“What are students doing in the stations that are not the teacher-led station?” I field a lot of questions like this. Teachers want to know what types of activities I incorporate into station rotation lessons.
Since my teaching experience is in English, I wanted to share some of my favorite station ideas to inspire teachers who are flirting with the idea of trying the station rotation model. For those teachers who are already using the station rotation model, I hope you can add these ideas to your rotations to keep kids interested and engaged.
The goal of any station rotation design should be to balance the various elements in the lesson.
- Online vs. offline
- Individual tasks vs. collaborative tasks
- Teacher talk vs. student talk
- Teacher direction vs. student agency
- Teacher feedback vs. peer feedback
- Teacher assessment vs. self-assessment
Too often I see stations that do not balance these elements, and students are left to work in isolation. The more teachers build student choice and voice into their station design, the more likely students are to engage in the tasks at the various stations.
If you have favorite station activities and tasks you use in your English classroom, please post a comment and share them here!
Hi. Have a few questions you might be able to shine light on with your insight. Specifically around offline stations and the ‘need’ for them as balance.
Can you tell me the differences in your Blended Learning books? I would like my school to purchase one for me but they will only get one book. Which book would be most applicable for 5th and 6th grader English classes?
Blended Learning in Action is good if you are just getting started with blended learning and want to explore the various models and explore issues related to transitioning to blended learning from traditional instruction (e.g., onboarding students to technology and designing lessons). If you want a book that is entirely English focused, I would recommend Creatively Teach the Common Core Literacy Standards with Technology even if you are not in a state that adopted or modified the Common Core. It is organized into reading, writing, language/grammar, and speaking and listening with ideas for using technology to develop those various skills. If you are already using blended learning models and want to move to the next level to integrate metacognitive skill building and use the models to move feedback and assessment into the classroom then I would suggest pre-ordering Balance with Blended Learning coming out in late January.
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Do you have a suggestion on activities for younger elementary school age students? It is somewhat impossible if their writing or computer skills are not there yet.
I posted a blog a couple of weeks ago that may be helpful.
Research&online exploration is the better.
good day. Ms Tucker may I ask for a sample lesson plan of English Grade 4 showing Station Rotation Model? I am currently conducting research on this model. I hope you will share your pieces to me. Thank you so much.
I do not know that I have access to a 4th-grade example. I can look through my coaching files, but I don’t have them labeled by the teachers’ grade levels. Did you have a specific question about how to approach the design?
Does the station rotation model work for a 70-minute lesson? How much time should students typically spend at each station for learning to be meaningful? I imagine it would be quite challenging to rotate students among 4 stations, including a teacher-led station if I only have 70-mins to run this lesson. Can the use of this model span across a few lessons?
Absolutely, Shyuan. I’m coaching a group of teachers right now who have 65 minute periods. They have broken their class into three groups and they rotate through three stations for 20 minutes each.
I was wondering how to effectively use station rotations for a 53 minute 7th grade English class, where I incorporate reading and writing each day, using a workshop method? Thank you!
You could do one of two things. Option 1: You could design a “flip-flop,” or rotate students through two learning experiences (e.g., a teacher-led station and self-directed or collaborative station). That way, you would have half the class at a time for your mini-lesson or feedback sessions at the teacher-led station to more effectively differentiate that experience. Option 2: Run a multi-day rotation. For example, you could design a 4 station, two-day rotation in which students hit two stations each day. Students do not have to complete the entire rotation in a single day.
I hope that provides some ideas for how to make this work given the length of your class period and your use of the workshop model.
As a college student, I found this article super useful! Thanks for posting and sharing these tips, Catlin!
I am anxious to try these station rotations in my intervention reading groups.
Do you have a rubric or suggestion to design a rubric that can be posted at each station to ensure that students are on task and know how they are being graded?
I would not attempt to grade everything students do at each station as that will not be sustainable long-term. You can create a one-skill rubric and ask students to self-assess their work or participation in a station, but I would be selective about what you spend your time grading. Below is a link to a blog I wrote about deciding what to grade and spend your finite time and energy on.