So you’re ready to ditch your centers in upper elementary, but you are still unsure how to start implementing a goal station? Today, I'm going to share with you ten tips to make it happen!
Tip #1: Organize your activities in bins based on the content or the focus
Breaking down broad topics will help to ensure that students have a clear understanding of where to find the materials.
Use black file bins for organizing my goal station into an Ikea four cube shelf system. Each bin has its own category with the files organized using hanging file folders.
Examples of categories I use: Fiction Comprehension, Informational Comprehension, Grammar, Words/ Vocabulary, and Fluency
Tip #2: Have a code for organizing your materials
Find a system that works best for you and your students.
I prefer to use a system with abbreviations and numbers.
For example, if a student is working on the Figurative Language folder labeled S2 (for Simile 2) then the materials in that folder will be labeled with FL: S2
Tip #3: Have a way to maintain small materials
I recommend using zipper pockets attached to brad folders. This allows you to place items that are laminated in the side pockets and for those smaller items you can place them inside of the zipper pouch. If you are wanting to cut down on cost, try using ziploc bags. When you open the ziploc bag, you can staple one side to the folder, making a pocket that seals.
Tip #4: Keep all of your instructional materials in your LMS
I use Canva and I have created slides for each phase of learning.
Students access the slides from Schoology and they are able to click through the slides and access the resources I have provided.
If you don’t have this ability, you can have QR codes on pages that are laminated.
Students can scan with their device or you can keep a couple of ipads or computers next to your station for students to use.
Tip #5: Have a range of materials for your station
Some of my favorite ideas are:
Games (board games, card games, matching games etc.)
Sorts (I love sorts because there are so many possibilities. From T chart sorts to Venn Diagram sorts, you can have students practice organizing information in lots of different ways
Projects are the final component for the types of activities and these can range in many formats. Remember, to start small and grow.
Tip #6: Keep a log of your goal station activities using Google Sheets
I break up each tab at the bottom of Google sheets into the different bins that I have available for my class.
I list out each of the activities under that category as I print and make them.
Tip #7: Maintain a weekly goal sheet for checking in students
Have a page that allows you to track what students are working on for the week or month.
Tip #8: Meet with students in groups
I can go over anything they are working on, give instruction as needed, and check through work that they have completed.
This process lasts anywhere from 10-15 minutes and I am able to meet with 5-7 students at one time.
Tip #9: Close your goal station 10-15 minutes before the end of your class
Having a closing time to your goal station will keep your students from rushing and throwing things without putting them back properly.
This also gives you time to start wrapping things up.
Tip #10: Create a routine to clean out materials or change out activities
Work to develop a routine to clean out materials or even change them out based on the space you have in your classroom.
For me, I will look through my materials once a month.
Want to watch the full video of me sharing how I manage goal stations? You can watch it here!