Almost 18 years ago, the school in which I taught, went to a form of block scheduling. This prompted me to create stations in my classroom. The use of stations was something done at my basketball practices, which worked well for me at the time, so a similar template was used for my classroom.
Each class period was 90 minutes, so the breakdown of the class template looked like this:
10 min. – Daily Starter (grammar, writing, or reading)
10 min. – Discussion of the Daily Starter and Explanation of Assignments
15 min. – Reading Station
15 min. – Writing Station
15 min – Grammar Station
15 min. – Group Lesson (done at the beginning or the end depending on the lesson)
The rest of the missing time was used for conversation and transition. There were also concepts and topics substituted into the blocks as well. These were some of the following topics:
Real World Applications
Student Projects (Individual and Group)
…. and others that kept students engaged as much as possible.
Now, that you have some background information, maybe you will be able to better understand the moral of this post. You see, now all the “cool kids” in education are using stations in their classrooms. Terms like “blended learning”, “flexible classrooms”, “personalized learning”, “maker space”, and “student centers” are all floating around on the internet these days. When my stations were created for the classroom and for the basketball court, all of the above phrases were done out of necessity. All of my stations were, and matter of fact, still are today, interactive student centered lessons that give students independence and flexibility. This vision created years ago, was looked upon as strange and unstructured. Many thought students wouldn’t be able to learn maintain a positive behavior in the free flowing environment. At the time, the notion of convincing others was not important to me. The fact that students were developing, communicating, and working to their own individual potential was enough proof in my eyes.
Although, one teacher did get a response from me about my teaching practices. My first year teaching, a veteran teacher question a vocabulary assignment given to my sophomore English students. The gist of the activity was that students were drawing pictures, or either using “cut out” magazine pictures to help remember the vocabulary words. My justification was simple and effective – “They all passed their test last week.”
So, sticking with my intuition about my students and the content being taught, a better way to reach and teach my students was found. Of course, ideas were stolen from others, but the overall planning and presentation was devised through my vision of how students needed to be taught and learn as individuals. At times, having a vision was and still is lonely, but it’s nice to see it come true for others – even if they are or were a little late.
… should have “copyrighted” everything I did in my early years of teaching and coaching!