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Celebrating stations in K-12 classrooms

February 28, 2011

This week, we are going to feature one of the very best differentiation tools available to K-12 teachers: learning stations. Our featured post, therefore, is this short article by Michelle McFarland-McDaniels on setting up this model in the classroom.

Stations (also called centers) are used often in early grades but not enough in upper elementary, middle and high school. Stations are a great format to use in diverse classrooms. They work well as a weekly or even daily installation. Many teachers of young children use literacy centers each day, for example. But some middle and high school teachers are seeing benefits too and are starting to dedicate one day a week to skill building, product creation, and materials exploration.

A math teacher in middle school might have 4 stations in an hour: (1) textbook problems, (2) working with the teacher on new material, (3) computer game/program to review previously covered content, and (4) a collaborative problem-solving task. A high school Chinese teacher could have 5 stations during an extended block period: (1) Chinese kiddie literature to browse, (2) vocabulary game, (3) conversation with the teacher, (4) short collaborative writing assignment, (5) practicing with a peer using Rosetta Stone software.

As you consider differentiation ideas, keep in mind that all learners do not need to visit all stations. Some students can repeat key stations, some could be enrichment stations, and others can be designated for students who need to review content or get extra practice on content previously presented.

So, be sure to follow all of the posts each week to see ideas from teachers across grade levels and content areas.

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