student learning with teacher using an tablet

Keeping things moving, both figuratively and literally, in the classroom is key to a smooth day. Kids get tired, struggle to keep their focus and sometimes boredom sets in, so as every teacher knows, they must continually come up with creative solutions to combat this.

One tried-and-true approach is implementing learning stations in your classroom. With learning stations, it can provide a much needed shift away from traditional front-of-the-class teaching to a mode where students are up and actively engaged in learning.

What Is a Learning Station?

A learning station is a designated zone or area in the classroom that’s dedicated to focusing on a specific task or learning objective. These are typically something that students can complete without the assistance of the teacher or an aid, but depending on the material or the complexity of the task, sometimes it’s helpful to have a bit of guidance from an adult.

Usually, students visit the stations in small groups and then rotate on to the next once they’ve completed the task at hand. The natural flow of the rotation from center to center around the room allows for students to benefit from both a brain break and movement break.

The often hands-on approach can help with engagement and retention as well. And don’t forget the fun factor, as learning stations are usually a treat that students can get excited about!

How to Set up Learning Stations in your Classroom that Students Will Love

So how do you create learning stations that are fun and educational for your students, but without being too costly or time intensive to set up? Good news – there are dozens of options that can provide a memorable learning experience all while being manageable for teachers!

Here are just a few of our favorite suggestions for how to set up learning stations in your classroom that students will love:

Engage all the senses
Active all their senses when you create learning stations for students that cover each of the five senses: touch, taste, feel, hear and see. As kids move through the stations, have them put their hand through a cardboard hole with items like cooked spaghetti, pine cones and gummy bears on the other side and ask them to describe what they are feeling, without being able to see it, and guess what it is. In a similar fashion, have them move on to the next sensory station and put their best guesses to work!

Sticky-note word scramble
This is a fun idea that involves a bit of teamwork as well as vocabulary and reading skills. Write out a simple sentence consisting of maybe 10 words that students should recognize, but place just a single word on a notecard on its own. Flip the cards over and mix them up and ask students to sort them out together to make a sentence. You may be surprised at the variations they come up with to form a sentence, not to mention that laughs that are sure to accompany the task!

Silly story telling
Similar to the word scramble, another communication type of stations could be where students use story prompts to create their own stories. Print sheets of paper with a few prompts scattered across the lines to get students going, and then ask them to let their imaginations wander as they fill in the blank, Mad Lib style. This station is also guaranteed to result in plenty of belly aches from all the laughter.

What did you say?
A great way to test students’ listening skills is to have a listening station where one student silently reads a line from a notecard (with intentional potential for funny mix-ups to occur), and then whispers it to the student next to him or her. Each student tries to remember what they heard and then repeat it to the next person, and on down the line until each person has heard the whisper. Then the last person says out loud what they thought they heard, and the person repeats the original note, and once again – giggles are sure to ensue, as everyone hears how far off the two usually are.

Puppet show
Set up a small puppet show area and provide kids with a topic that relates to a recent classroom lesson, and let them get creative with their interpretation of the material. While at the station, the group can split into two as they take turns being both performers and audience members.

Add it up
…or subtract, multiply or divide. Dominoes lend themselves perfectly to a math-based learning station. Create a stack of cards with instructions to add, subtract, multiply and divide, and give students a pile of dominoes and have them draw a card to let them know what they should do with the numbers on each end of their dominoes. Students write the corresponding equation and answer for each of the dominoes in their pile, one at a time, until complete.

As I see it…
Art stations can be among the most enjoyable learning stations for your students, as this is a place where they can express themselves in ways they may not often get the chance to. Post a picture of something you’d like your students to interpret – maybe it’s the school mascot, maybe it’s a figure from the lesson about space that you’ve recently been discussing or maybe it’s a prominent landmark in your town. Whichever subject matter you choose, keep it covered up until students arrive at the station and then once they do, ask them to draw, paint or color their version of its likeness. Then, step back and behold their masterpieces.

Get Hands On With Math in the Classroom

These ideas just scratch the surface for ideas on how to set up learning stations in your classroom that students will love. Each can be adapted to fit the size of your classroom, the age of your students, how much space you have to work with in the room, and other important considerations. Most importantly, giving kids an opportunity to move about and have some fun while learning will certainly lead to a successful session for all.

At Raymond Geddes, we’re here to support educators in achieving their classroom goals, including how to set up learning stations in your classroom that students will love. Contact us today or request a school supply catalog and learn more about the supplies and resources from Raymond Geddes.