Stations: Interacting with Multiple Texts


In a stations activity, small groups of students move from station to station to read, watch, and interpret a variety of resources that focus on an event, theme, or question from multiple perspectives. Groups of students spend an allotted amount of time at each station interacting with the material and either answering questions or engaging in a reflective activity. The stations activity works well to launch a new unit or to explore in more depth something students have already studied. When the teacher selects from different kinds of content—informational texts, poetry, art, photography, maps, video or audio clips—students can engage with the material using multiple modalities thus allowing them to reach a deeper understanding of the event, theme, or question than they might having read or discussed just one or two texts.


  1. Select Texts and Plan Stations
    • Decide how many stations you would like to have (4-6 works well), how much time groups will spend at each station, what students will do at each station, and what texts you plan to use. Think about the different kinds of media that you might use so students have multiple access points to engage with the topic. For example, you might select informational texts, short videos (if you have a computer in your classroom that students can gather around), images (including photographs, maps, or artwork), and poetry. A variety is ideal. When collecting resources, it is important that students can complete each station activity in about the same amount of time so they are ready to move to the next station together.
    • Copy any necessary materials for each station and place them in numbered or labeled folders (Station 1, Station 2, etc.). Make enough copies of each folder so that there is one available for each group member to use while they visit each station (i.e. if you have divided students into groups of four, have four copies of each folder at each station).
    • Create instructions or discussion questions for each station. You might staple these instructions to the station’s folder. Alternatively, you might select a teaching strategy, such as a 3-2-1 or S-I-T response, that students complete in their journals at each station.
    • Think about if you will create random, heterogeneous, or leveled groups for the stations, or if students will select their own groups. Set up the classroom so there are table groups for each station.
  2. Prepare Students
    Tell students that they will be working with a group to move through a series of stations where they will learn about a specific topic. Explain to students the instructions for each station and how much time they have to complete the work at each station.

  3. Students Move through Stations
    Assign each group to begin at a different station, and ask the groups to move to their first stations. As students work, circulate to listen in on their conversations or work with struggling groups if they need help understanding the text or instructions. Instruct groups to move to the next station after the allotted amount of time has passed until the all of the groups have visited every station.

  4. Debrief the Stations Activity
    Debrief the activity as a class if you have time. Consider drawing from the following questions during your debrief:

    • What conclusions did you draw about the topic from the variety of resources you examined?
    • What information was corroborated by multiple resources?
    • What conflicts did you notice between information or perspectives provided by different resources?
    • Which station was the most informative for you and why? Which station was the most challenging for you and why? Which station did you enjoy the most and why?
    • What questions do you have now that you have visited all of the stations?

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