There are various courses for lab management and getting started in the lab. I wanted to take as many as I could before we got started, but I was determined to get the lab
opened quickly, so I was strategic about how I took my courses. The key to the lab
is understanding the 12 Foundations of Learning Readiness so I started with this course. Once I had these concepts down, it was easy to choose activities I wanted to work on.
It was really important to make sure students visited the lab weekly, so it took some advocating to work this into the schedule. Once I showed how it could work if we put it into the specials rotation, my principal was on board.
Number of Stations
I have 20+ students in each class period. To accommodate those class sizes, I have at least ten stations set up. That keeps the groups at 2-3.
Regardless of the class, all students enter the lab
the same way. At ABL home base, I have ten different colored dots where students sit. Each color has a #1 and #2 dot. As the students enter the classroom, I assign each student with a color and number. Our small students can become very emotional if things do not go their way. If I group the students together, it eliminates emotional outbursts. I assign each pair or group to a station.
Accommodating different grade levels
I adjust the activities at each station as needed to add challenge or simplify for our little learners. I have found that some tasks may be too difficult for the pre-k students, but kindergarten students are able to do them.
I like to use picture cue cards at some stations, especially for some of our little learners who sometimes need a reminder of what they are supposed to do at that station.