In my work as a blended learning coach, I observe a lot of teachers facilitating blended lessons. The Station Rotation Model is particularly popular because teachers do not need a device for every student to make it work. Instead, students rotate between offline and online stations.

One concern I have about this model is the way teachers design and facilitate their teacher-led station. Instead of using this station exclusively for direct instruction, I’d like to see more teachers mix it up. Below I describe five different strategies teachers can use to design their station to avoid talking the entire time. When teachers engage students at their teacher-led station, they can collect invaluable formative assessment data that can help inform future lessons.

#1 Hook the Group

Begin your station with a challenge or problem and allow pairs of students to work together to solve it. As they discuss the challenge or problem, observe them. Their conversations will provide invaluable information about what they know, what they are unsure of, and what additional instruction or practice they may need. As they work, you also have a few minutes to “take a lap” around the room to check in with the other groups and make sure they understand what they are supposed to do.

Then when you return to your group, you can ask pairs to share their process for solving the problem. You can use their explanations to drive a debrief in which you highlight strong strategies and answer questions. Finally, you can provide instruction/modeling for the group.

#2 I Do, We Do, You Do

This is a classic flow that works well at a teacher-led station. You begin with an explanation and model how to do something (e.g., solve a problem or structure a written response). Then you guide the group in another example where students chime in with their ideas. Once the group has worked through a problem or task, you can put students in pairs (random or strategic pairing) to work through another problem with peer support. Finally, students work independently to continue applying and you can circulate around the group to support individual students who may be struggling to complete the practice on their own.

In this flow, the moments when the pairs are working to solve the problem or apply the new information, you have time to take a lap and check in with other groups.

#3 Homework Check & Review

Many teachers collect homework and take piles of student work home to grade. Homework is designed to be practice, so I’ve never understood why it is graded and often becomes punitive. If teachers are assigning homework, it would be more powerful to use that practice to encourage students to reflect on their progress and identify the gaps in their understanding of concepts and skills.

If you provide students with a model, exemplar, or answer key for their homework, you can begin this station by giving them time to check their work, identify the places where they made mistakes or answered incorrectly, make the necessary corrections and capture any questions that surface for them. This can be done individually or in pairs. I often pair students up to encourage them to discuss their work and ask each other for help. While students check their work, you can take a lap around the room.

When the group is done checking their work, you can facilitate a follow up conversation addressing questions and providing additional explanation. You can then build on this homework check with the next level of instruction.

#4 Real-Time Feedback

When students are working on a process piece (e.g., argumentative essay, formal lab report, research project) that requires several steps and multiple days to complete, I encourage you to dedicate time at your teacher-led station to give students real-time feedback as they work. This approach shifts your energy into supporting the process instead of waiting to assess a finished product. It also means you don’t have to take stacks of rough drafts home to give students feedback.

Students should come to this station with a draft of one section of work completed. For example, if they are writing a formal lab report, they might bring their procedures section. If they are writing a formal essay, they might bring their introduction paragraphs. If they are working on a research project, they might bring their quotes and source citations. Then as they move onto the next section, you can hop in and out of their documents providing feedback on the section of work they’ve completed. It is helpful to keep the scope of your feedback narrow since you have limited time and encourage students to capture their questions on a post-it so they do not interrupt you as you work.

Providing feedback during the process is incredibly rewarding because students feel supported and the finished products are much stronger.

#5 Quick Assessment & Individualized Support

Begin your station with a quick quiz. I’d suggest using a quizzing tool that automatically grades the students’ answers (e.g., Socrative, Google Form in quiz mode, Schoology quiz feature). While students are working on the quiz, you can take a lap around the room to check in with the other groups.

Once you’ve collected their data, you can see exactly how each student did on the quick assessment. Some students will be ready to move onto the next challenge or level of instruction, which others will need additional support and practice.

It is important to have two assignments ready for students based on their performance on the quiz. For those students who need additional practice, you can provide them with a review activity and spend your time working with them. For students who are ready to move on, you can provide them a flipped video with additional explanation or provide them with practice that is more challenging or builds on their prior practice.

There are so many different ways to leverage the teacher-led station. I encourage teachers to think about the objectives of the lesson and which strategy will best meet those objectives. Even though it is a teacher-led, I encourage teachers to think about how they can actively engage their students at this station.

