I don’t know what rock I have been living under, but the whole concept of “learning stations” is quite new to me (and if it’s new to you, too, know you’re in good company)... Lemme tell ya - I LOVE THIS LESSON MODEL.
Basically, learning stations are just the idea of learning centers, a lesson model that elementary teachers have used forEVER, renamed and repackaged for the big kids. In fact, the best information I’ve found on designing and facilitating learning stations is on Write On With Miss G, a blog written by a high school English teacher who knows her stuff!
I always loathe trying to figure out what I’m doing the first day of class - so much so, in fact, that I often leave it until the night before… Not good for the blood pressure. This year, I wanted to be on top of things and alleviate any undue stress.
I decided I wanted to create a dynamic lesson that covered the following:
the major ideas/concepts we will cover in the course
a sampling of the various types of activities students can expect in class
an opportunity for me to observe and start getting to know my students
an authentic opportunity for them start getting to know each other (NOT including traditional ice breakers… yuck)
an opportunity for students to start getting to know me and my teaching style
Lofty goals, yes.
Lofty, yet attainable.
Enter - First Day of School Learning Stations!!
- I will begin class by taking roll, introducing myself quickly, and introducing the 6 rotations they will be doing (plus some behavior expectations).
- Each rotation will last approximately 9 minutes with 1-2 minutes for transitions between.
- Students will be grouped by a color-coded popsicle stick they pull when the enter the room.
STATION 1: Get to Know Mrs. Morris QR Code Scavenger Hunt
Activity - Students will participate in a short scavenger hunt around the room where they must attempt to answer questions about me, and then check their answers by scanning a QR code, which will also give them a clue to the next question. The final question will have some sort of prize at the end.
STATION 2: Abundance vs. Scarcity Mindset
Activity - Students will watch a short YouTube video about having an abundance vs a scarcity mindset on a Chromebook or tablet (whatever I can get my hands on) set up a the station. Next, they will answer discussion questions relating to the video in their small rotation groups.
STATION 3: Student Survey
Activity - Students will fill out a Google Form survey about their basic information, their likes & dislikes pertaining to books/movies/music, etc.
STATION 4: Learning Styles
Activity - Students will watch a short video about the different learning styles (multiple intelligences), then read an article from The Atlantic that completely debunks that theory. Finally, they will fill out an exit ticket with 1-2 response questions.
STATION 5: Reading Quotes
Activity - Students will each find 1 quote with which they connect that is related to reading (learning to read, the importance of reading, literacy around the nation, etc.) and then copy that quote onto a card. These cards will be printed with a template I have made to look like an old library card. After copying down their quote, students will add their cards to a bulletin board in the classroom.
STATION 6: Writing Process Mini Escape Room
Activity - Students will solve 2 puzzles relating to the writing process (each correctly solved puzzle will give students the code to a lock, providing them with the next puzzle). The first puzzle will be putting the steps of the process in order, and the second will be a crossword puzzle about the writing process. Finally students will earn a prize (a lollipop or something else small).
I have to say, I am pretty excited to get this going with kids because I think it is going to be a great way for them to get a glimpse of the kind of teacher I am and how I run my classroom right from the very first day.
If you would like to try this very lesson with your class, head over to my TPT store, Caffeinated Curriculum! (available by 8/3/18)
And PLEASE let me know if you end up trying something like this with your kiddos, whether on the first day or not! Comment below, send me a message on Instagram (@thecaffeinatedclass), whatever!!