Two Station Rotation: Frontloading Vocabulary and Differentiating Activities

At the beginning of the year, I asked students to answer the age old question, “What is your favorite subject?”  Most students answered, “science!”

However, when we got down to the nitty-gritty of learning, it was pretty obvious that some students found science easy, while others find the content confusing. That divide was based largely on content knowledge and prior knowledge. 

One Solution:  Two Station Rotation 

Group 1- 30 minutes computer, 30 minutes teacher center
Group 2- 30 minutes teacher center, 30 minutes computer
Closing- 10-20 minutes

Group 1 

Screenshot 2015-12-12 at 10.03.19 AM The playlist includes an INM video, usually through educanon, note taking and vocabulary practice on quizlet.

After 30 minutes, the students in group 1 rotate to the teacher center to receive direct instruction.  The teacher center objective is aligned to what students are practicing in the computer center.  

I start the lesson by discussing the video with the students, or pulling educanon data.  

Students are eager to discuss what they learned independently and are able to engage in the lesson without being held back by vocabulary gaps.  

Group 2

Students first receive direct instruction.  I’ll give the go-head for students to work on group 2 computer activities when they show mastery.  Anyone who needs more practice can either stay in teacher center for a second at bat, or they can access the group 1 computer content on the google classroom. 

Group 2 Activities- Exploration, Extend Your Thinking Questions  

Screenshot 2015-12-12 at 10.22.32 AM

Screenshot 2015-12-12 at 10.21.43 AM

The Pros-   

  1. Front-loading Vocabulary and Content- The two station rotation allows students to preview the day’s lesson before receiving direct instruction.
  2. Independence- 100% of students can work independently on the computer and articulate their purpose on the computer. Most students taken ownership of their success by rewatching a video if they have a low score.
  3. Teacher to Student Ratio- We all know that a decreased ratio allows teachers to provide feedback quickly and frequently.  
  4. Academic Performance- Students on average meet the exit ticket goal every day.

The Cons-

  1. Boredom- This was an awesome structure at first, but now students are tired of their daily routine.  30 minutes of independent computer work doesn’t sit well with all students.  
  2. Learning Styles-  Some students who were in computer group 1 never got the chance to play the games or do explorations.  A student who has vocabulary gaps, or struggles academically, should not have to miss out on the fun part.  In fact, the fun, is usually what makes it… stickiest!   
  3. Discourse- Some of the students that were in computer group 1 never got to discuss the content with the highest learners in the class.  I tried tacking on a class closing so that all students discussed the lesson together, but it doesn’t compensate for the in the moment student to student feedback. 

In the Think-Tank

Do you use centers in your class? 

I want to keep using centers in my class, but I know It’s time to mix up what goes on every day.  

Are students in heterogenous or homogenous groups?   

I’ve recently switched up the groups in science.  They sit next to their ELA buddy.  Stay tuned… 




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