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How to Make and Use Stations

Mar 10, 2020

We are wrapping up our How-To for Teachers series this week, and I'm excited to bring you a tutorial on a topic that was a crucial part of my classroom as well as one that I think you'll like to start incorporate no matter what level you teach.

STATIONS

Often times stations, or centers, are underrated and underused the higher up in grade level you go. I think this is a super disservice to teachers because the possibilities are awesome.

First, it's important to explain the set up a bit and how I used stations in my classroom.

Station Set Up

When I first implemented stations in my high school (AP Psychology, juniors and seniors) classroom, I heard moans and groans very quickly about how I was making them move about the room.  After resisting their complaining, I realized that having about 25-30 moving bodies (rather large, adult bodies at that) in my room wasn't a great cost to reward ratio.  Too much time was taken up by the transitions and there really was no point to it considering most stations were either digital or used materials that easily fit into a portable bin from Target Dollar Spot.

Alas, the bins started moving and the students stayed put.

So I would briefly introduce each station at the beginning of class (after checking homework and the bell ringer of course), then put a timer up on the board.  Students knew they had that designated amount of time to get through each station, then we would come back together at the end of class once they have "visited" each bin... rather once each bin had "visited" them.

What would be in those bins?

Anything you want.

Many teachers I've worked with in flipping their classrooms have said they aren't sure what to make into stations.  I simply ask do you have handouts or various activities you use in your class?  Of course, the answer is always yes.  Just use those.  Some of them you may have to repurpose a bit or size down some, but almost anything can be turned into a 5-10 minute activity that can be paired with other activities to make into stations.

How you structure these is totally up to you.  That's the beauty in them.  Make sure to grab the info to get my video tutorial below because I explain how to use a "KEY" for each station in a way that doesn't produce laziness and apathy in students.

Advantages of Stations

Here are some advantages I saw in using stations in my classroom:

  1. Students took the reigns a bit more simply because I wasn't at the front of the room.  Instead I was working, walking, and answering questions around the room.  It's as if they some how knew the responsibility of learning was on them, and most of them took great ownership of that.
  2. When I noticed common questions or difficulties I would tie that into directions for the next class, but would also stop the entire class to clarify a quick point so as to preserve the stations efficiency (and effectiveness) for the current class.
  3. TIME - students started getting better at managing their time when they had to work in what I will call "micro-learning moments."  They knew they wouldn't get EVERYTHING out each station.  And that's not the way the stations were designed anyway.  They are designed to focus students attention on a very specific topic or standard, and students know "If I have a basic, foundational understanding of this topic/concept, then I'm good to move on."
  4. Planning was actually WAY easier.  Like I said, each station was mostly made up of handouts and activities I had already been using.  So I just compiled those, wrote some handy directions, and got after it.  Sometimes these stations would take up multiple class periods which meant that my planning was more efficient and spread out over more days of my curriculum calendar.
  5. It's a routine for students that can almost serve as a template for me, where I get to drag and drop activities and handouts (so to speak) into the template of stations and use over and over again without it seeming too redundant or boring to students.  It's different, and yet the same, every single time... there is beauty in that my friends... it's called sustainability.

Now, enough about the setup and advantages, let's get to the tutorial.  Fill out the form below (might have to scroll down just a smidge) and I will send the page with the video straight to your inbox.

So, tell me, how might you use these stations in your classroom?  What are you excited to create now?  Let me know on Facebook or Instagram.  Hope to see you there.

Until next time,

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