Do you currently use stations in your classroom? I have started to use them more over the past couple of years and am loving the collaboration and movement that the students are experiencing. But I had just been laying resources out on the desk and it was bothering me that it wasn’t immediately obvious where each station was! Hence, this school year I have upgraded my system and I’ve made these adorable station signs! I’m going to share with you how I made them as well as some suggestions for other ways you can use these signs in your lessons too!
First of all let’s talk about how you can make your own! You can get the popular Tolsby frames from IKEA. (Or if you’re more like me and prefer a home delivery, hehe, you can find them on Amazon, too!)
They’re great as they are however the colors are a bit limited (my IKEA only had white ones) so I chose to decorate mine to jazz them up a bit and suit my classroom style. Keep reading to learn how you can do these, too!
1) If you want yours to be a different color, you’re going to need to spray paint them! I chose a spray paint that was designed for plastics so it didn’t disintegrate on me! I found that one can was just enough to give all 6 frames 2 coats each, although I probably wasted a lot due to the very windy weather we were having in England; most of my paint drifted away into the air… #sorryatmosphere
At first I sprayed the base and the frame separately but then I found it a bit of a tight squeeze screwing it back together once the paint had dried, so for the rest of them I sprayed them as a one whole unit and it worked just fine!
2) That alone might look good and you can just leave it there, but if like me you want your stations color coded but don’t want to spend £40 on a range of different spray paints, then you can decorate a little further with some washi tape! The “regular” washi tape is thick enough to cover the whole sides of these, but as I had gone through the effort of spray painting them I didn’t want to cover them up completely.
I found this lovely thin washi tape on Amazon and I totally fell in love with them! Look how pretty they are. They come 10 in a pack.
3) I chose to just put the washi tape just across the top and bottom of the frames, but you could also do the sides too!
Now something to note about this tape: it is completely gorgeous but it’s also quite thin, and considering the dark base they were going onto, I decided to double up to get a richer pop of color!
You can see the difference in the photo on the right: the top bar has 2 layers and the bottom only has one:
4) Then once you’re done decorating, you can put whatever signs you like in the frames! I have chosen to have one side which has the station numbers that I will probably keep at all times, and on the other I am free to swap around depending on the lesson I am teaching! Here are some ideas you could use for your lessons:
So aside from using these frames to identify station or group numbers, you could also use them to:
State the lesson’s learning objective
Identify keywords for the lesson
Show the names of the members in each group
Provide a clear to do list for the lesson
Give extension work or support for differentiation
Explain an exit ticket task for students to summarise their learning
Now, it may not be realistic to change these up for every single lesson, but there might be topics you are teaching over a period of time which would be appropriate to leave in the frames a little longer.
They really do give that splash of color and also promote more independence in your students.
5) If you want some ready made signs, you can download these station signs here. The text is fully editable and you will get 5 different watercolor themes in 6 different colors with options for station / group names / numbers for one side and anything else you want to add on the other!
Thanks for reading! If you found this valuable, share it out! Using stations and centers in the classroom is an excellent way to encourage independent learning and collaboration in your lessons. Having the cute signs makes organization more effective and ultimately makes everyone really happy!
Katie has been teaching for over a decade and is still teaching full time in a school in London, England! She quickly learned that her students needed more support with their mindset and personal development in order to overcome difficulties and continue being their best, but found there was very limited support for teachers to help. She has since been on a mission to change this, and now her passion is to help you support students’ emotional well-being by integrating character and creativity into the classroom. She shares free teaching ideas for how to do this over at TeachersResourceForce.com, and she also has a podcast offering free personal development for teachers to help you be the best teacher you can be too. You can check it out at “Teach On, Teach Strong.”