This year, I’ve focused on using the Station Rotation Model to:
- create smaller learning communities within our larger class
- spend more time working in small groups with students
- more effectively differentiate instruction
- make the most of our limited technology
Most of the time our Station Rotation lessons are focused on academic topics, but last month I experimented with a new spin on the Station Rotation Model that I called Inspiration Stations. I explained to my students that the goal of these stations was to have fun and stretch our minds creatively. I’m a big believer in the power of play to inspire, recharge and ignite both curiosity and creativity. Unfortunately, it’s rare to see students engage in play at school after they’ve left elementary school, but secondary students need this time too.
Instead of designing academic tasks to be completed in each station, I designed creative tasks with very loose guidelines. One group composed and recorded a song while another station was focused on building a 3D art project. One group decided to write a proposal for a student-designed Donors Choose project. The fourth station was a “you choose” station. Students were able to select the station or stations they wanted to visit. Some students stayed in a single station while others hit two stations. In that way, it had elements of the Free Form Station Rotation.
The beauty of Inspiration Stations is that it gives students choice. Not every child enjoys the same type of creative activity, so the various stations allow them to select a creative task that appeals to their interests.
For teachers who wonder…”What is the value of this lesson?” I’d encourage you to spend some time investigating the value of creative play. I love how the Inspiration Foundation puts it. They say, “Creative Play begins with inspiration and culminates in the sharing of an original artifact made by the child using whatever tools and materials are available. In this process, kids open up their minds to what’s possible, take chances, solve problems, collaborate and become better creative thinkers and doers. These are the critical ‘ 21st-century skills’ the whole world is talking about.”
The more I use the Station Rotation Model, the more I find I am drawn to variations on it. I believe those variations keep it interesting for my students!
This sounds great. Were the students able make the projects about whatever they want or were they given topics?
I design tasks for three stations, but I try to leave one station totally open as a “you choose” station.
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I would love to see this adapted and used in my elementary school! I totally agree that play is so important in learning. Thank you for your ideas!
Absolutely! We need to keep PLAY in the classroom at all levels. Learning should be enjoyable.
[…] Unlike most of our Station Rotation lessons, which are highly academic, Inspiration Stations are entirely creative. I design a variety of creative stations that incorporate music, art, photography, creative writing, etc. and allow students to select the station or stations they are most drawn to. The purpose is to build time into our class that encourages students to be creative and allows them the opportunity to decide how to express their creativity. It values creative play as an important part of learning. For more on Inspiration Stations, check out my blog “Inspiration Stations: A Creative Spin on the Station Rotation.” […]
I am really drawn to your twist of incorporating Inspiration Stations within a rotational model. I am curious as to the frequency of which you plan these types of stations- on average, what percentage of the time your students are with you are the inspiration stations part of the schedule? What does the timeline look like for project completion (time management for both facilitator of different projects and for students with big ideas always presents unique challenges, in my experience ; )
Typically, I do inspiration stations once a semester. It usually runs the length of a 90-minute block and kids select one station to complete. They tend to be creative but not full blown PBL.
Do you have a blended learning book for grades 1 & 2?
Where may I get one? Thanks
I don’t have a book that targets that age group. My newest book Blended Learning in Action is not age specific and presents the various models.
I love the thought of adding an Inspiration Station. This year I have been facilitating a book club with my English-11 students. I designed a Unit on Resiliency, to hone on one of the story’s major themes. We have done many creative tasks, trying to connect what resiliency is on a personal level. It has been difficult to manage after reading and whole group instruction. This is something I will definitely implement in my next book club.