the whole paragraph is telling us. We will combine parts 1 and 3 to work with the main idea today. Why is creating a title related to finding the main idea? 

From here, we'll move through the fourth paragraph together. I picked this one to dofirst because it's descriptive. We won't get through all of these, so I wanted to start withsomething they'd feel comfortable with before moving into more difficult structures. I'llread some aloud just to model my thinking and call attention to the information thatstands out that helps me understand the main idea. Many times with these students Ihave to circle words or concepts that are repeated often to help them see the overallidea of the text. This group may need some of that, but I'll gauge how much as I startworking with them. This small bit of time is to be used as you think your students bestneed it. 

Structure Station: Students will work in teams of two at computers to read through the comparing structures information on this online textbook. Here's a quick overview. If you don't have access to the computers, the information is pretty easy to print from the internet. I like the internet version better because it let's the students scroll over words for highlighting and has other interactive features. The practice is nice too because it downloads in an editable pdf for me at school, so I can have the kids type right on it and save it in our class file if I want to use it that way. You can also print some of the practice for them to complete after reading. I am going to have my students read and interact with the online textbook, complete a practice page and save it for me.  

When the rotations are over, open the class to a discussion about how the workstations went. Ask students to reflect on their behavior and focus during the stations, how they worked with peers, etc. Lead students in thinking about what they might do differently next time and discuss ways that you could improve stations in the future. I'd also like for my kids to complete a 3-2-1  organizer to show what they got out of today and anything they still have questions about.