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Meet Sra. Wienhold

My Journey with Stations

During my first year teaching I religiously read The Creative Language Class and tried to soak up every bit of their amazing ideas. During the beginning of the school year they did a series on stations which got me hooked on the idea for my class. It was scary at first to let go of some of the control of what was going on at each station, but eventually I realized that with explicit instructions, practice, and routines it was a great way for me to be able to work on speaking practice with a small group at a time. 

My first attempt was a review of the chapter broken into four: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking, with students rotating to each for about 15 minutes. While a great idea, when looking back at what they were doing at these stations I cringe. As mentioned in my first post, I was a first year, textbook using (gasp!), only Spanish teacher in the district. I hate to admit it but since this blog is about my failures as well as success, the stations were as follows: Reading - textbook reading at end of chapter, Writing - chapter review, Listening - textbook listening activities (for those that I actually had CDs for & were not stolen by a former student before I started who hated textbook listening enough to steal them) & Speaking - speaking practice with me (actually a worthwhile activity!). 

I quickly realized thanks to many wonderful bloggers, that I needed to substitute these textbook activities with authentic and relevant materials outside of the 13 year old textbook that still had VCR, answering machine and cassette player on the vocabulary lists! I knew what I needed to do but the issue was TIME. Since I have four preps with Spanish I-IV, and NO CURRICULUM I had to start somewhere. Using resources found on Pinterest the reading station became infografics and authentic reading & listening used authentic commercials. I was learning and growing.

While on maternity leave this winter there was an AMAZING Twitter #langchat on using Stations in the World Language Class. It was here I had an epiphany that stations did not have to be timed with everyone going to every station for the same amount of time. I created this document for an introduction our Market Unit. (Sorry the formatting is all weird in Drive). There were 11 stations around the room and the kids were able to free float to whichever ones they wanted for however long they needed. All of the reading stations were each a "store" with authentic colorful ads where they "shopped" for what they would buy at each. 

The students really enjoyed being able to go at their own pace, and it was nice to be able to float around and assist students as they took charge of their own learning. I plan on continuing to learn, change and grow as I utilize stations in my class. 
How do you use stations in your class?

4 comments

  1. I JUST finished my first year of teaching. Thankfully, I am not the only teacher and have a wonderful group of ladies supporting me, but it was a LONG, trying year nonetheless. I have really enjoyed reading your blog!! I can't wait to try some of these things next year. I definitely need to alter my stations. How do you monitor all 11 at once? Have you done this with any other units? I usually make little games like pesca, battleship, matching, etc at each station but it's hard for me to keep 26 kids on track at every station.

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    1. Congratulations on finishing your first year! That is a HUGE accomplishment. Thank you for the blog encouragement! As for the stations, I have found that if the activities are set up well and there are detailed instructions for each one there is little need to "monitor" every station. I know it is hard to give up that control but if the students are being kept busy, they don't have time to mess around. I just walk around so they know they need to be doing their job. I have done stations with many units, and once you get a stockpile of activities to do at them, planning gets a lot easier!

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  2. Love your blog! I would like to ask you for help pleaseee, this will be my first year teaching K3-5th they have no curriculum and it is a Christian school! I am really excited but I am going crazy trying to put things together this summer! please help me with ideas :) thank you!

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    1. Thank you so much Erika! I would love to help. Here is my pinterest for links to a lot of resources. www.pinterest.com/allison_bickle/ Also, make sure you check out all of the blogs I have listed on the left. If you are not already on Twitter, you should join and participate in #langchat on Thursdays at 7pm. I am @SenoraWienhold & follow some awesome language teachers. Also check out www.teacherspayteachers.com for TONS of resources, many of them free. Finally, there is a group of teachers collaborating this summer via this wiki langcamp.pbworks.com & Google+. You should join!

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