Effective Learning Stations in 7 Easy Steps

Kids need to practice the skills you have taught them in whole group and small group. Learning stations are the perfect way for them to practice while you are delivering that important small group instruction. In the upper elementary grades, learning stations should be easy to implement, easy to manage and, most of all, effective. Following are seven easy steps to implement learning stations in only two weeks.

1.  One-A-Day

Introduce one learning station each day. Choose activities that your students are familiar with from the previous year. After the whole group introduction, give students an opportunity to practice the activity. Allow them to work with partners or table groups. Repeat for five days, with five different activities.

2.  High-Five!

You've done it! By the end of the first week, you will have five stations that students can rotate through.

3.  Introduce Expectations

When the second week begins, you can introduce your classroom expectations for rotating through stations. Prior to class, group students into small groups. From 3 to 5 students work well in a group.

4.  Just Practice Movement

Decide on a signal for students to know when it's time to rotate. Practice several times moving quietly from their desks to their groups, and rotating to the next group at your signal.

5.  Now Practice Working

The following day, students are ready to actually work in their stations. You may want to practice the rotation exercise before you begin, to reinforce expectations.

6.  Don't Rush It!

Monitor students during their first week of working in stations, rather than meeting with small groups. The time invested will be well worth it, so students to learn to stay focused and work with their partners.

7.  Add Small Group Instruction

After two weeks, your students will be working independently in learning stations, and you can begin the important task of small group instruction. Introduce One additional learning station each week, until you have a balance of reading, writing and word work learning stations.

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