Station Rotation Model: Student Designed & Led Stations

One of the benefits of the Station Rotation Model is how easy it is to design activities at different levels to meet the diverse needs of a group of students. I spend a lot of time tailoring activities to support students who need additional scaffolds, but it’s important to challenge the strong students in our classrooms as well. 

One strategy I use to capitalize on my students’ strengths is to have them design and lead stations. I have some students who are extremely strong readers or gifted writers and other students who are incredibly tech savvy. These students are valuable resources in the class community, so I will ask them to design and run a station to share their expertise with their peers. I try not to overburden my strong students, but I do want to challenge them to think about how they can present concepts and engage their peers to help support the class in developing particular skills.

Even though some of my students have strong skills, they do not necessarily know how to design a dynamic lesson or activity, so I’ve created the template above to support them as they think about how to construct their lessons.

Students have a week to lesson plan and during that time, we collaborate on their Station Rotation Lesson Design document. This gives me a chance to provide them with support and feedback as well as connect them with resources that will help them to improve their lessons.

Letting strong students lead the learning and challenging them to design lessons that are interesting, engaging, and effective is a fantastic way to empower them. I’m consistently impressed by the creativity and commitment my students put into these lessons. They know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a poorly designed lesson, and they want their lessons to be fun for their peers!

They do need support during the design process, which is why having a template is helpful. The lesson design document can then be shared with the students moving through the station and serve as a resource during the station. This creates a clear path for the learning.

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15 Responses to Station Rotation Model: Student Designed & Led Stations

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  3. Myriam says:

    Excellent idea. I’m totally on board. But, how do you scaffold the process of lesson planning for them. How do you ensure that they’re not just practicing a skill and that there is conceptual understanding of the topic. Do you get them to also create a rubric on specific success criteria. I really like that this is an inquiry based approach but I’m sure there is more to this than the article delves into.

    • Hi Myriam,

      Most of the scaffolding around their ability to plan a dynamic lesson comes in the form of our back and forth on their lesson plan document. Students lead stations around a topic or skill I’ve already introduced in a flipped video or the teacher-led station. I have not had them create a rubric with specific criteria for success, but that’s a great suggestion. I have students assess the quality of the student designed and led station using a Google form and then share that feedback with the lead student.


  4. JP says:

    I would be very interested to know how students were brought to this point? I would find it so helpful if we were privy to the processes used to get students to this place where they were invested and could complete a meaningful station for peers.

  5. Catherine Mergen says:

    Love the challenge for stronger students but what do you do with the others while the lessons are being designed? Are they teamed with a designer for collaboration so they have some input? Suggestions?

    • Catherine,

      Students typically design their stations during “My time” or at home. They are teamed up with me on a shared document, so they receive feedback on their lessons as they work on designing them.


  6. Myriam says:

    cool ! I am going to try to adapt this to my fifth grade class. THanks for sharing.

  7. Catherine Mergen says:

    Thanks for your reply! So, the lesson design is in addition to classroom work — do you think this is too heavy a burden? And do you think that it might be appropriate for other students to collaborate with the designers? Then each team could present to the whole class, with the hoped-for result being a chapter coverage, possibly more than one, as part of classroom work. All learners would participate, and no one would be “left out” or made to feel “less than”. At the same time, gifted learners would still have final creative “say-so” and be able to learn how to be leaders, which they undoubtedly will be in their adult lives.

    • Hi Catherine,

      Our honors students are embedded into the class, so it’s my responsibility to challenge them and place them in leadership roles. Although some of the planning definitely takes place outside of class, I don’t design homework assignments for students. If they don’t finish something we work on in class, then it’s their job to complete it at home. Or if they need more practice, then they can do that at home. I’ve tried to move away from creating additional assignments for homework.

      I do like your strategy of teaming them up to co-teach a station. If you are worried about overburdening your kids, that sounds like a fantastic approach!


  8. Michelle Stover says:


    I attended one of your presentations on the Station Rotation model and how to implement it in the classroom. My students and teachers love using Station Rotation! Thank you for sharing your work. I have a quick question about Study Sync and Schoology. You mentioned that you use both programs in your blended learning classroom. What is the benefit of digital portion of Study Sync when you have an online LMS through Schoology? Would you recommend using both resources together? If you do, in what ways do you use them together?

    Have a wonderful day,

    Michelle Stover

    • Hi Michelle,

      StudySync and Schoology are both awesome! I use Schoology for asynchronous online discussions and timed online exams. StudySync has a digital library with hundreds of texts, dynamic lessons aligned to the standards, reading comprehension questions, vocabulary lessons, blasts, etc. It’s the best ELA resource I’ve ever used!

      I’d definitely recommend using them together! They have different strengths and complement each other really well.

      Let me know if you have any additional questions!


  9. Suzy Lolley says:

    This is one of my favorite posts from you:) I love the illustrations, the practicality of the students facing away from the teacher, and the idea for student-led stations. Thanks for continuing to inspire this former-English-turned-tech teacher:)

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