Rotations a few years ago when I just couldn’t meet the needs of all of my
students doing whole group instruction.
I found that my high kids were bored and not listening, my middle of the
road kids were mostly listening (I mean, I was teaching to them!!), and my low
kids were staring off in space. Not
good. That’s when I did some research
and decided to do Differentiated Math Rotations. Here is a quick overview of what I do. I am NOT claiming to be an expert at all!!
This is just works for me (and my kiddos’ state test scores) J
pre-asses my students at the beginning of each unit. Make it easy on
yourself and just give them a five question multiple choice sheet that covers
the topics of the unit. That way you can QUICKLY assess their strengths
and weaknesses. I have to use our district Common Assessments, but it
accomplishes the same thing.
results. I use the Cardinal Directions as groups because it is a Compass
Rose, shaped like a cross. There is not
really a top or bottom because all four sides are important to find your
correct: North (low)
the East and South groups to even out the number of kiddos. I also assign
each student a partner who is in their group to play at the game station.
Now remember, these groups are
flexible. I am constantly monitoring my
students to see if they need to change groups.
I will usually get a few kids who can move up to West (advanced) and
some kiddos who move up from North. I
have had a student or two who has moved down to North for a few lessons. You are meeting your kids where they are. I also DON’T do stations EVERY Day. I do it MOST days!!
Notice that North
begins with the Teacher. This is so your low group is the first
group of the day and they go directly to their desk to practice after meeting
last. The first thing that they do is practice.
kiddos can usually start an inquiry based activity alone and then meet with you
later to discuss it. Or you can have
them practice something from yesterday’s lesson.
I have all my little honey buns in groups, I teach them about the rotations
they will be making each day. Each rotation is “supposed” to last for
I have been “flexible” with my timing for each group, depending
on their understanding of the lesson. There are four rotations: Teacher,
Desk, Game, Fast Facts. While I don’t do a whole group lesson at the beginning,
we do come back for share time to talk about our new learning.
or small group table for
the actual lesson that is presented on their level.
group. While I am teaching a modified version of the
curriculum, I am still expecting to get them to be successful on the grade
level assessment. This takes flexible
planning on your part. I KNOW my end goal and how I need to get them there, but
I have no idea if this group will “get” the lesson or if I will need to reteach
in a different way. I am prepared either way.
learners. They do NOT need MORE
work. They have already proven to you
that they have met the grade level expectation.
These kiddos can work on performance events and projects. You will still be teaching them, but
something more advanced.
practice kiddos work
on the practice assignment at their desks after the lesson. This is usually a worksheet that students
work on to continue the learning they just had.
first since they are the advanced group. They get
an assignment before the lesson.)
I have a game for each skill. I
usually keep the same game for one week so that I only have
to explain it once. Some games are differentiated and some
games are not. We may play a game from
the current unit or we may play a game from a previous unit to review
I use the SELF CORRECTING TIMED
tests from www.Multiplication.com !
They have quizzes for addition, subtraction, multiplication,
and division. I am lucky enough to have two computers
with Internet access. (If you don’t, get inventive. Maybe just have them
take paper quizzes and have the partner grade it with
an answer key right then.)
are our Computer Experts. At the start of math, they pull up the page
from our favorites bar and then the page is open the entire time.
Kiddos click on the quiz they need. They type in their name and
press START. Once they press start, the computer keeps track of the time.
Kiddos type in the answer to each problem and press enter. I tell
them to skip it and press ENTER if they have to think about it at all. When
they finish, they press FINISHED (I know! Weird huh?)
problems they missed and how much time it took to complete. To pass and
be able to move on to a new test the next day, they can only miss ONE and their
time must be 3 minutes of less. Now I tell them if it is a couple of
secs over that is ok. When they finish they print the test and
go grab it. (My kiddos have to hustle to the library.) Next,
they make flashcards for any of them that they missed. While kiddos
are waiting for the computer, they are practicing their flashcards from
the previous day.
math facts. I highly recommend this
site. We use it for homework now
would recommend www.frontrowed.com This
site is AMAZING! It gives pretests for
all CCSS standards and builds a program for each student!
More Time 2 Teach says
Amy, I loved your post! I've been wanting to start math groups for some time now, but with testing I'm always concerned that I won't be able to cover all of the material. I definitely think groups is the way to meet all of the kids needs. I think sometimes we just need to close our eyes and jump in! Thanks for breaking math groups down into what seems like a doable task.