So a dear friend of mine (ahem, Sra. Spanglish, ahem) has been basically harassing me for the Stations activities I do in class. I use Stations fairly often when we get a few weeks into a unit and have successfully learned the vocabulary and structures required to be able to focus on application. I mean, that’s the whole point, right? We don’t learn language so we can spout lists of vocab and grammar structures at people, we want to be able to read a newspaper for an apartment, or talk to someone adorable…language is powerful, people…
Anyway, my Level I and Level II classes have 32 kids in each class. I thought I would hate having that many. I kind of love it now. I have divided my room into 4-desk “countries” and each desk has either a flag, a map, the capital, or the name of that country. That way I can specifically assign students to groups by country, or randomly assign them by handing them a card with the Cuban flag on it and saying “Busca tu asiento.” It makes it really easy for all kinds of games, because they compete for the glory of Cuba or Honduras or wherever. They also learn some geography without me having to teach it, which is a bonus.
So, back to Stations. I usually have 4 stations set up, printed on 2 different colors of paper, so they rotate within their color, and have 14 minutes to do the activity in the station, with a 1 minute transition time, and then a 14 minute “Catch All” rotation at the end to go back and finish anything that they didn’t get finished in the 14 minutes. I tell them, “Live in the moment!” in Spanish, which means do the station you are sitting in, not the station you didn’t finish from before. I didn’t used to have a “Catch All” period at the end, but I discovered kids not playing the game break stations because they hadn’t finished the Presentational Writing from 2 stations previous.
I try to hit as many “I Can” statements as I can with the stations, written directly onto the station information itself, and I also make sure I have an activity in each mode of communication. Sometimes, the Interpersonal Speaking is tricky because they won’t always actually speak to each other, but this time I made it the last station in the rotation and I sat in and they spoke to me! It gave me a really clear picture, 4 kids at a time, of who can and cannot handle a basic conversation, which is valuable information. In the ones I’m attaching to this post, there is a grammar-specific station, where they roll dice to get subjects and verbs and then have to write out a sentence and draw a “pictograph” which is just stick figures to show me they know what subject pronouns are and what the verbs mean that they wrote. It’s how I taught their verb conjugations 2 days before, so I let 1 station be focused on that particular skill.
Also, I have started including a technology control piece on the different stations. In the pictures, you’ll see a yellow or red strip of paper, because my kids know that those colors are stoplight colors, which have specific tech allowances in my classroom. For the updated slides I’m posting, I made it a little more universal. I hope it helps. I have to be clear about the cell phone thing, because at a station where they read and post something to Padlet, they need their phone. At the station where they read and draw their reading comprehension, their phone defeats the purpose of the activity.
As far as the actual flow of the class, I have timer that I use on my phone that is usually set to 13 minutes. When it goes off, I hit the bell I have 3 times and call out “Cambiamos.” They get up, collect their answer sheet, notebook, and phone and move to the next station. They are trained to move at the sound of the bell and my voice and to sit back down and start working at the new station. Someone reads the new directions and the I Can statements and off they go!
Oh, on their daily slide for the day, I always make sure it says they need an answer sheet, their notebook, their technology, and something to write with. Their “Warm Up” is to put the rest of their belongings (backpacks and whatnot) at the front or side of my room. I explain at the beginning that it’s a tripping hazard since everyone will be walking around so much. I have never had a complaint. The closest I’ve had to one was a kid who asked to put their bag on the table instead of the floor so it wouldn’t get dirty.
I have invested 8 dollars from the Dollar Tree in baskets for the Stations because I hate things rolling around and falling on the floor. My kids know (and I remind them) to set their stations back to neutral when they are transitioning to the next one, and the baskets have really helped.
Final thing, I always have them do a reflection at the end of a round of stations so I can decide which things were worthwhile. I don’t usually ask what they liked the best, but I always ask for what they are still shaky on and what they feel more confident about now that they’ve practiced in Stations. It’s a Post-It note exit ticket that they stick to the whiteboard as they leave and it’s all done! I collect the sticky notes in 2 piles to look at when I plan for the next few days.
The Stations I have posted below are for Spanish 1 Unit 3, which for me free time activities, weather, fun vacation-type places, etc. I have 8 included in the PDF, because I was feeling brave and wanted to see if they could do all 8 at basically 9 minutes per rotation. It was rushed, so I wouldn’t do that, I would do 4 one day with another whole class activity and then 4 another day, or knock out 1 or 2 that don’t suit you and run with 6. I can tell you that I had an admin come in during this process, and the admin was very happy to see so much movement and engagement and students taking learning into their own hands.
Also in the document is the answer sheet (front and back shown above) and the reading comprehension paragraph in 4 squares, so each student can have 1 at their desk and they don’t need to share. The invitations are included, but you’ll want to change my Padlet address to one of yours.
I hope this gives you a good starting place. Again, I love stations and the kids enjoy not being “taught” for a whole period. They don’t know that they’re learning more than they would if I were teaching. I LOVE THAT! Have fun!