Station Rotations in the Secondary Math Classroom - PART 1
Let’s talk station rotations basics in a high school math class.
WHAT are they?
Stations are way to break down a class into smaller chunks allowing for different activities to run at the same time to refine a math skill while addressing a variety of learning styles. At the same time, stations strategically separate students in the classroom, provides an opportunity for movement and demand 100% engagement.
WHEN do I use them?
Stations can be used as little or has much as you would like. I personally try to use them once, maybe twice in a unit. I do not want students to get tired of doing the same thing. I use them on days I have planned solely to practice and develop the content we previously learned the day before. (I try not to use them as review because I like to play review games.)
WHERE are they located in my room?
Station 1- Digital row. A self-checking activity that keeps students all in one spot.
Station 2- Scavenger hunt around the perimeter of the room. This strategically separates the two groups of students in their seats making it harder for them to talk across stations.
Station 3- Paper row. A self-checking activity that keeps students engaged.
HOW they work?
Let me walk you through an outlined 45-minute class period…
Daily entrance routine and a brief description of what the stations look like for the day.
Rotate between 3- ten minute stations. (1 minute to rotate and get set) I keep it simple. They rotate 1-2-3right down the list.
Clean up! They put their materials away for the day and get ready to head out.
(PLEASE NOTE: The first couple of times you run stations it will NOT look like this. It will take time for students to get into routine and learn expected expectations)
WHY do I enjoy using them?
What if I told you there was a way to reach those students who cannot seem to focus during class plus those students who need extra help at the same time? Incorporating stations into my classroom more regularly is how I manage to meet all those needs because I put the responsibility of learning on them. Students get an opportunity to refine a skill without completing a basic worksheet and then sitting on their phones for the remainder of the class until the bell rings.
Random tips I have learned over the years:
1. Spend time modeling the expectations you have for how students should behave and the types of tasks they will encounter at each station.
2. Provide praise as much as you can to groups/students who are are on tasks during station days.
3. Your ADHD students will surprise you.
4. Provide choices at the sit down stations to let them feel more powerful in their education. (paper/digital stations)
5. SELF-CHECKING is a must. This is a sanity SAVER!
6. NEVER stop walking around. Be on the move monitoring and if there is not one asking a question then prompt them by saying, ”Who can I help?”
7. If you want to have a teacher led station thenI would designate a "student teacher” in each group to eliminate interruptions while you are trying to work with a group.
8. Place all students who were absent the day before in one group. This will allow you to reteach the concept one time.
Wouldn’t you love the structure and freedom stations can provide to help your students receive more practice during class? Stay tuned for part 2 to learn more. In part 2, I will walk you through an exact station day I execute in my classroom.