Station Rotation

Alan Fiedler, Kindai University

Quick Guide

  • Keywords: 4-skill, topic-based, learner centered, scalable
  • Learner English level: Low intermediate and above
  • Learner maturity: Junior high school and above
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Activity time: 40 minutes +
  • Materials: Topic-based graded readers, dice, worksheets (see Appendices)

Station Rotation is a 4-skill, quick moving, topic-based teaching activity. It begins with an introduction/brainstorming task and then transitions into the three stations: reading, writing and games (speaking/listening). The lesson is adaptable and scalable to account for maturity level, English ability, and class time. I generally run Station Rotation in 40 minutes (Four 10-minute intervals. Each actual segment is eight minutes, followed by a 2-minute transition to the next station). Station Rotation enables the teacher to be a facilitator in a student-centered, interactive, multi-task learning environment. Working in small groups on varying tasks while assisting and interacting with classmates, students are engaged and eager to participate.


Step 1: Introduction/Brainstorming segment: Prepare flashcards or images of what sports are played on or in: water, ice, snow, sand, grass, wood, road, and so on. See Appendix A.

Step 2: Reading station: Gather sports-themed graded readers. Individual or pair reading is possible.

Step 3: Writing station: Print out worksheets (A4, double-sided). See Appendix B.

Step 4: Game station (Speaking/Listening): Sports question strips. See Appendix C. Provide one dice per student at this station.

Step 5: Split class into three groups—Group A at the reading station, Group B at the writing station, and Group C at the games station (speaking/listening). Each station is comprised of a large table or desk cluster.


Introduction/Brainstorm: Engage and familiarize students with lesson lexicon; approximately 10 minutes.

Step 1: Show images (snow, water, grass, etc.). Elicit responses. Write responses as headings on whiteboard.

Step 2: Mime sports and elicit responses.

Step 3: Point to headings on whiteboard. Ask students, for example, what sport is played on grass. Write the student answer under the heading ‘grass’. Encourage each group to think of three more sports per heading. Give one minute and then elicit responses. Write responses on whiteboard. For completed example, see Appendix A.

Begin Station Rotation

Step 1: Students stay seated at their station. Disseminate graded readers to reading station, worksheets to writing station, and question strips and dice to game station. Explain that each group will rotate after eight minutes.

Step 2:

Reading station: Encourage pair reading. It enables stronger students to help weaker students and reduces the number of books needed.

Writing station: Place worksheets, pencils, and erasers on the table. Explain instructions and encourage students to help each other. Check back periodically. Collect worksheets at the end of the segment. See Appendix B: Writing Station.

Game station: Students roll dice simultaneously. Winner picks up a strip (turned face down) and reads the sports related question to the classmate on his/her left. The student who amasses the most strips wins. The teacher should explain and model the game procedure. See Appendix C: Game Station.                     

After eight minutes, time is up. Student groups rotate to the next station. Continue until each group completes the three-station rotation.


Station Rotation, as evidenced by the sports-themed lesson plan, is easily adaptable and thus can be an oft-used teaching activity. In fact, it works best when conducted frequently, as students better understand the concept and procedure. Station Rotation is an effective, enjoyable method that enhances learner input and output. Finally, as content and lexicon can be easily adjusted, Station Rotation works well with junior high students and above.


The appendices are available below: