Last fall, I decided to set up my classroom up into learning stations. At first I thought I would do stations on most days. I had planned to integrate technology into those stations, but limited technology access made that very difficult. I also found it overwhelming to prep stations so often. I found myself depending on textbook and worksheets to create stations, when I didn't have more time to prepare more innovative learning activities. Yet, I could really see the benefits of a more student-centered learning environment. I just needed to make the whole thing more manageable.
So I spent a lot of time reading Edutopia articles, and networking online with other teachers who use learning stations in their classrooms. That led me to move toward a more manageable "learning station reboot" for spring semester. The result was much more successful, in terms of student performance on grammar and vocabulary quizzes during the spring semester. The learning intentions of the learning stations also became much more focused during the second semester of implementation. In the fall semester, the stations would serve to review multiple objectives and they lacked real focus. During the spring semester, I targeted a particular skill or concept would reserved one day of station work to target that skill, usually a day or two before a scheduled quiz on that skill or concept.
I also supplemented the learning stations with weekly visits to the Library computer lab. All of the computer lab assignments, homework assignments, and class agendas are posted in Google Classroom. A typical lab assignment might be to watch a review video on a concept and answer some questions about it in their Bullet Journals (another new implementation for spring semester), or submit their answers via an online form. Or the students would have to create an online presentation or project that incorporates vocabulary or a grammar concept from a current unit of study.
So what did the new, improved stations look like?
Students were seated in groups of six. On "station day," students received a checklist of assignments to complete During the second semester, students were allowed to rotate through stations at their own pace. During the first semester, I tried timed rotations, but pacing became an issue, especially with the number of students with 504 plan. Stations days during the second second semester were usually scheduled every one or two weeks.
Typical station activities (targeting a specific skill, such as "saber vs conocer," preterite, "ser vs estar", etc.) might include the following:
-puzzle station - work with a partner to put together puzzle pieces with correct translations/conjugations
-circle puzzle - similar to above, but in a circular fashion; work in partners.
-crossword puzzles - self-explanatory
-rainbow reading - use differently color highlighters to identify targeted features in a reading passage; answer comprehension questions
-sentence building- Students build sentences with card pieces; write sentences down.
-task cards - Choose 10 cards, follow instructions on the cards, write down answers.
I saw considerable improvement with quiz scores for targeted skills during the second semester of learning station implementation. I think the refinements helped. I shared the above with my colleagues at our 4/27 PLC.
Concert reviews: students feeling more connected.
-Teasing in sports
-Different rules and guidelines in different settings
Race card project
-Autobiographical story: French colonialism
-Fear and ignorance
-Touch my hari
Race and privilege
-As a person of privilege, radical empahty
-Well-meaning teachers: "poverty porn"
Cabrillo education class
-Student from Israel: curious about our system of education
-Letter of reference
Learning stations and relationships
Clarity and shared language surrounding race
We have opportunities to disrupt systemic school to prison pipelines
Look at zero tolerance policies and how that connects with 3 strikes
Connection between school and every other system
We need to be intersectional
We should see "Moonlight"
Conversation about bias
We all have bias; we need to identify it
Open to other people's view
Desensitization of millenials
Rich discussions about about proficiency grading and homework In World Language PLC
Discussion about eliminating segregated English Intensive courses.
Discussion about focus students:
This article is timely given some of what occurred in November, when students were expelled from school, due their physical altercation with police.. The students in question were not students of color in this case.
When I worked at Costanoa Continuation School, I used to be a teacher for those kids. However, I have also worked at the other extreme as a teacher who worked with some very privileged people in some of our homeschooling programs.
There is no doubt that students need teachers who have the cultural compentence to understand their worlds. I've seen some of the videos to which the article refers, and they are very disturbing, as are the statistics. It's a reflection of upward trend of intolerance in greater society.
This article gives a concise view of what institutional racism looks like. The "carbon monoxide" analogy works well. The importance of recognizing our own biases is a good reminder.
How is equity felt? How do we break down the wall between life at school and life beyond school? Kids are creating stuff that's relevant to them. How do we bridge that with the "school world?" Build the bridge between school knowledge and non-school knowledge. Content knowledge in school must go beyond the school.
What if every student could have an IEP?
-Decide what's relevant and important
- A great reminder for Spanish homework: What are the ways you encountered Spanish outside of school (Enid's great example as an EL teacher).
More ideas: School unit: how do we feel about school? What's on our mind?
Assets Inventory Form (Thanks, Rishi!)
Remember to have students prepare presentations for each other. Then have them reflect on how they did.
I'm feeling the growing pains of my learning centers. Time to get some inspiration from others. Here's a collection of what I'm reading on the topic:
Teacher, Commercial Fisherman, Harpist, Types of teaching settings in my career: Comprehensive High School Spanish Teacher; Homeschool K-12 Teacher, HS Independent Studies Teacher, Middle and High School French Teacher, Multiple-Subject K-12 Teacher; Project WET and STEP teacher