Over the last two years, I’ve spent time exploring variations on the established blended learning models. In this post, I want to share three different ways teachers can shake up the traditional approach to the Station Rotation Model. This model does exactly what its name suggests. Students rotate through various stations in the classroom with at least one station being an online station. If teachers have ample access to technology, they can design multiple stations that incorporate technology.
Stations can be composed of a variety of activities (including, but not limited to):
- Teacher-led small group instruction
- Collaborative small group work
- Makerspace station
- Computer time with adaptive software
- Project-based learning time
- Online research
- Design and create (presentations, infographics, storybooks, etc.) with web tools
- Individual work or one-on-one tutoring with the teacher
Given the limitless options for creating stations, I’ve played around with different approaches to the Station Rotation Model: Free Form Station Rotation, One Stop Differentiated Stations and Inspiration Stations.
#1 Free-Form Station Rotation
This spin on the Station Rotation Model encourages students to move through stations at their own pace. I break the class into groups and each group starts at a specific station. The number of stations will depend on how much time you have and how long you think each task will take students to complete. I typically design 3-4 stations for a 90 minute block period. Then as individual students complete a task, they physically move to the next station. This gives students the opportunity to control the pace at which they move through stations and activities. It also allows students a degree of freedom in terms of their movement around the classroom, which they appreciate. For more on Free Form Station Rotation, check out my blog “Free-Form Station Rotation Lesson.”
#2 One Stop Differentiated Station Rotation
The One Stop Differentiated Station Rotation doesn’t actually require students to rotate around the room to various stations. Instead, there are multiple stations designed to challenge students at different skill levels. I typically design a One Stop Differentiated Station Rotation Lesson if we are focusing on a skill, like reading or writing, where there is a large degree of variation in the skills or abilities in a single class. I design tasks that target that skill at each station, but the degree of challenge is different. For example, if students are working on annotating and analyzing a text, I’ll pull an article from Newsela or Smithsonian Tween Tribune that is written at different Lexile levels and I design different tasks for each group. For more on One Stop Differentiated Station Rotation, check out my blog “One Stop Differentiated Station Rotation.”
#3 Inspiration Stations
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.”
It’s important to remember that the established blended learning models are just a starting place. Teachers should feel empowered to adapt, adjust and play with these models to make sure they work for their students!