One of the most frustrating things for me in the classroom was getting my stations set out for the week, only to find out in the middle of stations time that pieces were missing or broken. It’s awfully difficult to solve a situation like this while you’re in the middle of working with a small group! My solution to this predicament is to spend some time in the summer checking over your stations.
I know, we like to think that we’re going to take the entire summer off and do nothing involving school. If you can manage that, BRAVO! But I always knew that the more I got done on my OWN TERMS during the summer, the less stressed out I would be during the school year. So I made a point to spend a couple of days in my jammies with a pot of coffee and good movie, going through my stations.
The first thing I did before even going through each individual station was reevaluate the effectiveness. If a station was too difficult for most of my students to do without my help, or it didn’t really build the skill I was hoping it would, what was the point of checking to see if all the pieces were there? I’d toss the activities I no longer wanted and jot down what skill it covered so I could find something else in its place. This helped me make sure all of my stations were intentional and not just time-fillers.
Of course, “hindsight is 20-20”, right? While I was in the classroom, I used very large carts with giant drawers to store my stations. I had one for each subject I did stations in (Reading, Phonics, Writing, Grammar, and Math). In the beginning this was great because I hadn’t accumulated a ton yet. However, by the time I left the classroom it was a mess! In preparation for homeschool, I’ve already decided that I’ll be storing mine by skills. (Ex. Blends, Digraphs, Vowel Teams, etc.) I know that would have made life soooo much easier when it came time to plan my stations for the following week.
Like any other kind of organization, the way you store your stations really has to match your personality. What methods do you prefer to organize them in your own classroom?