If you have another strategy you use and love at your teacher-led station, please take a moment to post a comment and share it with me!

67 Responses

      • Yes James, I do agree about implementing individualized instruction. Also, the higher students would be able to assist with the lower students as peer buddies and assistance for the teacher if students have questions before getting around.

    • This was very eye opening. I know I tend to struggle feeling I don’t have enough time to support each student individually but this is so great. I live how it breaks down each station but also shows how to use time management to its fullest. Defiantly would love to keep an example of this layout of stations.

      • I am familiar most of these strategies. “Quick Assessment & Individual Support” is new to me. I need to learn how to do this. I need to learn how to create online quizzes.

        • I agree Johnny. Yes I would love to know how to create the online quizzes as well. I was told by someone I use to work with that they create some online quizzes for their students in a goggle doc form and add a chart or something if needed, but I have not tried it yet. I did find these strategies helpful though!

      • I agree Liza. Being able to see how time is managed is a great thing for me. I have set up stations for so many things and reasons, but for some reasons, I’m never consistent with managing time unless I use the stopwatch, timer, or a time keeper that stops me immediately. I do find using these methods to be beneficial not only to me for staying on task, but more so for the students so that they have enough time to explore different stations and don’t get stuck into the same one daily. Giving them more choices/stations to work from allows them the independency James spoke of earlier with the individualized instruction. This allows the students to become self-guided. Thanks for sharing.

  1. I like the idea of immediate feedback in sample #4. I think it’s helpful if students get real-time guidance in order to maintain their flow of ideas. #5: The quick assessment and individualized support is another method I think would be effective. Giving assignments based on the quick assessment outcome greatly enhances the teacher’s ability to manage support for those who need it and freedom to progress further, for those who don’t.

    • I also like the idea of the immediate feedback. I think it is an opportunity to correct the students while the information is fresh in their heads.

      • Amy,

        Yes this is definitely true for many young students in kindergarten as well. I agree! The fresher it is in their mind, the easier the assignment and directions may seem once given. Thanks for sharing!

  2. As a grade level, we are guilty of assigning homework and taking a grade. This year we have cut back, but I am apprehensive. I know research does not support that homework improves knowledge, etc., but I am torn.
    I do like the idea of having homework in a center and letting the students check their work, have a discussion and that be their “learning”. It’s just hard to change.

    I also feel that the quick assessment and individual support would be very beneficial to my students as well as myself. I feel that sometime we feel so pressured to keep moving forward and get everything covered, we fail to make sure our students are mastering the concepts. We know they fall further and further behind, but taking time to stop and review or reteach is so important.

    I feel where I might struggle is on hook the group. I always want to jump right in and get started, but I feel that I miss getting my students excited and engaged. The hook the group will definately be something that I will be using. I feel it can only benefit the students and get them excited about whats to come.

  3. I find that students seem to have more confidence with the I do, we do, you do. They can see the process for solving and feel more at ease to do it on their own whether it’s due at the end of the period or for homework.
    I can see where a quick assessment and individual support would benefit some lessons because I can see what student already know or need to know as well as who knows or doesn’t know. Help me make the lesson more streamlined.

    • Hi Deb,

      I can understand why this approach would lead to higher levels of confidence. When the teacher begins with a clear explanation and model, students have a better sense of how to do whatever it is we are asking them to do. That said, I like to encourage a productive struggle. So often kids are immediately uncomfortable when they don’t know how to do something or feel the slightest struggle, which is why I like the first “hook the group” strategy. It encourages problem-solving, collaboration, the application of prior strategies to a new and novel problem or question.

      When I coach teachers, I encourage them to mix it up and try different strategies with kids in their teacher-led station.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on these strategies for designing your teacher-led station!


  4. The teacher-led station for a range of activities beyond direct instruction which most impressed me were the following.
    #1 Model a process, I always do better when instructions are modeled for me, so I always image the same for my students.
    #2 Provide real-time feedback, students need to know and want know who they are doing in class.
    #3 Conference with students, a meaningful conference assures students of where they are and where they need to be.

  5. I am a big fan of the I Do, We Do, You Do strategy. I feel it gives the students more confidence when they are doing the work on their own. The quick assessment is a method I would like to try. Its seems that it would be very beneficial in providing individual support to those students who need review and or retaught of those skills that wasn’t mastered.

