This is one of my longer blogs, but trust me, it’s worth the read!
Here’s a fun idea for getting a lot of work done in a short amount of time. Before I continue, I want to add a little disclaimer about myself as a teacher. I am not a give-out-a-worksheet-to-fill-time kind of teacher. I will only have students complete a worksheet if it’s pertinent to their learning. But there are days when the kids do have a lot of worksheets to complete. This can take a lot time because you’re waiting around for kids to finish their work before moving to the next subject. So here’s what I like to do.
In the morning I will teach the concepts the students will be working with, provide examples, then have the students set aside their worksheets for later. For example, I’ll teach Math, English, and Spelling but the kids won’t do the independent practice until rotation time. Then it’s time to set up for rotations.
My desks are configured in groups of 4, so it is conducive to easy, collaborative learning (see photo). At each group of desks (there are 6), I set up a rotation. The rotations (or groups of desks) are numbered 1-6. I assign an activity for each rotation. Then I write the name of the activity on the board under the rotation number so that the kids know what they’re doing at each station. For example, here’s what I might have at all 6 rotations.
- Rotation 1 - Math Worksheet
- Rotation 2 - Math Center with Clocks
- Rotation 3 - English Worksheet
- Rotation 4 - English Centers with Nouns & Pronouns
- Rotation 5 - Finish Daily Journal & Check for Accuracy
- Rotation 6 - Silent Read
The kids start at the rotation they are already sitting at. Depending on the activities, I usually give about 10 - 12 minutes at each rotation. I set a timer that has a bell. When the bell rings, the students know to gather their items, stand up, push in their chair, and stand by their desk. Then I dismiss them to the next rotation. The activity STAYS at the rotations, and the kids get up and move with their group. So the students sitting at rotation 1 will move to rotation 2, rotation 2 moves to rotation 3, and so on until the students have rotated through all 6 stations.
I like to indicate on the board which rotations are group work, and which are independent. I also add where I want papers turned in when they are finished with the assignment.