Through the course of the last academic year one of my aims was to develop more independence in my learners.
I tried several approaches which I’ve documented in other posts, including seating plans, GCSE help yourself display and attempts at flipped learning.
I’ve learnt so much from the process as have my students, particularly those in year 7 and 8.
The ‘Help Yourself’ Resource Station was probably the most successful approach.
What is it?
Quite simply the ‘Help Yourself’ Resource Station is a table and display board with resources that will support my students in their learning.
It includes a wide range of resources and templates that students can access freely to support their learning.
The display board contained resources for each year group on the topic they were currently studying. These could have been in the form of information sheets, activities or worksheets.
In addition students had access to DIRT sheets and a support sheet for using historical sources and later the 5 Minute Help Yourself sheet.
At times, other useful information got added to the space on the board such as project sign up sheets and reminders.
The table contained a wide variety of relevant resources that students can help themselves to in order to scaffold and support their learning.
– Timelines support sheets
-Note taking laminate
-Key word lists
-Topic support mats (placemats)
-Humanities Skills Mats such as the Using Sources Support Mat
-Self and peer assessment sheets
-Templates and blank maps for classwork
Along side the resources there were whiteboard pens and equipment available for students to access when required.
How is it used?
Once set up the resource station runs itself, you will need to monitor and replenish now and then but on the whole it’s pretty simple.
Students collect the resources they need based on their own decisions or your guidance. At first it took some training but by the end of the year students were happily helping themselves to the required resources.
For example I had some students that needed spelling support, they’d help themselves at the start of the lesson to the key word list and their literacy marking would focus on the correct spelling of those key words. If they spelt the word incorrectly, they would use the key word list to find the correct spelling and write it out 3 times and within a sentence. at first it took some reminding but eventually they become independent in the approach (with fewer spelling mistakes).
Often main activities in my lesson have an opportunity for choice in presentation and format, the templates and blank maps work effectively for this allowing students to make their own decisions in how they present their work.
Personally I feel it’s enabled many of my students to become more independent in their learning, in particular the high and middle ability. I felt low ability students needed more encouragement to use the resources available to them but eventually some of them were accessing them without prompt.
If I were to change anything I’d add a challenge section with generic activities that could be applied to any topic.
I’ve uploaded a load of the resources I’ve used here. Many of them I have not made from scratch and instead have used or amended resources I’ve collected over the years. If one of them is your, please let me know and I will add credit where credit it due.
If you have any questions about the ‘Help Yourself’ Resource Station, just ask.
Hope you’ve been inspired.