  6. I’m a strong advocate for improving my students’ problem solving skills. While they get frustrated with me for answering their question with a question, I can witness their engagement in the activity and their sense of accomplishment when they complete the assignment or solve the problem.
    Also the I do,we do, you do station can help lessen the anxiety levels of struggling students along with strategic pairing.
    i really like the objective and purpose stated for homework. It should be practice and used as a self-check for students.

  7. The teacher has quite “a load” up front to prepare the lesson at the beginning for the rotation but it’s exciting to think of the student as reaping the rewards. From the grouping strategies to the instant results, the student has a variety of methods for lesson acquisition. The teacher quietly make the rounds as the students do the real work of learning.

  8. I strongly agree with using homework not for grading but for practicing. I have many times let my kids grade their own homework and we would discuss the correct answer if they made an error. I am excited about this course.

  9. I like seeing the different options for station-rotations models. After a teacher led discussion any of these options would be smart to use, to encourage student engagement, depending on the curriculum. I have also think that #2 and #3 are good for introducing a new concept in smaller groups. #1,#4 & #5 are great for enrichment once they show mastery of the concept being worked. You could have them research a question they would like the answer to, or something they would like to learn more about.

  10. What a great tool to use for homework! Homework becomes meaningful to the students. I also like the opportunity to implement the “I do, we do, you do”strategy because it helps students to fully understand the concept in a safe learning environment. All of these strategies for a teacher-led station are excellent.

  11. I am all for the I do, We do, You do. I think students first need to see an example of how it is done and then do it with the teacher for reinforcement and finally they will aquire the assureness they need to do it independently.

  12. I appreciate the assessment piece of attending more to the process, rather than the finished product and giving feedback immediately on this!

  13. I am excited to try this set up with my class. I like the Real time feedback and time to work with these students. I envision this particular group working on writing pieces during this time. This is a great time to provide feedback in this area.
    I like the quick assessment and individual support idea. I like that students who are successful on this assessment will go on, whereas students who are not quite there yet will have an opportunity to review the concept.

  14. The 5 Ways to Design Your Teacher-led Station model I do, We do, You do, is something is implemented in a traditional classroom set-up e.g {explicit rotation }, when introducing a new content unit [daily} at my school district. However, I think students first need to see an example of how it is done and then do it with the teacher for reinforcement and finally they will acquire the assuredness they need to do it independently.

  15. “Homework Check and Review” is ideal because the students are able to quickly identify places where they need more practice and see their incorrect answers or mistakes. They can then make corrections and ask questions that will better allow them to get a complete picture of the concept they are learning. It’s much quicker than turning homework in and waiting for me grade 115 papers each day.
    I especially love “I Do, We Do, You Do” because it allows me to still guide the group, but makes the student accountable for participation and really supports them throughout. My seventh graders love to collaborate and this gives them the chance to be in small groups and allows them to have a suitable partner before they take on the task alone.

  16. I love the idea of the homework check and review. Being an ELAR teacher homework can become a huge issue when you have multiple classes doing more than one assignment. It can take hours and hours to grade. Combining homework check and review with the idea of real-time feedback for times when students are working on essay writing or big projects would not only benefit the students with timely feedback but also free up teacher’s time and allow them to work on other parts of the lesson that may need more focus or begin preparing for future lessons.

  17. I like the homework check. This makes homework so much more important to a student that knows they will be discussing it with the teacher in a small group. It is no longer busy work but meaningful. Also it holds them accountable. You will see their struggles from independent work.

    Also, I like the real-time feed back. I have had projects turned in that the student was totally off topic. I think that the feed back will make sure they are understanding the assignment and I can encourage students that are on track to dig deeper or reach farther.

  18. Very helpful to see all the different ways to use a teacher led station. I especially like the I do, we do, and You do model. In writing I’ve used this to model my thought process and writing process for particular pieces. I can then guide students through their process with teacher reinforcement and finally allow students to work independently to create their final pieces.
    I also like the Real Time feedback- somewhat like conferring with students on their writing.

  19. I really like the concept of reviewing and revising homework as a teacher-led station. Many times when I assign homework the student comes back with either a partial assignment or no assignment at all. This will allow struggling students an opportunity to get support. Using this method will at least eliminate any excuses for not doing homework.

