Churchland Media Center has been making the shift towards a Learning Center since last year. My philosophy, instruction, and focus has been on integrating STEAM into the media center so students have opportunities to experience these different areas. Last year at the end of the year, I began a set of rotations that focused on STEAM activities. After watching the students’ excitement grow as they explored something different each week, I knew this had to become a full time thing this year! I see all students for 30 minutes each week. I’ve set up the stations in different areas of the media center so the students are spread out over the entire media center.
How do I manage it? Students check out as soon as they enter the media center. After they check out they grab their large popsicle stick (that they designed the second week of school) and choose one station to visit during their time in the media center. Each station has a different colored pocket on a bulletin board.
Students put their stick into the pocket of the station they want to visit. Each station can only have a predetermined number of students/sticks and they know this by a number written under the pocket. For example, Building and engineering can have 3 people/sticks, but Reading can have 8.
Once they’ve chosen their station, they get their Station card that looks like a BINGO card but doesn’t have letters on it and they walk to that station. As soon as they get there, they get a colored dot that matches the colored label and place it on the Station card. This lets me know they’ve been to a certain station already. They are not allowed to repeat a color until they have all the colors unless I approve it for a special reason such as they don’t finish what they are creating in Makerspace and need another week to finish. At that point, I write my initials on the 2nd dot to indicate I approved it. At the end of class, students turn in their popsicle stick and Station card into a mailbox so we’ll have them next week. The following week they will choose a different station to visit.
This method helps keep things organized without me have to formulate groups for 20 classes and tell them their station. It also gives them some ownership as to what they get to choose first and an opportunity to visit with their friends while they are engaged and learning. I believe we all like to be around people we like and connect with when we go to workshops so why not let the students do it as long as it’s not disruptive? Additionally, those students who do not return their books have to wait to choose their station until all students have checked out. I’m hoping this will encourage more of them to return their books on time.
As of now, they have eight stations that they can choose from:
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