Checking Station: An Essential Component for Centers

Whether you follow my blog often or this is your first visit, you need to know one thing about me; I love using centers in my classroom.  Several years ago, I had a checking station that just sort of......invented itself!  In my special education classroom, I supplied all of the classroom supplies, such as markers, colored pencils, and scissors.  I happened to have the markers in a cute container coincidentally next to the answer keys that I required my students to use to check their own work.  In time, this station just unfolded.  Markers + Answer Keys = Checking Station!  

Since moving to a fifth grade general education classroom, I still use centers daily, but I somehow lost the checking station.  This weekend, I decided that it was time to bring it back!

After my students complete a center, they head over to the checking station to compare their answers with mine.  I ask them to put a check or an x, which allows me to quickly flip through to see how my students are doing when I grade their Bubble Pages at the end of the week.  

If they get all of their questions right {you could set your own criteria, of course}, I have them sign the post-it note on the back of the answer key.  

When this student checked his paper, he found that he missed a couple of problems.  

In some cases, these mistakes are truly silly mistakes.  When they see the correct answer, they often have an "aha moment" and immediately realize their error.  However, in other cases, they don't understand why their answer is incorrect, and need a little additional help.  In this case, they can flip over the answer key, and find a list of classmates who have already completed this center correctly.  

My kids seem to love being able to seek the help of a peer, and have the opportunity to help a friend out from time to time.  

You can grab these simple labels to get your checking station started in your classroom!  These are designed to fit a soup can.  When I discovered the jar in the pictures above at the Dollar General for $2, I couldn't resist it.  I printed these labels at 20% of the original size, and did a little trimming to make it fit perfectly!


  1. How do you make sure that students don't throw down any old answer and then look at yours at the Check Out Station to get the right answer? There are always students who avoid doing the work :/

    1. That's true! You'll always have "that kid" who tries to avoid work. I haven't had anyone try it in two years, but I'm sure it could happen. I also try to stress that if you cheat on this, you are really cheating yourself out of practice on a particular skill. PLUS, if you need to cheat, you probably need the practice.