    Real-time feedback is also worth trying because so many students always want to know if they on the right track before they go any further. A little feedback at the right time goes a long way.

  20. I really liked the idea of the homework check review, what a better way to have students take ownership of their learning , by evaluating the mistakes they did.

    • In this I would provide the students an answer key so they can grade each others papers and this would cut down on my grading time and also allow the students to go over any missed questions which will allow all to see the right answers.

  21. I like how she focused on Hook the group. I learned that from my humble beginnings in education. I always try to hook them and relate to real world experiences in which helps to activate prior knowledge and makes the lesson engaging.

    I Do, We Do, You Do: I love it and use it in math/science. I make sure that it is modeled and they follow along with me so they can do the you do on their own. You model what you want to see from your scholars. This also build communications skills and my scholars love to talk and this method is great tool to use daily or weekly.

    • I like this strategy a lot. I believe it help keep the students from becoming confused. They will have a clearer understanding of the teacher’s expectations by doing it together first.

  22. I Do, We Do, You Do is a somewhat successful model for me. We are teaching face-to-face and remote students at the same time.

  23. I really like the real time feedback. I feel that it is important. I am also loving the process behind the Quick Assessment and Individual Support.

  24. I love the homework check and review! My plan this coming year is to use that but also to make a quick video of my explaining the answers or so on a simplistic homework and then having students check each other’s homework in a station and then explaining to each other why they missed the answers and how they could have picked an answer that was similar but incorrect. I would have at the station these 2 questions in the middle of the table so students can use this collaboratively to help each other understand where they missed their answers and how they could have found the correct one.

  25. I liked the homework check with students that takes place with students in the classroom. From my experience, homework was additional practice for students to apply their knowledge. However, I noticed that students had misconceptions when checking their homework. I would like to use this check in the classroom as part of a small group to check and clear up misconceptions.

  26. The I do we do activity is something that I think holds lots of possibilities. It provides a great transition for the students to take ownership.

  27. I love the “I do, we do, you do” approach. I believe it enables students to feel more comfortable opening up and trying skills they are unsure about.

  28. The I do we do activity is something that I think holds lots of possibilities. It provides a great transition for the students to take ownership.

  29. I like the five different strategies teachers can use during Teacher-led Station. The teachers will be able to guide students through their process with teacher reinforcement.

  30. I adore all of the strategies that activates the teacher-led group. Hooking the students is key.

  31. This blog had so many great ideas on how to start your teacher-led group, while managing the other groups. I would love more ideas like this.

  32. These are some great strategies for independent and group work. One assignment I gave the students last year was doing a poster on their favorite Founding Father, they did a great job, helped one another, and I gave them time in-class and out of class to complete the assignment over the course of one month including pictures, a bio write-up, and they had to present their findings to the class.

  33. I am familiar most of these strategies. “Quick Assessment & Individual Support” is new to me. I need to learn how to do this. I need to learn how to create online quizzes.

    • Hi Maria,

      I like adding a “groups or pairs do” between the “we do” and “you do” as a strategy to observe students at work with peer support but no teacher support. That helps me to determine if students are ready for independent practice or if they need more time with the teacher before they are released for the “you do.” It’s a nice way to build differentiation into the gradual release.

      Take care.

  34. I like the idea of having a station that reviews homework. I sometimes feel as if homework is simply pushed aside when not covered as a whole group at the start of class prior to breaking out into stations. This gives me an idea on how I can plug it in within groups.

  35. I teach kindergarten, so I’ve tried several station approaches for the little ones in my classroom. I have set up a station for letter/sound recognition and naming where the students had a choice to switch and do the letters on a laminated paper using playdoh to form the letter. I did the letter recognition and naming for the children to use a tile or clothespin to make connections with uppercase and lowercase letters by allowing the students to find between 3 letters the correct one. I’ve also setup a station for the students to be able to write in colored sand each letter they found or the letters located in their name they found. I’ve done so many other stations with the high frequency words, beginning and ending sounds as well. The stations mentioned here are all awesome and great resources to implement even with the little ones as long as the language in the instructions is age-appropriate for the high readers to understand and read off to their small groups.

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