As the end of the school year is winding down and the content continues at a steady pace before finals, I am doing more learning station activities to help my students learn important elements that will help them on the final and in the years ahead. Many elementary school teachers incorporate learning stations in their classrooms, secondary school teachers can benefit from learning stations as well.
What do I mean by learning stations?
Learning stations are designated areas in the classroom where students can work independently or in small groups to accomplish a given learning task. The teacher can work solely with one group or facilitate all the different stations to help keep students on task, answer questions, and promote inquiry.
What do learning stations look like for secondary students?
I tend to rearrange my classroom when doing station activities. Students choose which group they go to first and directions are clearly posted at each station.
Students can visit two to three stations per period. For the Midsummer Night’s Dream station activity there were three different stations and students had twelve minutes at each station before they rotated on the next. The objective was to cover all three stations within a 40 minute period. At the first station students worked with a partner or in small groups to play “Roll the Dice,” a differentiated activity that allows students take turns rolling a die (round 1) or dice (round 2) and answer comprehension questions correlating to the number he or she rolled.
The second station focused on symbols of love and astrology/the moon in the text. Students were given a handout with the different symbols, significance of each symbol, and then had to go back into the text to find specific quotes that illustrate each of the symbols.
The last station required students to complete an interactive foldable on the many characters in Shakespeare’s play. There were three layers to this foldable for each of the three interconnecting stories in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Students identified each of the character’s status and or position and then found a telling quote to illustrate the character’s personality. Once students completed the foldable he or she glued it into his or her notebook.
Learning Stations allow students to tap into a variety of inquiries in a “hands on” manner rather than teach and listen approach. Depending on how the teacher organizes the stations, they can be based on Bloom’s Taxonomy or Multiple Intelligences. Learning stations promote independence and responsibility.