As we have worked through the unit, many of my students have been struggling to complete their homework. Most of the time, this means that they are struggling with the material. I want to give them the opportunity to be proactive in seeking help, so today's lesson begins with self-identification of topics for review. Each group has a small stack of sticky notes. I project a list of the topics covered in this unit so far. The Bell Work task for today is to complete a quick survey of topics students need more instruction. My students will vote via sticky note for topics that require the most immediate attention.
Once the students identify where they need to review, I turn the list of topics into Stations. I ask for volunteers who are expert at any of the listed topics. My students know that in my classroom an expert is someone that can teach someone else the material. I remind students that experts can answer questions, but he/she should not just give answers.
If all stations are manned by at least one expert, I move around the room to answer any questions and make sure the experts are answering questions correctly. If necessary, I staff one of the stations myself. Then, students move to stations where they need help. We will rotate stations at 10-minute intervals, since it is often the case that students need help at more than one station.
Since some students do not feel as if they are experts, but they prefer to work alone to firm up their understanding, I always have one station where students can work on completing or reviewing difficult assignments. When things are working well, more and more students park at this station as the lesson proceeds.
After 10 minutes I tell students they may move to a new station which includes the work independently station. If an expert needs help on a topic I also let that student switch roles. If necessary, stations can be closed for a round or two.
After students have completed 3 rotations through the stations, I bring the class back together. I ask the students to go back to the sticky notes posted at the start of class and remove a note if they do not need help with a topic any more. This process is a quick update for me on the progress of the class.
With the remaining time, I look over the remaining sticky notes and pick one topic to work as a class. I will also remind students about tutoring options as class ends.