I was really excited to see Tina’s blog on using stations as a teaching tool. I echo that when I’ve used them, the students have been engaged, on-task and really enjoyed the variety of learning experiences offered to them. I also agree that they are a lot of work to set up but the end result is definitely rewarding.
Stations are valuable because they can be used for all levels of assessment – diagnostic, formative and summative and also are ideal for differentiated instruction. Depending on how often you use them, it can definitely be worth the investment of time and money.
In Core French, it would be interesting to have a listening station and related activities especially if you had access to a wireless portable lab. Even reading stations could be a really creative way to focus on different types of texts and useful strategies. In fact, as long as you have gone to the trouble of setting them up, stations don’t have to just be used for one day but could even last for a week-long investigation/activity.
I could also see them being used as a way to keep the rest of the class productively occupied while affording you the chance to work with a small group of students (that in itself could be one of your stations) and a golden opportunity for differentiated instruction/assessment. I think that if you were to use them on a regular basis, it would also be beneficial and efficient to practice each activity with the whole class beforehand so that, on the chosen day(s), they would know exactly what to do and no long-winded explanation would be necessary.
As a final inspired thought, you could also chose selected students who were trained in advance to run and supervise each station as a leadership opportunity which would free you up to kick back and relax – enjoy an extra large cappuccino and the front section of your morning paper while the class virtually runs itself like a well-oiled machine;).