Shifting Hands-on Stations to Digital Collaboration

November 21, 2020

Activities that were once hands-on are now digital with three possibilities for collaboration: small group lessons, partner work, or peer review.
My pre-pandemic classroom was a place where students moved freely around, worked with partners or small groups almost daily, and frequently engaged in hands-on activities. Now I'm alone in my classroom, partners and small groups are in virtual breakout rooms, and even when we return in person, hands-on activities will have to be limited.

This summer, in an effort to prepare for these changes, I reenvisioned my skill-based stations for digital use. The manipulatives that students would normally sort and match at the desks can now function similarly on their computer screen.

1. Small Group Lesson

One way to use these stations digitally would be in a small group lesson. Share the link to the Google Slides version of the stations with students in the group and then share the slides on your screen. Students can take turns moving the manipulatives. As a group you can discuss the correct and incorrect moves. What would be one station in person is usually broken up over several slides, so you could also assign students a slide within a station and then review all of the slides for each station together. Don't forget to move the pieces back to the work area before using the slides with the next group.

Activities that were once hands-on are now digital with three possibilities for collaboration: small group lessons, partner work, or peer review.

2. Partner Work With Whole Class Review


Another way to use these stations digitally would be to assign them on Google Classroom so that each students gets their own copy of the slides. Pair students together in breakout rooms and allow them to share their screens to make working together easier. Students can discuss the stations and collaborate on their answers, and are still accountable for completing their own work. After students have had time to work through the stations with their partners, bring the class back together and review the correct answer as a whole class.

3. Independent Work With Peer Review

A third way to use these stations digitally would be to again assign them on Google Classroom so that each students gets their own copy of the slides. Before pairing students off to review, let students first work through the slides independently. After students have completed their work on their own, pair them up in a breakout room to review the assignments. Students will complete a Google Form as they discuss their work and indicate whether their answer were the same or different. If students' answers differ, they will explain the mix up or confusion. They also have the option to indicate that they'd like to review specific stations with the teacher.

You can find all my stations activities, which all include print and digital versions, here.

Activities that were once hands-on are now digital with three possibilities for collaboration: small group lessons, partner work, or peer review.

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