From time to time, I get questions about how I manage my station, let's see if I can answer some of them.
Disclaimer: I am still taking photos with my iPhone. My good camera is in the camera hospital.
How do you manage where your students will go?
This is my work board. It hangs on the wall. One side has my literacy stations, the other side has math stations. I simply flip it over. (Do you see the awesome gourds one of my students brought in?)
I have 2 students to a station... but sometimes I have students work alone. Usually my lone rangers are because they have had trouble working cooperatively. This is usually my version of a partner "time out." I try to keep this time out temporary. My experience has taught me that 3 is a crowd. I know other teachers have better luck with larger groups, but I prefer 2 to a station.
Students work at their "blue station" for about 15-20 minutes. We regroup at the close of the blue station. Then the students work in their yellow station. I do not have them go directly from the blue to the yellow without meeting at the carpet first. This gives my students time to problem solve (AKA: tattle) and verbalize what type of learning took place at their station. By the end of the day my students have completed 2 literacy stations and 2 math stations. You can find the FREE station cards here.
You might notice that my literacy stations have a little picture (ie scarecrow), this is how I call my reading groups.
When the day is over, I move the cards down (the student photos do not move). This takes me literally 1 minute to do. If I pull students for a small group during that station activity, they just miss that station activity. I used to try to schedule it all... Goodness! I do not have that type of brainpower. Their most powerful learning is with me, so I do not stress about it anymore... plus, they love coming to my table so their rarely complain.
Whoa! You have so many stations! How do you teach them all of them each week?
I don't! I keep the stations predictable. Once I have taught my students the activities, then I just need to replace the materials they use in that station. My students have been working at the writing station and the stamping station for WEEKS. I do not need to teach them what to do there. We have been doing roll and trace (write) activities as well. No explanation needed.
1 & 2 Writing Work Station
4 Roll and write activities (just bump it up with a variety of dice)
How do they remember what to do at that station?
I provide "I Can..." charts. Here is my vision of "Classroom Utopia".. I want students who can look at the materials and with confident independence, decipher the task. I do not want to be the person that spoon-feeds their learning. When they ask me what to do at a station, I just say, "What do you think you do?" 9 times out of 10 they can tell me. Why would I want to enable dependence? They can do it, if you give them the opportunity to problem solve. These are from my Fun for Fall Stations.
How do you get them to work the whole time?
Make it engaging... and keep it within their zone of proximal development. They were FREAKING OUT with these spider rings! The BEST $1 spent at Wal-Mart EVER!
1 & 2 Fun for Fall
How do you keep them accountable to the work?
This will be a two-part answer.
First I expect them to do the work. "No monkey business" is my mantra.
Here is how I handle the stations that have paper response pages.
1. When the students complete their station, they put their papers in the black magazine bins. The shapes on the bins correspond to their table shape.
2 & 3 Several times a week, I have the students take the bins and sort the papers, so their papers are on their desk. If there are no names, the papers go in the recycling...THE END! No Name = No Reward
4. Then I walk around and "grade" their work. If a solid effort was made, they get a smile on their paper and a punch on their card. 5 punches=Jolly Rancher. All of the stars punched = treasure box.
You can get the Star Punch Card in my Facebook Fan Freebie Folder.
How do you get them to do quality work?
I provide exemplars.
1. I have this chart posted in my classroom. Students refer to it all the time. I can also direct students to look at the chart if I notice their work does not appear to be done to the best of their ability.
2. Under the chart I have student examples. They work hard to make the wall!
Want to see what my stations are this week? Click here.
Want to get your own lesson plan template? Click here. The lesson plan template is in my Facebook Fan Freebie File. It will be in Power Point and you will need to download it and add your own fonts.
WHEW! I think that should answer the bulk of the questions I get.
What did I forget?
I can add to this post!