In order to fit it all in, you’ve gotta have a plan. Managing stations can be an overwhelming challenge without one. Let’s see if I can answer some questions that I have had on station management.
How do your students know where to go?
It all starts with this chart. Naturally, I have really student photos in the pocket chart.
The first few weeks of school, my student come up, touch their photograph with a pointer then slide it over to the right to see their “Blue Station.” The partners go off together to work at that station. When the 15-20 minutes are up, I have the other partner repeat the process to find their “Yellow Station.” TIP: Make sure both students know how to find their station. I had one student just follow their partner around. One day [about the 4 week of school] that partner was absent and the remaining student was like Moses roaming the desert for a bit. Bless!
When the day is over, I move the station cards down one (the students do not move).
I love the pocket chart but is no longer available. HERE is one that I think might be similar. It hangs on the wall. One side has my literacy stations, the other side has math stations. I simply flip it over.
How many students do you have at a station?
How do you transition from one station to the next?
How many small groups do you do each day?
WOAH! You have 12 stations? Are you crazy? How do you teach them all?
Each week I don’t really have to. I keep my stations super predictable. We spend the first few weeks of school gradually introducing the activities. After my students learn about the writing work station, the
How do they remember what to do at that station?
Since most activities are predictable, they usually already know. However, I also provide an “I Can” card. I also let them struggle a bit to figure out what to do. I want students who can look at the materials and with confident independence, decipher the task. I do not want to be the person that spoon-feeds their learning. When they ask me what to do at a station, I just say, “What do you think you do?” 9 times out of 10 they can tell me. Why would I want to enable dependence? They can do it, if you give them the opportunity to problem solve. This is one of the math stations from my Back to School Themed Unit.
How do you get them to work the whole time?
How do you keep them accountable to the work?
This is an old image, but I think it explains it the best. That first image… oy! When we only have 1 minute to clean up, put their papers in their bin, put their bin away, and sit down… we tend to stuff… ha!
How do you get them to do quality work?
First we provide a rubric. Sometimes the most capable student rushes through their work in order to be “done.” Well, I want students to make smart color choices because it is through illustrations that they make their meaning known. I want them to color carefully because it helps to strengthen their writing muscles. So this is our rubric. TIP: One student’s “All Star Work” may not look the same as another students. I am striving for personal best and we celebrate the approximations!!!!
Do you change all the stations out every Monday?
I used to… years ago… but this is what I noticed. Some bins still had papers left for students to work on. I was wasting paper. I solved this problem this way: At the beginning of the month, I made all my station activities and response pages. I would copy about 18 response pages (even though I had anywhere between 20-24 students.) I would fill the bins, then hold the other ones aside. I trained my students to bring the bin to me when they took the last 2 response pages out. They didn’t interrupt my group, they would just put the bin on the floor. When I was done with my small group, I would fill the bin. When the station time was up, the students brought me what was left of their materials (sorting cards, I can cards..) and picked up the newly filled bin… EASY! No more Monday morning crazy time!
Will you post your lesson plans again this year?
Yes! Yes! I most certainly will. They will start again around mid-August!
I sure hope you found this post helpful. I am happy to add to it or provide a follow up post if you need one. Just please speak up in the comments below!
I hope this gave your some station management ideas!