And Rotate! Blended Learning in the Social Studies Classroom

Image from Jennifer Gonzalez of Cult of Pedagogy

When I mention stations in the classroom, does your mind automatically jump to the organized chaos of a Kindergarten classroom? Could I convince you to jump to a social studies classroom instead?  Station Rotation is another Blended Learning model that promotes technology integration and differentiation, while enhancing learning in the classroom.


Stations are a great way to provide students with content through a variety of learning activities. Students can be working individually, with partners or small groups, with the teacher, and with or without technology all in the same class at the same time. Sound like organized chaos that could work in your classroom?

Have a great hands-on activity you want to do with your class but it would work best with only half of your students? Have a great technology lesson but you only have access to 5 devices for your classroom? Need time to conference one-on-one with students or small groups? Have an active group of students who lose focus if they are sitting for too long (honestly, who doesn’t!)?

Stations can be a solution for all of these problems because you can solve all of them at the same time, in the same lesson, during the same class period. For example, when addressing the TransAtlantic Slave Trade, the teacher explicitly taught the content while providing several formative assessments and then grouped students based on their scores.

The Station Rotation lesson could have one station asking students to work with a partner to annotate a primary source from a slave after being taken captive in Africa, one station could have students complete an EdPuzzle individually using a video on the Middle Passage, and one station could have students working in a small group to discuss the motives behind slavery in the New World. The last station could have students meeting with the teacher to either reteach information that was missed on formative assessments or complete extension activities to build on the information that was correct on formative assessments. The possibilities are endless!

For your students who haven’t been in stations since Kindergarten or for the teachers who have never considered the possibility of stations, there may be a learning curve as far as classroom management is concerned.  Here are some tips to help promote a successful Station Rotation lessons in your classroom:

  • Create and post explicit expectations and directions for each station including how students will complete the activity, who they are allowed to work with, what level their voices should be at, and what will be assessed from the station (having something for each station will help to monitor student participation)
  • Start with a small number of stations and build your way up to more advanced rotations
  • Eliminate the teacher station in the beginning so that you are able to actively monitor each station during the entire lesson
  • Preview each station as an entire class to eliminate any misunderstandings
  • Review the stations as entire class at the end of the lesson to ensure expectations were met and that the intended purpose of each station was met

Are you currently using stations in your classroom?  Share your advice, tips, and tricks here!

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