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.




Kahoot quizzes – the concept and the websites – were introduced to me earlier this year. Since that time I have used other people’s, created my own, and had my year 9 English class and Level 1 External class create Kahoots as well.

Below are some links to my Kahoots, and also some student examples.

Reasons why Kahoots work for me in the classroom:

  1. If you create your own, you are testing the students, in a playful way, on the knowledge they have gained from your classes. This can be used to find out weak and strong areas of a certain task, and help you taylor (sic) your class tasks to narrow in on items which still need to be addressed and practised.
  2. You can search for ready made Kahoots if you don’t have much time. There are thousands! Also, you can check the Kahoot is suitable for your class by testing it yourself before giving it to the class.
  3. It gets really interesting when you ask the students themselves to create their own Kahoot based on the current topic of learning. I have included links to examples below.
  4. You can save the results from a Kahoot. The students all log in independently, so after a quiz has finished, you can save the results and check each student’s result. This can be used as specific and ongoing data for students, and also you can give feedback to specific students according to their results. I just noted briefly the results in my markbook.
  5. You can reward the top 5 students – who are known to everyone as these change after every question. This has an interesting advantage: Students are 100% on task and engaged, and also it brings out their competitive spirit. It really makes them do their best.  I also reward the top 5 with lollies!
  6. Even when they are creating their own, they are collaborating, researching and applying their knowledge, and therefore, also 100% on task and enthusiastic.

Some examples:

My Kahoots. I have 20. 5 have been created by me, the rest have been shared by other teachers, and my own students.

Here are two I have made for Year 9 Spanish:

Here is one I made for Level 1 English:

This is one I made for a playful revision class for Level 1:

Here is one made by a Year 9 English group of 3 boys:

Here is one made by a Level 1 student:


Term 2 Yr 8 students playing games they have created.

Yr 8 students playing games they created themselves2

Yr 8 Spanish students playing games they created themselves1

Year 10 students in library

Level 1 NCEA report 2014 (externals)

From: Gillian Taylor
Sent: 22 October 2015 10:50 AM
To: Meryl Howell
Cc: Gillian Taylor
Subject: The whole report where the excerpt came from

I have taken out specific exerpts from this report before now to show the students (part of my TAI is to include them in any reports or feedback which I receive). But I appreciate the reminder from you today, especially after the marking last night.


L1 NCEA Report 2014 Externals.pdf