Stations + Accountability

Posted by Kara Parker on September 5, 2012 in Learning Stations

In an ideal station world, all of the stations and their activities lead to one big goal. So this means I need to carefully choose activities that are challenging, relevant to their lives, and at their proficiency level (try not to take them back to Novice low!). No problem, right?!
I personally do not want to grade a sheet from each student and each station. Also that completion check does not show what they know either. However, I need to hold them accountable for learning. Here are the steps I’ve taken to get where I am today.

First time I did stations I gave each group one paper. They answered the questions from the instruction sheet at each station on this form. This was pretty easy to grade (or should I say give a completion check), but the students did not love it. Also I observed only one person in the group was filling out the paper.


Now I started thinking how everyone could be accountable. So I had an assessment at the end of class that used the new things they learned in stations. This was better. I could see evidence of their learning and students were more engaged. Example: The big goal is “I can introduce myself.” Each station has an activity to learn, and then practice, parts of this (a greetings video, article with celebrity birthdays, tweets about ages, Bucket ‘o questions, matching game with questions and their answers, put a blog post about self). Now they all lead to an assessment that is easily measurable. But so many papers to grade…


Then I thought that it may be too soon to always give an assessment for them to demonstrate their learning. Ah ha! I included a group project. At each station they still learn and practice something new. Then they add that to their project. This worked well when I made the project to create your own restaurant. One station they read a menu, then created one for their restaurant. Then they read a restaurant review before making their own. They watched some commercials, then they created one. They read coupons, they made some. They watched a video to pick up some Q/As needed at a restaurant. Then they “ran” their restaurant in class. This was so much more fun! And of course they reviewed each group’s restaurant in the end. Four Stars!!


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21 comments for “Stations + Accountability”

  1. Jeanne says:

    How long did this take? Your blog and ideas are wonderful Thanks so much for sharing and providing tons of food for thought!

    1. Kara says:

      How long to go from papers to projects? 9 years. 🙂 How long to make the stations with projects lesson plan? 1 planning period.

  2. Carmen says:

    How much time does it take for them to complete all of these stations and parts of the project? Does everything happen in class? How many station projects do you give a quarter?

    1. Kara says:

      When I add the project part, it usually takes 3-4 days for them to complete all of them. If I don’t do the projects, it takes one day. we do everything in class. Internet translators become a problem when they do it at home. I generally do one per unit, so 8 for the whole year.

  3. Tammy says:

    I am assuming that the 8 projects are in addition to the Unit Stamp activities and the Real World HW?
    Do you:
    1. Assign points for completing each of these three items (stamps, HW, projects) and tool what they earn?

    2. For Assesment, use the rubrics to determine levels and either assign a grade or point value (as explained in another post)?

    HOW do you blend these together #1 & #2 together for a “grade”?

    This is where I am stuck in putting your philosophy in place. I start on Martes (9/11) and need to be able to explain this to my class.

    MEGAN – how do you “grade”?

    1. Kara says:

      I would count these stations AS unit stamp if they are showing what they can do, not in addition, unless I really wanted to “quiz” them like in a Q/A station. 1. No points given for completion of tasks (unless I give them a stamp, then technically that will count as points). They are only graded based on what level they produce at. They have to do all parts for me to even assess. No partial work accepted. That’s easy to explain to parents/admin. They have to be able to do (insert goals) so I can assess. If they can’t do it, then they don’t pass it. 2. Yes. I use the rubric to give one overall grade for each student or for them as a group. Let me say that a proficiency approach to teaching is difficult to think if as points and grades. It is not traditional. Students PERFORM, not complete. If a student doesn’t do an assignment, but can do the task, then I’m happy. I explain it like this: your grade is not based on what you complete, it is based on your proficiency level.

      1. Catherine Lafin says:

        Do you ever build in a progress grade? How to figure this in? A student who sticks with something that is difficult for him or her. A brilliant student who already has the proficiency level your teaching but is in your class?

        1. Kara says:

          In the past, I adjusted the proficiency goal (lower or higher) for those students.

  4. I simply love Tara’s reponse, especially after listening to the keynote speaker of my back to school day. We plan and teach for diversity, but are not use to assess for diversity. Each student should be evaluated according to his or her initial level and his or her progress. One size does not fit all, especially in word languages. Mostly all our classes are multilevel, whether they are label or not. Each student should be able to advance. That is why I use and abuse my learning centers, where each student has the opportunity to move forward at his or her own pace, using his or her favorite media, with out beign stressed by a grade.

    1. Kara says:

      Beautifully said!

  5. Vanessa says:

    Would you be kind enough to share the rubric you then use to grade the group projects? I find group projects to be tricky when it comes to grading.

    1. Kara says:

      Sure! It’s the same one I use for every assessment. I’m only grading their language, not their visuals.

  6. Emily says:

    Any ideas for what to do with native speakers in class? I am teaching elementary school Spanish and have a few heritage speakers in my classes. Just wanting some thoughts on how to keep them intrigued in class….

    1. Kara says:

      Good question. I don’t know much about this. Ours “test out” or have to take a different language. Anyone else have suggestions?

    2. Kara says:

      Good question. I don’t know much about this. Ours “test out” or have to take a different language. Anyone else have suggestions?

  7. Emily G. says:

    Greetings! I’m doing a similar menu project in my classes and I want to give my students good input for dialogue in a restaurant. I’m striking out on Youtube… what video do you use as a model???

    1. Kara says:

      I don’t have a great authentic one. Anyone else?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Could you share the rubric you presented here? I can´t quite make it out and I am interested

  9. shalom zeigfinger says:

    Re: rubric I forgot to leave my contact info

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