Stations are a staple in my classroom. I try to do a full class period (1.5 hrs) of stations once a week. I think of them as a way for students to get a lot of practice in a concept (or concepts) in a more fun way. I’ve done stations from the start of the year, so kids know my expectations. I also discuss and post my expectations before we get started.
Station Expectations image (import for your SmartBoard or ActivBoard) available on my Teachers Pay Teachers site! (Free!)
How I do stations:
– I pick 6 – 8 activities to have the kids do and put all materials into some containers I got at Target. All materials end up back in the container before kids can rotate.
– Generally students are in the same groups they normally sit in, but occasionally I will let them choose their own group or they get to pick a partner and then I pair them up. Rarely do I make groups from scratch for an activity- that is too much work!
– I keep a timer on the ActivBoard running (kids get to pick the sound) so they can see how much time they have left to finish.
Activities I do:
Mix of activities on the same concept or different concepts: I will pick a few activities that are hands on practice (sorts, matching, etc…), modeling, and real life applications.
Mix of activities on different concepts: Different concepts but same idea- each station is a little different so kids don’t get bored and restless.
Stations used to take me a while to organize… coming up with the types of skills, what activity will work best for them, creating the materials, and then making the worksheet. I started to resent doing them because I felt like I was spending SO MUCH TIME on them but I also knew that I loved doing them. Then a few months ago, I read online about shortcuts for stations.
Easy Stations: I have found that taking a worksheet, cutting it up (nicely and gluing onto other paper), hanging around the room (even in the hall!), and having the kids move around the room is a great (and quick alternative assignment). It is even a great activity for a substitute to do. I find that generally kids have a 20-30 minute max on this though.
Check out one of my favorites I do: Integer Station Activity
Available on my Teachers Pay Teachers site! (Both pdf & docx version and materials)