Here are some of the things I do to help manage station time:
1. Sometimes I have a parent volunteer (my first one ever!) that comes in. I have him help with the station that requires the most support.
2. Vocabulary station and Reading station require very little support because it is the exact SAME routine each week. That way, it's easier to supervise the other 3 groups.
3. I have a folder for each section (shown to the right) with the laminated sign, laminated directions, and any student pages inside. I keep them each in 5 different parts of the room that easily accomodate the activity.
4. I randomly group the students for this because I group them by abilities, needs, interests, and other things most of the time. I use the Grouping Bookmarks.
5. I start each class (we are departmentalized) with Science Weekly Five, so no time is wasted. They come in, put down their things, and immediately get to work.
6. I set a large timer for 15 minutes and give a 5 minute warning.
7. I keep lots of resources and books on the topic around in case the students need to look something up. They can also use any of their own personal resources or notes.
8. I encourage groupwork and collaboration, but the conversations must be two things: on topic and using a whisper.
9. I insist that they read the directions and discuss with their group before asking me a question about what to do. I rarely get any questions about what to do anymore.
10. I have cute stickers that I give out for excellent work. Some of the kids really focus on doing quality work and they like the recognition.
11. For grading, I assess the general quality and thought that went into creating 1 or 2 for each 6 weeks. I do not grade all of them because they are still in the learning process when completing them.
12. Occasionally, I have them trade booklets and discuss with a partner how they can improve the quality of their student recording packet.
13. Have fun with it! Kids love activities, doing cut and paste, and learning!
14. Assign a student to be the "Station Checker" that makes sure everything it put where it belongs at the end of station time.
15. Have a voice monitor for each group that makes sure the volume level is appropriate (my class needs that!). I don't need a task manager with this because all of the students stay on task.
16. When a group finishes their station early, they clean up and silently increase the quality of their Student Recording Packets at their seats.