Stations Learning / Carousel Workshop / Free Learning Arrangements


  • Set up a team of teachers that collaborate in the design of the workshop!
  • Think of a packaging strategy and solve your local storage problems!
  • Ask the management to fund the materials!
  • Inform other faculty members about the materials – don’t just create them for yourself!
  • If possible, let some students join the planning team!
  • Inform your students about the requirements for your workshop – is there anything they need to bring?


  • First of all, think of the context in which the materials should be used: in regular classes or in special learning labs?
  • Choose a topic which has a clear connection to current activities in class!
  • Make sure that the activities you have planned are suitable for what you want to achieve!
  • The language level should be just right – neither too easy nor too challinging.
  • The same applies to content. Avoid content that is completely new, extremely complex or abstract!
  • Find materials your students find interesting and appealing!

Typical activities include…

  • Jig-saw puzzles
  • Listening activities and gap-filling
  • Memory / Pairs
  • Board games
  • Flash cards with questions or vocabulary
  • Role play
  • Computer-based activities

Task design

  • All the tasks ought to be suitable for the topic you have chosen.
  • The workshop should cover a wide range of different activities: reading, writing, grammar, cultural studies, speaking, listening …!
  • Include diverse cooperative learning forms such as group work and tandems!
  • Your workshop should be appeal to different learner types – include audios, visuals, and interactive designs!
  • Offer tasks with various levels of difficulty!
  • Your workshop should contain tasks that require different strategies.
  • Make sure the number of activities does not exceed your time limit!
  • Working time should be allocated in a balanced way – students should not invest too much time on a singular task.
  • Especially your weaker students should be able to complete at least some of the tasks.
  • Gifted students may want to do extra exercises.
  • Students should have access to solutions for all the exercises.
  • The explanations you provide should be fairly easy to understand.

Room arrangement

  • You should create a floor plan for all the activities to provide your students with an overview of all activities at hand.
  • Before booking a room, make sure it is large enough. You might need several rooms if your group is too big or if the activities need more space.
  • Depending on the activities you have chosen, there should be enough desks and chairs for everybody. One station should be able to host at least two groups.
  • All the stations should be labelled clearly and consistently, they should be easily reachable and well arranged!
  • Make sure that students with walking impairments can access all the activites!

Route cards

Route cards should contain

  • student’s name
  • form
  • stations’ numbers
  • topic
  • type of activity: group work, tandem …
  • Task completed: yes / no
  • Evaluation: Was the station attractive enough?
  • Some space for students to personalize their route card

Instructions poster

  • The instructions poster should contain the basic rules of good conduct!
  • Explain how everything works – but keep it short and simple!
  • Make sure everyone can read the instructions from a distance!

Typical rules include:

  • Get active and work independently!
  • If you want to work with a partner, kindly ask if he or she would like to work with you!
  • Don't disturb the others while they are at work!
  • Don't make any noise, try to whisper!
  • Wait patiently when the material is being used by others! If a station is occupied, find something else to work with!
  • Complete each job as well as you can!
  • Wait your turn when your teacher explains something to someone else!
  • Take self-control seriously!
  • Help others whenever you have the time or when you are asked for help!
  • Put all the materials back in their place!

Station design

  • To keep all students active, there should be enough stations for everybody!
  • Make sure the materials are complete. Remind your students to put them back after completing the activity.
  • If students should bring additional materials, they should know about it in advance.
  • At each station, there should be enough materials for at least two groups.
  • Check again whether all activities can be completed rather quickly.
  • There should be a wide range of different activities.
  • Task descriptions should be kept short, clear and simple.
  • Label all the stations!
  • If there is a fixed route that your students have to follow, you might want to add road signs. If they can choose freely, tell them!
  • The solutions should be easy to find and clearly labelled.
  • Make sure the materials can be used again.

Opening session

  • Inform your students about the learning objectives!
  • Explain to your students how the workshop is organized!
  • Make suggestions for good management!
  • Give short introductions to all stations available!
  • If new skills are required, explain them well. Provide examples!
  • Explain the code of conduct!
  • Announce the final meeting!

While students are working

  • You might need an acoustic signal if it gets too noisy!
  • Be ready to help whenever problems occur – take notes!
  • Use evaluation cards to grade your students’ performance:
  1. Social conduct
  2. Working strategies
  3. Working speed
  4. Focus
  5. Persistency
  6. Individual Problems

Final meeting

  • Collect discussion topics!
  1. Were the stations attractive enough? Which was the best?
  2. Were there any stations your students found too difficult?
  3. What kind of other problems did your students have?
  • Then, students should present their own results!
  • Finally, collect suggestions for the next workshop!

Time management and organization

  • 30 days prior to the workshop: Set up a team to create materials!
  • 1 week ahead of time: Meet up with the team to discuss the arrangement!
  • Last lesson before the workshop takes place: Inform your students about the requirements!
  • 3 days ahead: Book a room!
  • Fifteen minutes earlier: Set up the stations! As a student to help!
  • 00:00-00:15: opening session
  • 00:15 – 01:45: working time
  • 01:45 – 02:10: final meeting
  • 10 minutes: Collect your materials! Ask two students to rearrange the desks and tidy up the room!
  • 5 minutes: Put the materials in a box and store it safely in the lab or wherever you keep learning materials!
  • Within a week: Evaluate the workshop with your team!

Resources (in German)

  • Angioni, Milena: Stationenlernen Englisch. Kerpen: Kohl-Verlag, 2017 (diverse Themen)
  • Bartl, Almuth: Spielend Englisch lernen: Spielerische Übungen, Lernen an Stationen, Freiarbeit. München: Oldenbourg-Schulbuchverl., 2001 (Prögel-Kopiervorlagen;79)
  • Bojes, Manfred: Stationenlernen Englisch: Vergangenheitsformen verwenden - Bedingungssätze bilden - Modalverben und ihre Ersatzformen nutzen: 7. Klasse. Hamburg: Persen Verlag, 2018
  • Dransmann, Ricarda; Sölter, Svenja: Englisch-Grundwortschatz - Übungen für die Freiarbeit: Kopiervorlagen mit Lösungen zu 8 Themenbereichen der Grundschule [geeignet für die Klassen 3 - 4]. Mülheim an der Ruhr: Verl. an der Ruhr, 2014
  • Klein-Landeck, Michael: Fundgrube für die Freiarbeit Englisch: Praxismaterialien zum selbsttätigen Lernen nach Montessori. Donauwörth: Auer, 2008
  • Klein-Landeck, Michael: Mit Freiarbeit zu neuer Lernkultur. Berlin: Cornelsen, 2016
  • Oldham, Peter: Englisch an Stationen: Spezial: Textarbeit 7 – 8. Donauwörth: Auer, 2012
  • Uhlemann-Warzel, Nadine: Lernen an Stationen im Englischunterricht - Around the year. Kempen: BVK, 2018