Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day Three with Math Rotations!

This is really a dream come true!

Sandy and Jenn- two middle school co-teachers- agreed to give math centers a try for their 6/7 grade math class. I became obsessed! I trolled the internet for good explanations and organization around math rotations or math centers. I found the perfect resource at one of my all time favorite sites right here. Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6 does a great job of breaking down how to set up math rotations. I used her blog and worksheets as a guideline to make this work for the 6th/7th grade split. So, here's how I broke it down:

1. Structure:
The 6th/7th split has two co-teachers and 16 students. There are also two different tutors that come in once a week each. This means that on 2 out of every 5 days there are three adults to every 16 students. A dream scenario for small group instruction. We have 60 minutes of math class time.

Math time looks like:

9:05- 9:10     Do Now (entrance slip)
9:10- 9:30     Rotation 1
9:30- 9:50     Rotation 2
9:50- 9:55     Exit Slip

There are three stations available. Students rotate through 2 of them each day.

Instruction with the math teacher, Sandy. Students see her for 20 minutes every day.

Skill practice and review with the learning specialist, Jenn. All students see her for 20 minutes every other day.

IXL on the computer. Students practice math skills for 20 minutes every other day.

2. Using Stephanie's template (found here), I created a schedule for each student. Each student received a clear, plastic sheet with their schedule and IXL password on one side (hidden from the picture below) and Math Rotation expectations on the other. We used Stephanie's expectations and I created a partially completed note sheet for the students. This way they had to write down the key behavior expectations and key words instead of passively listening to a teacher telling them to "just behave"! It allowed for a little more ownership.

Students are split into 6th and 7th grade. This is the easiest way for us to teach 6th grade math to the 6th graders and 7th grade math to the 7th graders. Otherwise, the groups are completely heterogeneous. This is actually easier for us as there might be one student in each group who is learning above the content given and one student who needs modifications, more scaffolding, or specialized instruction. This allows the teachers to more easily meet students' needs within the small group.  

3. So what does this mean for inclusive schooling?

  • Modifications and accommodations can be more easily met in a smaller teacher led group
  • Students can work on differentiated work on the IXL computer activity
  • Teachers are more easily able to reteach material and informally assess when students are confused or are not understanding the material 
  • Students are able to move and be active after 20 minutes of work
  • Students are able to learn in two different groups and in two different ways in one 60 minute block 

I will be back with updates on how it's going.

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