The Best Way to Do Center Rotations in the Classroom...
Center rotations have been one of my organizational projects. I'd tried so many different things to make it run smoothly, then finally found that one thing that worked for us and we've loved it for the past 5 years or so!
Our rotation time for reading is a full hour. Half that time, some students are out with Title teachers. I begin the rotation with the rest of the students first, then on return I will see the Title students for the other half hour. This make sure they get lots of small group time between two different teachers, which has worked so well for us.
I've programmed the slides to have students at a center for 12-15 minutes, and then I have a clean-up slide for a 30 second transition. The two different slides (center and clean-up) have their own sounds and students learn to listen for those sounds to know when to move.
I color-code my groups. My groups are formed after oral reading testing. The blue group scored highest, green and yellow are on level, orange group is working on phonics fluency, and the red group is working on nonsense word fluency. As the year goes on and we progress monitor the students, the students may move from one group to another.
I've set up my slideshow to be sensitive to the time my two lower groups are out with Title teachers. When they return they will either see me or work on iPads on the carpet that's up front in my room, which is usually a sight word game.
I talk to the students beforehand about what each picture represents. They learn to follow their names, which are color-coded and makes it easier for them to track. The first week or two of doing rotations, I put an independent activity at the teacher table that students complete while I walk around the room making sure everyone is doing what they should be doing.
I then transition to staying at the teacher table more and more so that the students know that will be my station. It's also my chance to tell them they aren't supposed to interrupt me while I'm teaching at the table and they learn what to do unless it is an emergency. Issues with technology come up, so they do need to come to me if they need help.