How Stations Can Provide Choice & Exploration During Book Checkout, While Reinforcing Curriculum Goals.
|Osmo Tangram Station|
We rolled out stations with little to announcement or instruction:
|An hour of code computer station ( 6 computers)|
|Listening Station (1 of 3)|
Our first stations were simple and aligned with literature appreciation:
Our first stations to be introduced were the "Readbox" and listening stations. The Readbox had been introduced last year as the only station during book checkout (link to blog post). At this station, students can scan a QR code next to a book to view a 30 second ChatterPix review of it created by a peer. At our listening stations, students in groups could read along with a book on a tape. Along with providing comfortable bean bag chairs for quiet reading, we saw an immediate transformation in how students engaged during book checkout time. The need to manage student behavior during this free time dropped significantly. Students who forgot to return a book could immediately join a listening station or explore the Readbox. Other students who quickly found a book had choices to engage in if they wished to read it at a later time.
|Our Readbox of student created book reviews|
|Students watching/reading along with Bookflix videos|
After finding the students engaging well in the initial stations, we next introduced our final literature appreciation station - the Bookflix Station. We logged a row of 6 computers on to the Scholastic Bookflix database. Initially we chose a specific Weston Woods video ahead of time for the students to watch, but quickly found that students learned from each other how to navigate the site and find the stories that interested them. After seeing our own "hole in the wall" experiment work we no longer selected the videos for students and allowed free choice.
|Bookflix home page|
After building a culture of engaging in free choice stations, our next ones involved greater use of technology and focused on collaboration, tech skills, and problem solving:
After a month of rolling out our various literature appreciation stations, we placed two Osmo Tangram stations in the library without any explanation. When groups of students inevitably found and flocked to these stations, we discussed common sense rules for taking turns, sharing, and collaborating. These two Osmo stations became so popular, that we had to introduce a new rule to our stations - you must check out your book before engaging in a station. This rule helped prevent students from waiting until the last minute of library to check out their book (an unintended consequence of our stations that we hoped to avoid.) Given the success of the Osmo Tangram station, we added three new Osmo stations. This included one "Newton" station, and two Coding stations. While occasionally we will need to intervene in groups that struggle to take turns, I have been incredibly impressed and thrilled by the level of collaboration and teamwork seen at these stations. Our final station to be introduced was during the Hour of Code week, when we logged another row of 6 computers on to Kodable. Again, we provided no instructions and allowed the students to explore and learn together.
|Osmo "Newton" Station|
In the week leading to our holiday break, a 1st grade student asked me if she had library class on December 23rd. When I asked why, she told me with a somber expression that her family was leaving for Disney World on the 23rd, and she didn't want to miss library. If for that student, her elementary school library can compete with Disney World for her interest, then I like where we are heading.