Like most of you, I spend my summers trying to refine my classroom practice so I can best service all of my students. I want to make the most of my limited classroom time, so I sit down and brainstorm what went well in previous years, and what didn't.
Over this past year, I feel like I finally refined my math rotations to the point that I feel very successful in its implementation. So much so, I decided to do the same thing with reading! I plan to do a few different posts on it for you all, but with this one, I am going to lay out the basics of what is happening in my room.
My entire language arts block is actually fairly long. I have a good 2 hours in the morning for grammar and reading and then can take another 30 minutes later in the day for writing. Grammar, skills, root words, etc... (and morning business, like Breakfast in the Classroom and stuff) takes place in the first hour of the day. The second hour is dedicated to Reading Rotations.
So here is what I do (as of now...as we all know, things change as the year progresses, but this is working for me now):
From 9:15 - 10:15am I do reading rotations. So:
9:15 - 9:35am Rotation 1
9:35 - 9:55am Rotation 2
9:55 - 10:15am Rotation 3
During those rotations, several things are happening. The kids are doing one of three things:
During this block, the students are doing one of two things. Either they are Reading to Self, in which they can choose a book and read it, or they are doing a Comprehension activity. These include, but are not limited to, working with task cards for retell, practicing a center game for a comprehension strategy, or working with a partner on reading comprehension mats.
The groups are assigned with section they are doing, they do not get to pick. Basically, if they did Read to Self on Monday, Tuesday they would do the Comprehension Choice activities.
When the students come to me for their 20 minute block, I am doing guided reading instruction....sort of. During this time is when I teach reading strategies and skills to the students. For example, I may teach lessons on Plot or Setting. I could also be doing a fluency lesson with them or just plain reading our novel together. This time is when I am doing the directed lesson with the kids for the day.
The students ALWAYS visit this rotation after they have seen me. Usually, after they are with me, I give them an assignment to do in response to my lesson. During this 20 minute block is when they get that assignment done.
While ALL of this is going on, I have my aide pulling students to work in small group remediation or enrichment during their Reading Comprehension or Reading Response times. (I know I am very lucky to have an aide here, and I love having her. However, she is not necessary to do rotations. She is an added bonus!)
Without oversimplifying it, the kids move through each station every day we do rotations (in a perfect world....every day. In the real world....about 3 times a week.)
OK...so that is a basic overview of what is happening during the rotation time. The next post focuses on how I keep the students organized and how they know where they are going during each of the rotation times. You can read that post here.
Reading Rotations: Organizing it All