Year 7 and 8 Workstations. Trials and tribulations!

Term 2 2016

I decided to use the concept of workstations at the end of term to make the last lesson fun, and educational, and to give the students the feeling they had learnt some Spanish and could use it.

One blog I had read on the subject was this one:

Using Centers and Stations to Teach World Language

From this I learnt that preparation is everything. I started to think about which topics the students had learnt, and what I wanted them to practise to have a ‘feel good’ feeling at the end of the term.

I also learnt that workstations, because of the variety of games/tasks on offer, provides a quick, fun and engaging lesson.

Finally, I decided to use workstations because I wanted to get to know what year 7 and 8 students can do by themselves, and how they organise themselves into pairs, groups etc. This is the first year I have taught year 7 students!

Another one is this:

I learnt how to set up the workstations. I decided to create 5. Each one would have a number, a clear title, and instructions. It did take quite a while, but since I was going to use these for 3 classes this term, and probably next term as well, I figured it would be worth the investment in time.

Something I did not do was put specific links to any digital sites, as not all year 7s have their own device. I might change this later.

I also learnt that this teacher uses workstations regularly. Since I only see each class twice a week I am not sure this would work for me.

Update after Term 2:

The workstations were a hit! The students were keen to get started, and remained enthusiastic bar a couple of students having ‘off days’. I spent some time with them to motivate them to keep going and work with their friends.

The first time was a bit chaotic, so the second time (another year 7 class) I wrote brief instructions on the board first, and took a bit more time to check the students understood what they were doing.

The year 8 students were more ‘mature’ in their attitudes and got through the games quicker. I am going to adapt the workstations, and perhaps introduce one where they have to create something?? Not sure what.

Update after Term 3:

I updated the workstations, refreshed some of the resources, made sure the instructions were clear. I noticed that slowly I am becoming ‘in charge’ again. Not sure if that is the idea, perhaps it is just closer to my particular style of teaching. I am not good at letting students get really loud and chaotic (in my eyes), so I added some order to the lesson. For instance, each group had to let me know they had finished, and wait to swap with another group, they could not just finish up, and join another workstation.

Plans for term 4?

Thinking about setting up workstations as a means of learning, not just revising and playing. Wondering how ‘learner agency’ fits in with learning at workstations.



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