Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review Stations: Tune In!

Linked for you by Lori

I'm tired! Aren't you?! But we're so not even close to being done. We are--however--very close to our test, and that friends is GOOD NEWS. We can't possibly ask our kids to do anything new at this point in time, but they are tired of doing the same ol' same ol'. And quite honestly, we really need them to be in control of their own learning right now. When you want to review multiple skills and strategies, stations are your best friend. Here are some ideas to keep in mind for successful stations.


  • Nothing New--kids must be able to be self-sufficient, so only give them tasks and activities they are familiar with. Otherwise, you will do all of the running around and rescuing. [And remember, we already had this conversation. We're TIRED!]
  • Small Groups--Your kids will have to be in groups to rotate among the stations, but don't let them get too big. Groups of 5 provide way too much opportunity to opt out. 
  • Have a Signal--Instead of yelling every 10 minutes that it's time to rotate, use music to move your groups. Music can be low while kids are working. When you want them to move, crank it loud to get their attention. Direct them to move, and then resume a low volume. 
  • Use All of Your Space--Use your desks, your walls, your floor, your hallway (if necessary).
  • Plan Very Carefully--Enough said. The more planning you do, the more likely you are to have a more successful day.
I'll be running review stations in my room next week. While my plans aren't final [or even on paper yet], here are some things I'm thinking about. 
  • Lightning Writing--my classes have all done Lightning Writing at least once. I plan to leave color print-outs of the prompts in sheet protectors. Groups can choose 1 or 2 prompts to work with.
  • Bam Boards--I really like the idea of an academic vocabulary review station. In this station, one student will take the lead and give the clues which will come from our visual dictionary. Kids can use the bam boards to answer and be the first in the air with the correct answer. 
  • Pitchforking--Provide "pitchforkable" sentences/ideas and ask students to revise.
  • WWAM--find a short poem for kids to WWAM. I really like Pat Mora, and lots of her poems are short and would work well for fast-paced stations. [Immigrants, Sonrisas, Fences]. You would need to tailor your expectation for this station to something that students can accomplish within the 10 or 15 minutes they'll have. 
  • Sentence Combining--I'll be honest with you. I really want this to be a station, but I haven't formalized it in my head yet. I'm excited about Gretchen Bernabei's recent blog post and will likely refer to her revision activity to help structure my lesson. I may pull out my good ol' sentence manipulatives.
  • Strategies--Believe it or not, some kids struggle with when to use which strategies. You could dedicate a strategy to drawing and labeling graphic organizers. Just a thought...
  • Star Station--How about giving kids a chance to write themselves a letter? What if they took some time out to tell themselves what they know and what they will be able to accomplish when they test? It's cheesy, but I also think it's incredibly important for them to own their own success by thinking about how they intend to tackle test day.
There are tons more stations that you could have, but this is what's bouncing around in my head right now. What are you planning for your final days of instruction? Let's help each other push to the finish!

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