- Even with a 52 minute period, we didn't have time to get through 4 stations of 11 minutes each. I knew it was lofty, but thought I could make it work. Being that this was the first time they had done students for quite a while, it took a little bit of explaining, and that chewed into the clock. Maybe we shorten the stations to 9 minutes instead of 11, or lower the expectation to students completing 3 stations instead of 4.
- The kids didn't panic. When they were in the stations, they worked. When they were told to rotate stations, they got up and moved.
- The students were respectful the entire time. One of us was facilitating conversations, and the other was in "station 1" to check student work and provide support. Granted, some didn't work very hard, but there wasn't a revolt because of the new format.
- The content was over some of their heads. We both think that, based on feedback from students, the content was a bit too rigorous. Maybe it's because this was a new format and a challenging concept.
- The organization of the groups really matters. Considering that the stations were set up in a way for our advanced learners to see a certain 4 stations and our struggling learners to see their own version of 4 stations (and everyone in between), the design and flow of the groups needed work. It's not that it was a catastrophe, but if we're looking for a place to improve, this is certainly somewhere to focus.
- What you do now matters; It's what you do afterward that counts.
Now that the students have each gone through 3+ stations and have done some work in different formats, the next few days are going to be pivotal in how successful the stations were. The teacher, Mrs. Stewart, and I talked about using the stations as a launching point for future lessons. "Hey, remember when we did the stations? X, Y, and Z, you were at station 1 and you seemed to understand those problems. Can you tell us the answer, and we can come together as a class to make sure we all understand?" Little did group 1 know that they were being set up for success, with the teacher checking their work beforehand to ensure that it was correct, then turning them into the experts. After all, not everyone got to station 1, and this puts them ahead of many of their classmates. Spoiler alert: Group 1 is a low-performing group.
The 7 stations that were set up for that day were filled with more work than anyone could finish in a 52-minute period, so it provides the teacher--and her class--a foundation on which they can build the rest of the unit as they go through the problems and activities together.
Mrs. Stewart's reflection from the activity is right where I'm at as well.
I personally loved the aspects of all of it, and I am excited to try stations again. Thanks for all your work on this and I look forward to the next time you are in my classroom. They really did great in class today after yesterday. They started to raise their hands and wanted to answer.
I'm not saying that stations are the solution to the woes of secondary education when kids don't understand a concept. What I am saying, I think, is that being willing to take a risk and try something new has the potential to turn into something much greater than a one day lesson that was a bit more than ok. From here, we don't know where the momentum takes us, but I'm ready to continue working with Mrs. Stewart and her group of learners as we continue to figure it out!
Happy "Station Celebration" Fishing