September 10, 2012 by Megan
Now that you’ve seen bits and pieces of what we do in stations in our class, (hint: a station can basically be any activity that you would normally do in class), all that’s left is how to organize it!
Since you won’t be leading each group, it’s important that you have something posted for your students so they know what the purpose of the station is. I have laminated signs for “reading, writing, playing, ect. but I also like to add a little piece that includes an “I can…” goal! For example, my listening station this week was watching a youtube video with the Spanish alphabet and their goal for the station was “I can spell my name in Spanish.” This was totally new, but they almost all could accomplish the task afterwards. I also try to sum up the student directions into 3 easy steps. If it takes more than that, they are going to need your help.
I also usually give them 1 paper that has 2 quick questions about each station and what they learned on it. It helps them remember the new infomation they have discovered and it’s proof that they learned something.
Next order of business, How will you set up your stations?
I like having them as distinct areas of the room. I think it helps students focus on the task more like this. I have a big room so I can do this pretty easily. Here’s how my room is set up.
Each station has the materials that might be needed right at their fingertips. I leave them there – so setting up the stations is a breeze!
Finally, How often? How long at each station? How long until they are ready to “practice”?
There is no wrong way to eat a reece’s, I mean, run stations. You have to decide what works best for you. I have 70 min classes, 10 ipads, and 31 students in each class. For me, I usually do one of these options.
Stations 2x a week (Tuesday and Thursday) for the whole class period. Monday we start something new and then they are ready to dig in on Tuesday. I don’t send them to stations after they learn something, I send them to learn something! They need no prior knowledge to complete these tasks. Their job is to learn something new – figure it out with their group and bring it back to the class on Wednesday. We start together and then I give a 1 minute run down to the whole class of what they will do in each station (even though the directions are posted there) and then I set them free! They have 10-11 minutes in each station. This also allows for a mini-break when they change stations and a few minutes to wrap things up at the end.
My other favorite is to introduce something new Monday and then teach mini-lessons the first half of class Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The second half of class those days is for stations. I plan 6 stations a week and they do 2 a day. This is nice for Spanish one, since many of the objectives don’t take a long time to teach (i.e. I can tell where I’m from). Friday ends up being a day to put what they’ve learned together (OUTPUT). We might record videos or create something hands-on.
We’ve been in school about 3 weeks and I asked students what has helped them learn the most in class so far.
While each kid liked a different activity, almost everyone mentioned something that we did in stations. I like how Diego said “It makes me use my brain” – Don’t all of his classes?!?
Hopefully that answers any questions you might have. If you missed anything important you would like to know, leave a comment below!
Please share your success if you use any ideas from any of the posts! We’d love to hear about it!