How to Implement the Stations: Interacting with Multiple Texts Teaching Strategy in Your Classroom
In a station learning activity, small groups of learners move from station to station to read, watch, and interpret a variety of resources that focus on an event, theme, or question from multiple perspectives. Groups of learners spend an allotted amount of time at each station interacting with the material and either answering questions or engaging in a reflective activity. The station’s learning activity works well to launch a new unit or to explore in more depth something learners have already studied. When the instructor selects from different kinds of content—informational texts, poetry, art, photography, maps, video or audio clips—learners can engage with the material utilizing multiple modalities thus allowing them to reach a deeper comprehension of the event, theme, or question than they might by reading or discussing just one or two pieces of contents.
- Select Texts and Develop Stations: Determine the number of stations you want to have, the amount of time each group will spend at each station, what activities learners will do at each station, and what texts you plan to utilize. Determine the kinds of media you want to use, so learners have multiple access points to engage with the topic. For instance, you may select informational texts, short videos, images, and poetry. Having some variety is ideal. When collecting resources, learners must complete each station learning activity in about the same amount of time, they are ready to move to the next station together. Copy any necessary materials for each station and place them in numbered or labeled folders. Make enough copies of each envelope so that there is one available for each group member to use while they visit each station. Create directions or discussion questions for each station. You may staple these instructions to the station’s folder. Alternatively, you may select a teaching method, such as a 3-2-1 or S-I-T response, that learners complete in their journals during each station. Decide what type of groups you will create for the stations, or whether learners will be able to select their groups. Prepare your classroom, so there are table groups for every station.
- Prepare Learners: Tell learners that they will be working with a group to move through a series of stations where they will learn about a specific topic. Explain to learners the instructions for each station and how much time they have to complete the work at each station.
- Learners Move through Stations: Assign each group to begin at a different station and ask the groups to move to their first stations. As learners work, circulate to listen in on their conversations or work with struggling groups if they need help comprehending the content or instructions. Tell groups to move to the next station after the allotted amount of time has passed until all of the groups have visited every station.
- Debrief the Stations Learning activity: Debrief the learning activity as a class if you have time. Below you will find some sample questions that you can use during your debrief:
- Did you draw any conclusions about the subject from the sources you inspected?
- Where you able to substantiate any of the information?
- What conflicts did you notice among resources?
- At what station did you learn the most, and which was the most challenging? Which did you like the most, and which did you like the least?
- Do you have any questions about any of the stations?