April 14, 2012

Station Rotation

It's funny sometimes what it takes for me to try something new. Whenever I would hear people talk about doing stations I'd think "that's a good idea" but by the time I got around to planning my lessons I would forget or not see how to make it work. Until @jreulbach posted about using picture frames. Yup, all it takes to get me to do something is a trip to the craft store (or in this case the craft section of Walmart, where I bought some yarn too, of course!). Once I had the set-up it was easy to find activities among all the usual ones I do, plus all the cool stuff I've been reading about but had yet to try.

Both my fundamentals and CP geometry classes finished a unit on similarity in the past couple weeks. I set up stations for Taboo, koosh ball smart board (with kuta worksheet problems and answers hidden so they could self-check), write your own word problem, solve problems that make a sequence (answer is on the back of the next card), make a poster for a vocab word (fundamentals only), proofs framed as 'match the rule' (CP only) and converting recipes.

The students worked in self-selected groups of 3-5 and chose the stations in any order. We didn't have enough time for every group to go to every station (spent about 15 minutes at each) but there was plenty of overlap so everyone got some practice solving problems as well as doing something a bit different than the typical day.

They gravitated towards taboo and the smart board for the most part. Groups were excited for the recipes, but then discovered it was harder than they expected. That was the only station where students were not actively working the whole time so I need to skip or change it next year. One group complained about the 'match the rule' station "What's the point of being in groups if we have to do it individually?" which highlighted my concern that not all students are working when they are in groups. Allowing students to self select groups also meant that there was one group in each class who I really needed to check in on a lot, but it turned out to be easy enough to spend most of my time with them rather than having multiple groups each with one student who would be continually off task. Especially since most stations were self-checking, it was okay to spend more time with one group. This is definitely something I will do again whenever we need review. Moving around, mixing it up and having choices are all really important and this set up lets us do all three!

In case you're interested, here are the instructions for each station. I bought 5x7" frames so with a bit of folding and trimming half a sheet fits right in. These should be one set of instructions in one column, but scribd might have done something weird. Both recipe instructions were at one station.

Similarity Stations

Recipe Proportions

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