Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Math Rotations

I don't know about you, but I'm always trying to figure out the best way to meet the needs of all my students.  This year I have a wide range of math abilities in my room.  Helping each student reach their full potential in math has been my goal all year.  Last year I started having math rotations to meet my needs.  Here was my hour long math schedule:

10 minutes: review/math timed test

20 minutes: mini-lesson

30 minutes: math rotations

My class was divided into three ability groups and participated in three rotations - teacher/paper/pencil, manipulatives and games.  My inspiration for this format was Beth Newingham.  If you get a chance, check out her site.  She has some awesome ideas!



As I continued the rotations this year, I ran into a few problems.

1. I didn't have enough time with each group.  I helped students as they worked on their paper/pencil sheet, but I wasn't able to have small group lessons.

2. Many times I was rushing through the last rotation.  My high acheivers worked on paper/pencil during this rotation and I always wanted to give them something more challenging.  By the time I explained it to them, there was only about five minutes left.

3. Math was starting to take over an hour each day.

4. I was having a hard time coming up with new games as the kids were getting bored.

Just as I was starting to question the rotations, I received a blog update from 3rd Grade Thoughts explaining her math rotations.  I decided to rearrange a few things and try this new format.  Check out this great blog that has some very helpful information about the rotations.

3rd Grade Thoughts

Now my math schedule is:


10 minutes: review/timed tests

50 minutes: rotations


My new rotations are:

Meet with teacher: I am able to have teach the lesson of the day in a small group setting.  It gives me a better idea of who understands and who needs some more support.

Paper/Pencil: The students complete some practice problems related to our lesson.  Then comes the part I love!  My high acheivers start with paper/pencil and meet with me last.  I give them their assignment when they meet with me and they finish it the next day during their first rotation. 

Games/Manipulatives: Each day I will let the students know if there is a game or they complete a manipulative activity.  Some manipulatives I have used in the past are tangrams, pentominoes and Logic Links. 

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I've been using these new rotations for a couple of days.  I feel I am getting more quality time with my students and meeting their needs. 

I really would love to hear about how you teach math.  Are you using rotations?  If not, what makes your system work?

Have a great evening!!  


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