Happy FRIDAY!! We made it to the end of another week, folks! I don’t feel like I’ve sat down since school started, between taxiing my kids back and forth to all of their after school (wearing masks and socially distanced, of course) activities so I TOOK A DAY OFF TODAY. That’s right. I took a day off! I took my daughters to a local bakery for donuts before school, went to Chapel with them this morning, and will head in to pick them up from their half-day soon. We’ll be having lunch with some friends, then will come back and rest, I’ll head downstairs for a workout and/or a run, before picking up my 2-year-old nephew for a fun sleepover tonight! All of these things help my heart be happy and recharge so I can be my best for my students next week. Teacher mental health is a real thing, friends, and we all too often sweep it under the rug. It’s ok to think about your well-being! Today, I’m sharing an idea that I tried with my high school students yesterday, which involved giant post-it notes, sharpies, pencils, duct tape, QR Codes, Chromebooks, and cell phones. What in the world could it be? I’m glad you asked! Check out our “conversation stations” activity!
First, no this isn’t the first time I’ve tried stations in my classroom. A few years ago, I set up stations around my classroom for my students. In true station-style, they were supposed to rotate from place to place. I thought it was a beautiful, fool-proof plan! However, because I was only requiring my students to use their school-provided Chromebooks, the idea of actually moving from place to place was kind of lost. One of my students raised his hand and said, “yo, Mrs. Petty, can we just stay in one spot? Since we have all of the stuff already?”
While I’m sure I deflated a bit, he had a point. I was basically asking them to carry their Chromebook from place to place to do something that they could do at their desks. ??♀️
So … we tried something different yesterday. Instead of providing them with ALL tech activities to complete, we did a “four-corners” strategy about each of our learning targets. Here’s what I wrote on each post-it note:
–> CORNER 1: “What we know …”
–> CORNER 2: “What we need to review …”
–> CORNER 3: “Examples of what we learned …”
–> CORNER 4: QR Code that led to a few formative assessment questions related to that learning goal.
I wrote one learning target in the middle of each post-it at each station, making sure that it was in learner-friendly language. Students worked in small cohorts, wearing masks, and proceeded through each station. We had three learning target stations placed throughout my classroom and in the hallway, and one Quizlet Live station where students could earn TONNNNNS of XP (experience points – check Chapter 8 of Illuminate: Technology Enhanced Learning for more info!) by competing against those in their cohort.
While my students were milling about, completing tasks at each station, I was buzzing from group to group, providing guidance, individualized instruction, and tech-support, as needed because, it’s 2020 ?
The feedback that I got from students was AMAZING! They loved working in stations, reviewing specific concepts, and doing so collaboratively with their peers. The feedback they gave me on the post-it will be SUPER HELPFUL in creating a review for their assessment next week.
While this was a face-to-face activity, the four-corner post-it strategy could easily work in a virtual environment, as well, using Google Slides, Drawings, or Jamboard.
The activity from start to finish (my explanation – students completing each station) took about 45 minutes, which was perfect for our 50 minute class period!
Don’t you love when an activity turns out just like you envisioned?!
I’d love to learn about how you use stations in your classroom!