It’s Friday already? This week went by so fast. It helped that it was only four days and I was busy trying some new things in my classroom.
The first big change was my math rotations. I talked about them earlier this week and I’m still happy with them. The biggest difference in my new rotations was not having a whole class lesson. I now teach the daily lesson in small groups and it is working out so much better. I can slow the lesson down for some kids and speed it up for others. Why didn’t I ever think of this before? The three rotations are: meet with teacher, paper/pencil and games/manipulatives. I was inspired by some posts on another blog: www.3rdgradethoughts.com.
Another change was the space in some of my cabinets. I posted last week that I was participating in The Clutter-Free Classroom Project. This week the assignment was to streamline our teacher resources and create an organized place to store them.
I am so fortunate to have a bunch of cabinets in my room, but sometimes that can be a bad thing. I end up holding on to books and papers because I have the room to store them. This week I went through all my books and got rid of about half.
My philosophy was: If I haven’t used it in the last two years, get rid of it.
I laughed because I put them all in the teacher’s lounge at 8:00 A.M. and by lunchtime they were almost all gone. I wonder how many of the teachers that took books will end up putting their new treasures in a closet and forgetting about them just like me?
Here are some before and after shots of the cabinets. There are not big changes, but I can tell there is a lot more space available for new books!
The cabinets and math rotations were different organizational changes, but both made me feel like a better teacher. If you are interested in joining The Clutter-Free Challenge, click below and start organizing!
Hope you have a great weekend!
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.
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.
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!!
I LOVE organizing, being organized and helping others organize. So this summer when I found the blog and website, Clutter-Free Classroom, I was super excited. I discovered so many new classroom organization tips and theme ideas. It was wonderful!
A few weeks ago, I received a blog update about the 2013 Clutter-Free Classroom Project. I have received many comments from colleagues about the organization in my room, so I figured I wouldn’t be participating in the project. Then an email came on Monday about the newest challenge – organizing the teacher desk/work area. I looked at my desk/computer area and this is what I saw:
I didn’t like all the files on my desk, many of the binders on the shelf I wasn’t using on a regular basis and the bulletin board was getting crowded. So I decided to take the challenge and make some changes. The biggest move was I brought over some file cabinets that were on the other side of the room. Then I moved all the files into the file cabinets. I put away the binders I wasn’t using and got rid of some papers on the bulletin board. Here is what my desk looks like now:
I feel so much better when I see this picture. I make sure my desk looks like this every day before I leave school. I only keep out the binders I really need every day and make sure papers get filed as soon as I am done with them. What do you think?