At our last district professional development, I had the honor of presenting one of my very favorite teaching topics, stations with intervention!
For elementary school teachers, intervention might be something that is done weekly and can be handled with your eyes closed. However, with middle school and high school teachers, station groups with a teacher table are not necessarily common. In fact, it can be a foreign concept altogether.
In the teaching world, we define intervention as a teacher working independently with a small group (or one student) while assessing and helping specific students’ needs. With a class of thirty, intervening can be challenging, and I am here to shed light on how easy it can truly be.
I typically have three station groups three times a week (M, W, and F). At those three stations, I have different skills that I want students to review and reflect on. One out of the three stations is a teacher table where I work with a group of students and the other stations work independently.
If you want to learn about how I format my stations, I linked a bitly from my PD presentation here, however, I wanted to clarify a couple of things that are completely necessary to understand if considering interventions.
There are true benefits when you incorporate a small group
When you work with a small group of students, really awesome things happen not only with instruction but with relationships as well. You rarely have discipline problems because of the proximity, and it allows students to ask questions in a small group setting that they might not feel comfortable asking in a big group. Students can really grasp concepts because you are at their beck and call the whole class period, which can´t always happen in a large class setting.
You must set expectations high and keep them consistent
If you have two-third of the class working independently, classroom management is a must. My students are highly aware of what is expected of them when stations are in place, and it really pushes them to communicate in their group and use problem-solving skills. I strongly suggest a reward incentive (I use Class Dojo) for positive enforcement. You can find my specific expectations in the link above on the last slide.
When I group my students, I place them very strategically. We use MAP and unit assessment data, and it allows me to meet my students where they are academically and encourage growth. I will clarify that if one student simply cannot handle being with another student, move them and accommodate accordingly. It will be more beneficial for both those students in the long run if they are less distracted. Make good judgment calls as a teacher, it´s your class!
Once stations are in place, they are a well-oiled machine.
I am not exaggerating when I say I absolutely love station days. Once your students understand how everything works, they run so smoothly and you can really appreciate the growth, flexibility from students, and the structure you put in place for their benefit. Not to mention, since I do the same thing three times a week, lesson planning is a piece of cake!
I have been blessed with awesome administration and co-workers that understand the importance and time stations take. This easy approach to intervention can be done with any content, it does not only have to be English. Be patient with the process, for it may take time but is always worth it when persevering. As always, if you have a different approach or questions, please let me know! I would love to chat. In the meantime, let´s get to intervening!