Math Rotations in a SPED Classroom

Monday, June 26, 2017 / Leave a Comment
By the end of this year, after changing our math rotations around about a bazillion times, I FINALLY feel like I figured out the perfect combo of stations to help my students learn, practice, and master skills. 



My favorite part of this system is that it worked seamlessly without me killing myself over prep or differentiated plans. 
It just flowed. 

In this years classroom, I was blessed with color coded tables, so it was super easy to designate tables for rotations (blue table, black, yellow, red, orange, green..). Since we moved to a different town and I'll have a new position next year (probably without pretty colored tables), I believe I'm just going to tape the edges of tables with colored tape to help the kids learn the stations. I've seen others use shapes, numbers, and pictures, but for some reason the colors have always worked best for me. I'm such a visual learner and so are a lot of my students, so I'm sticking to colors!



For transitions, I used kitchen timers from the dollar tree from day one. We work on appropriate transitions all year long, but by the end of the first quarter, my students knew to stop when they heard the timer, clean up and MOVE with minimal disruptions. At the beginning of the year, I would reward anyone doing this with an extra token (which would cause them to earn a break sooner), so this shaped their behavior pretty quickly!

Back to rotations... here is a lovely visual of how they flow. I tried to snap as many pictures as I could before and after school to help you see the setup.



Our classroom this year was super small, so our tables were set up in close proximity to each other, which made transitions much easier. 

Blue Table: Teacher Time (taught new skills)
Black Table: Math Journals (guided practice with newly learned material)
Yellow Table: Technology (math websites)
Red Table: Independent Work Binders (mastered skills)
Green Table: File Folder Tasks (mastered skills)



At my station, students learned new material. I always try to use a ton of hands-on and engaging activities (that I typically get from Pinterest) to keep my students' interest's peaked and to keep their brains alert.



I use a huge binder with plastic folder tabs to keep my students data sheets, upcoming lessons/work, and their finished work went on the back side. On the data sheets, I generally put what we worked on each day and jotted down notes about their progress. The simple sheet was my favorite, and I used it throughout most the rotations to keep track of progress. Once a sheet was full, it went in the student's individual data binders, along with copies of any important work samples.

After working with me, students went to the black table with my TA. Sometimes, I would send a student with work to finish from my table or she would do cut and paste math journals on the skills the students just learned to give them some guided practice.


At the yellow table, the students could do math technology activities.

For my students at first grade level and above, I had Prodigy accounts for them to access and do during this station. My younger kiddos worked on interactive games (coming to TPT soon!) or on ABCya's Pre-K/K level math. 


At the red table, each student had a colored binder with his or her independent work already tabbed off. At the beginning of the year, we taught students the procedures for this table, so they were eventually able to get to the table, get their binder, open to Math, and flip to the tabbed work page to complete. If I wanted them to do more than one page, I would add a STOP post-it on the specific page I wanted them to work until. At this station, a lot of the their independent work came from my Math Workbooks, which don't require a ton of different directions to follow, just simple math practice.


At the green table, I organized all of my file folders by math topic. The levels in my class right now are about PreK - 2nd, so I start with Numbers and go all the way through Division and Fractions. I use file folders from my Math Skills Megabundle, so I know that I'm covered for all the skills I will be teaching throughout the year, even though I have so many different levels in my class.

Each day, I would pull 2-3 folders out and place them in the student's colored bins. They've held up great! I only place mastered skills in a students bin, so that they can do them completely independently.


During rotations, the students just pull down their color, complete the tasks, and put them back in the bin and back on the shelf when they are finished. At the end of the day, or whenever I have time throughout the day, I check their folders, take the data I need, and reset the station for the next day.

Sometimes I mix in flip book tasks to this station as well...


I have seen crazy growth in my math levels this year, and I truly think this system has helped that significantly. Throughout the year, I know students are continuously learning new skills while still practicing previously mastered skills for maintenance. I'm so proud of my little math super stars!


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