Friday, November 28, 2014

Make Your Rotations ROCK!!!

Have you all ever had that moment in class when you had finally had enough?? If you heard one more student go... "Where do I go now?" or "I don't know what to do?" were going to lose it!?! 

Well, about 5 or 6 years ago, I had reached my limit!!! I never liked teaching whole group that much except for writing mini-lessons or science/social studies since we had very little time. However, even though I didn't like whole group, I found myself doing a lot of it until I figured out what kind of teacher I was. I'm constantly changing, but it wasn't until I got my master's degree and had 2 of my close friends (EL teachers) pushing into my room during the day that I realized the teacher I wanted and was born to be. From that day on, I was determined to create a classroom environment that flowed and was smooth like a well oiled machine. I know it might sound funny that I didn't figure it out until my master's degree was complete. haha BUT, you guys, I seriously grew a back bone and had some new found confidence! My 2 friends that pushed into my classroom also introduced me to all the small group work. This was the same year that we started putting majority of the lower level EL students in my room since I speak Spanish, and our EL population was primarily Hispanic. I love this!! 

With this new found confidence and knowledge of what type of teacher I was, I began using a rotation system for both math and reading time. It took a few years to get it down to exactly the way I wanted, but now, I seriously could NOT LIVE WITHOUT IT!!! My classroom runs around this system! 

I wanted to give my students chances to explore, learn independently, challenge themselves, work together, and grow as problem solvers. I wanted to empower them to take charge of their learning and to see how they are just as big a part of their education as we (teachers and parents) are. So, my rotations system was created!!!

With this system, my kids are given several different learning experiences between technology, partner work, and independent work along with the small group time with me. I even have different rotations leveled by writing their Lit. circle number on their post-it which corresponds to the container with the appropriate passages for their levels. I made sure to use lots of picture cues for my EL learners, but also my gen. ed. learners. EL teaching methods are good teaching methods that can be used for ALL students. With the picture cues, I've matched those labels with the areas and materials for each rotation. Here's a glimpse into one part of it. :)

As with any procedures you do in your room, they have to be practiced explicitly. It can also be adjusted and customized for your schedule and framework!! That's the greatest part of the whole system! It is constantly changing!! With the post-its, it's super simple to move around kids because you can see it all right there. AND...this also helps with partnering kids up to set them all up for success! 

If you'd like to learn more about my rotations system and how you can use it in your room, hop on over to my blog to read more HERE!!! You can also click on my blog button below!! 
Thanks so much for stopping by!!! Have a great weekend!!!
Nicole :)

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