Saturday, July 27, 2013

Flexible Math Rotations

????? Groups in Math ?????

Do you group for Math?
How do you group for Math?
Are your groups flexible?

All good questions....and all questions that made me think...a LOT...
and then I met one of my many teacher heroes!...

 I fell in LOVE with the idea Carol Stafford shared at a recent Math in-service!  
I truly wish I could be a fly on her classroom wall for just a day or two...she's AMAZING!

Here's her take on Math groups... (from a K perspective) ... and with her permission to share.

She has a velcro sign that is color coded... and in front of the sign sit 4 color coded baskets with Math Maps for the students to follow for math rotation time...
as she teaches the whole group part of the lesson, she has the ability to add children's pictures to the velcro sign that will tell them what color map to pick up during rotation times...
each rotation, students go to different stations and complete the activity/activities that are available for that station (station areas are marked with these adorable signs that match the student maps)...
Flexible grouping based on formative assessment taking place during the actual lesson on the standard being cool is that?????
If you'd like to use Carol's system, she has graciously offered to share it {HERE}
Thanks so much, Carol!


I took her brilliant idea and "bumped it up"for my second graders :) 
(Again with her permission to share :)

Here's what it looks like in my room:

PVC pipe chart stand 
(super easy to create)
Target Dollar Spot yellow chart
(not so super easy to find...but any chart will do)
Baskets to come ...for now just laying on the table at the bottom of the chart...
(look out Dollar Tree....I'm on my way!)

My idea mirrors Carol's...
teaching whole group...formatively assessing...
...and adding pictures or name cards to the different spaces on the chart...
Here's a difference...
I'll put two names/pictures in one space to denote who their buddy is during Math with a Buddy time...until they can show me they know how to pick a good buddy partner...

So what's the code....
Green = Strategic Intervention .... or friends that are NOT getting the lesson 
and need lots of remodeling
Yellow = doing ok...but may need more time to work with manipulative as well as a little more modeling before I set them free.
Orange = my kiddos that seem to be "on top of it" and ready to roll.
Pink/Blue = my advanced kiddos that can work on a little more difficult tasks.

Each color map has a rotation schedule to follow...

If your picture/name is in the green section, you're coming to me first :)  Lucky You!
We'll spend some small group time reviewing and modeling the lesson's standard in a different way to see if we can meet your needs and help you see what in the world we're talking about in Math.

If your in the yellow section today, you get to start with the technology station.
I have iPods and iPads as well as 2 computers that are set up with pre-loaded games and skill work that you'll need to practice to get better with the skills we've been talking about in class...all are review skills and will help you become more fluent with your facts and standards!

Orange friends are ready to go with a buddy and a game.  Buddy games are set up in boxes and are usually games like Bump, Card War, Fluency Practice, etc.

While my Blue friends are together enough to start out on their own.  They'll use dominoes to practice facts for fluency, work on a worksheet to show what they know, or maybe even use Versatiles to practice skills we've been talking about in class without the paper and pencil aspect.

All of the graphics for my maps come from 

The font on the maps is called

Want to try it out for yourself??
You can download the zip file for free from my 
This zip file should have several versions of the maps and signs...
Microsoft Word
PDF formats

You "should" be able to edit the Word and Pages versions. 
Leave a comment and let me know if you think it will work for you....or if you have something that's already "da bomb"...I'm always up for new ideas :)

I'm looking forward to a great year in Second about you?! 

Thanks again to Carol (and her sister) for allowing me the opportunity to share this great idea with you!


  1. Heidi, these are great! Glad Carol let you share! Teachers are such nice people! :) I, too, am looking forward to a great year in 2nd grade. I'm going to get my blog going this week and show my room off! :) I'm going to go see what baskets I can find and then do my colors. I need to make sure it's approved by the Principal! :) How many do you have in the Math Buddy "group" at a time?

    1. I like to have 2 to 3 per buddy group. So I'll match up the kids that are in each color...
      Good luck on your blogging!

  2. Love me some Carol! So blessed to have her in our district! =)

    Kinder Kraziness

  3. What a great idea. Thanks to you and Carol for sharing!


  4. I love this idea. Thanks for sharing. How long will each rotation last?

    1. I think that depends on how long your Math Block time is...but I'm shooting for 15 minutes...kinda similar to my reading group rotations. With first grade, much over 15 and you've lost the kids that are at stations....well...maybe not the technology stations...but you get what I mean. :)

  5. Love this idea.... i am in a small school and we do not have a lot of technology choices. what would you recommend for students to do during this rotation in place of technology?
    Thanks for the freebie!

    1. Might be able to add in Reading with Math or Fluency Practice with Math??
      Anyone else with ideas ?

    2. That sounds good. Thanks! :)

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  7. I was happy to read of the idea from a Kinder perspective, but even more excited to see you then bumped it up to a 2nd grade level. Thanks so much for the freebies!

    1. BTW, thanks so very much for the editable files. I truly appreciate being able to make small tweaks that will better match my classroom. THANKS!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing. I am planning to start this math system this year. I appreciate the editable files!! Have a great 2013-14 school year. I can't wait to start this system!!

  9. I teach k-3 EBD. I have 4 grade levels and really needed something I can use to rotate instruction since everyone is always doing something different. Thank you!! Any advice on using rotation for all content areas is greatly appreciated!