I use workstations (or centers, stations – whatever YOU call them) daily in my Language Arts and Math blocks and several times a week in my Science block. I’ve tried MANY ways to manage my rotations and I will probably continue to try different ways. Every year is different and every group of students is different. Couple that with the changing demands of your curriculum or administration whatever worked last year, may not work this year! It always takes me a few weeks at the beginning of the year to set up my groups, my stations, and my plans for stations. I am 8 weeks into the school year and I finally found a rotation schedule that works for my class this year.
I’m lucky to have a 2 hour Language Arts block (and I have an additional 45-minute writing block earlier in the day). I start with a read aloud, a 5-minute reading skill of the day and then a 20 minute (or so) mini-lesson. We then break out for three 20 minute station rotations. I have 5 workstations: Vocabulary, Grammar/Writing, Computer, Independent Reading, and Teacher Table. Most groups get to each station twice in a week, including my Teacher Table, except for my lowest group – I meet with them every day. We do 5 days of rotations one week, then 4 days of rotations the following week since we are on a biweekly testing schedule. Usually, my Friday workstations are for catching up on unfinished activities and doing some extension activities based on the skills we are working on or reviewing.
Here’s what my Monday rotation looks like:
I project my rotations on my board so that we all know where everyone is supposed to be and I’ve embedded a timer so that we stay on schedule. I created my slides in Google Slides by inserting a table with the number of columns I need for my workstation plus one and the number of rows with the number of rotations plus one – in my case 6 columns by 4 rows. I create my groups on the first slide then I just copy and paste to add them to the correct rotations on the following days. It’s easy to edit the groups (and I change them frequently based on student needs and the skill we are working on). I have inserted a timer on my slide by clicking on “Insert” and then “Video” and searching for a timer on YouTube. Just type “20-minute timer” (or whatever time increment you would like to use) in the YouTube search bar and several options will come up for you. The one I use has a 5-second countdown timer before it starts and then has an annoying buzzer at the end that my students love! Since it is YouTube, I recommend that you try the timer (fast forward through several points) to make sure there are no surprises! I size the timer to fit, then copy and paste it onto all of the slides.
And today is your lucky day! You can make your own Weekly Reading Rotations by grabbing this link! This link will force you to make a copy of my file so that you can edit the slides for your own needs! If you do choose to use it, I’d love for you to come back and share in the comments how it worked for you! Enjoy.