Center rotation can be a stressful time for teachers. The transition between centers can be chaotic if not set up properly. Let me help ease that stress!
If you’re like me, you most likely set up your centers according to your students’ needs, curriculum demands, and possibly a few pinterest inspirations. Concerning the actual rotation, the manner in which you guide your students could be your key to success. Here are three of my favorite methods of rotation.
This is my personal favorite and the method I most often use. The set up is easy: take a paper plate and divide it into the number of student groups you have. Then, write the students’ names on the plate. Next, place icons (the planned activities – example; listening center) around the plate corresponding to the groups. When it is time for students to rotate, simply turn the plate indicating to the students what center they should be heading to.
Pop-sickle Stick Free for All
This method allows the students to control where they go. Set up centers and place a cup at each location. Write a number on each cup representing the maximum number of participants allowed at that center. At rotation time, allow the students to chose what station they would like to visit. When they arrive at the location, have them place their pop-sickle stick in the cup. To prevent over crowding at particular stations, institute a “maximum pop-sickle” rule. If there is already a maximum number of pop-sickles (perhaps 4 or 5) tell the students that they have to chose an alternative station. Clothespins also work beautifully. The students can clip the pin on their shirt while they are walking to the next center. The pop-sickle stick (or clothespin) method gives students control and a sense of ownership.
The most popular method, the Center Chart, gives the teacher the most control over where students attend. There is much flexibility in this method but it requires preparation. Simply build a chart, as seen below, and manipulate it as desired. The advantage of this method is that it allows the teacher to specify where students visit (perhaps some students require more focus on one area and this method allows the teacher to ensure that focus). Busy Teacher’s Cafe has many pictures of these charts with free printables.