68 Ideas and Tips for Setting Up Maths Rotations in the Classroom

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Written by Holly (Teach Starter)

To do maths rotations or not?

When you look at the research, there are pros and cons for both sides of the argument. Some people believe it is a waste of time and there is no benefit to their students.

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In my experience, I believe that including small group maths rotations in your classroom allows you to work with smaller more targeted groups of students. Providing time for you to provide instruction appropriate to their knowledge.

At the end of the day, it depends on your class, their capabilities, and behaviours. This blog will give you some resources and ideas to plan and manage your maths block.


Maths Block Breakdown

I usually focused on maths in my middle session, approximately 90 minutes. This seems like a long time to focus on maths, especially in the early years, however, that is where rotations fitted in nicely with my explicit teaching and whole class learning!

I allocated 30 minutes to explicit teaching / whole class learning. The students then spent 15-20 minutes at two different stations.

This allowed 20 minutes of cool down time after lunch and for transitions. The next day they completed the other two rotations after more explicit teaching.


Setting Up Maths Rotations

Firstly, you need to decide if you are going to group your students into mixed ability or same ability groups. I found (most of the time) same ability groups allowed me to cater the activities and teacher time to each small group. Then, create a display so the students know what group they are in.

Prior preparation, planning of the display, routines and expectations will allow for a fairly smooth transition into working in small groups.

Next, decide how you will manage each station. I would have one station for me (teacher station). This is where, after my explicit whole class teaching, I would teach a mini-lesson or a guided hands-on activity to consolidate a topic.

If you organise the students into ability groups, you can re-teach the same concept in another hands-on way to your lower ability groups. For your higher ability groups, you can spend time extending on their current knowledge.

I found arranging the resources required at each station into a storage box allowed students to take charge and organise themselves. This eliminated distraction when they got to their stations as their resources were ready to go!

If you have planned different activities for each ability group, simply stick a coloured dot on a plastic folder to help students readily work out which activity is their groups for that rotation.

I used a variety of focused independent activities, collaborative activities and iPad and Computer activities.


Maths Rotations Activity Ideas

So, what do you plan for each station of your maths rotations?

This really depends on the maths topic of the week. My iPad rotation would often be a game to consolidate maths mentals or to revise previously taught topics.

The other three stations were purely dedicated to the maths topic for the week!

Here are some maths topics with possible worksheets and hands-on activities you could use during small group work. For more worksheets and activities for each category, simply click on the heading!

Units of Measurement

Money and Financial Mathematics

Place Value

Operations

Patterns and Algebra

Shape

Chance

Location and Transformation

Fractions

Problem Solving


What are your Tips?

We love hearing from our followers…
Let us know how you manage maths rotations in the comments below!

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Comments & feedback

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Where do you find the circle that has the activities on it? Cant find it anywhere!

· Feb 12th, 2019

Hi Deb,
I think you may be referring to the group activity wheels. Take a look at the link below:
https://www.teachstarter.com/search/?query=group+activity+wheels
If there is anything else I can assist you with, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Kristian · Feb 12th, 2019

I have a manager for each group- On my chart I put a dot next to each name when chosen as the manager- for my own benefit so I can see who has had a turn being manager. No real way of choosing a manager- its just who I think would be good on the day, and so it also becomes a fairness task too, to esnure everyone get the same number of turns.
Managers role- take any resources to their group. Group members to ask their manager for help. If the manager cant solve the problem, they come to me. Manager also comes to me if they are having problems getting group members to focus on the task given.

The manager is the only person to come to me- I am already working with a group and its much better if I only have 2 managers come to me with a problem, instead of 8 or so people (I have 16 in my class!) Far less interruptions for my group!

This works really well. I have done this for years! We also doa group reflection at the end. Manager wears reflection glasses (party play glasses from BigW! They LOVE this!!), and I ask them to reflect on their group- great if having a social goal as part of their learning too. I also ask the group if the manager was on task and a helpful manager. Alsways works so well!
Reason they are a ‘manager-‘ it imples managing the group- they maange the resources, everyone is focusing, and the thidying up. It is a group effort, and must not be left to the manager to pack up. I dont use the word leader or boss, as these words could give the child in question a different take on the role. No one likes a bossy boss! But we love a helpful manager!

Deanne Grant · Nov 27th, 2018

Thank you for your lovely comment. I am so glad you are enjoying our resources. You have some great ideas here, thanks so much for sharing.

Kristian · Nov 27th, 2018

How wonderful that you’ve grouped all these wonderful resources together! It’s especially helpful to have them grouped by Maths Strand as well, making it quicker to pinpoint the resources I need to match the topic(s) being covered in explicit teaching. I’m certain my 2/3 class are going to love using these resources this term!

David Brew · Apr 27th, 2018

Hi David,
Thanks so much for your kind feedback. It’s so nice to hear that you have found this blog helpful in your planning for maths groups!

Holly (Teach Starter) · Apr 27th, 2018

Where can you find the colour wheel?

Sarah Nisi · Feb 11th, 2018

Hey Sarah, you can find our the colour wheel by following this link – https://www.teachstarter.com/teaching-resource/group-activity-wheels-8-colour-group-options/.

Holly (Teach Starter) · Mar 1st, 2018

Fantastic resource! Can I ask where I can locate the spinner you used on your display?

Thanks and advance

Sam

Samantha Bell · Jan 11th, 2018

Hi Sam, glad you like this blog article. You can find the spinner by clicking on the following link: https://www.teachstarter.com/us/?post_type=teaching-resource&p=147378.

Holly (Teach Starter) · Jan 11th, 2018

They look fantastic.Cant wait to try them on my class

Jennifer Mifsud · Jun 11th, 2017

I agree with a couple of the others, it’s fantastic to have some good resources in one place. I always file the Teach Starter emails away and after starting my maths rotations yesterday I decided it was time to check out this particular email. Brilliant, just what I needed!!! Also lots to use later on as well.

Michelle Wilkinson · Mar 7th, 2017

Thank you for your wonderful feedback Michelle! I am so glad that you find these blogs useful!

I’ll continue to write blogs where I pull together a range of resources on a particular topic or classroom routine! Stay tuned for more helpful blogs.

Kind regards
Holly

Holly (Teach Starter) · Mar 7th, 2017

Very impressive Holly! I agree with the others, it’s great to have all the resources in 1 place. Thank you so much. Denise

Denise Mendham · Mar 1st, 2017

Thank you for your lovely comment Denise! So glad it has been helpful to so many of our followers!
Kind regards,
Holly

Holly (Teach Starter) · Mar 1st, 2017

Thanks Holly. This is fabulous …

Maree Gray · Mar 1st, 2017

You’re most welcome Maree!

Holly (Teach Starter) · Mar 1st, 2017

Thanks for the ideas. Are all the labels that you used somewhere on Teach Starter?

Maree Gray · Mar 1st, 2017

Hi Maree,

No worries at all. I used the Rainbow Classroom Theme Pack for all of the labels – http://teachstart.co/2kaLSDP.

Let me know if you have any further questions!

Kind regards,
Holly

Holly (Teach Starter) · Mar 1st, 2017

Thank you so much for the great ideas!

Margie Laviano · Mar 1st, 2017

No problem at all Margie! Enjoy!
Kind regards,
Holly

Holly (Teach Starter) · Mar 1st, 2017

This is fantastic thanks so much:)

Sharon Fryer · Feb 26th, 2017

You are most welcome Sharon! I am glad you have found this blog article useful!
Kind regards,
Holly

Holly (Teach Starter) · Feb 27th, 2017

Brilliant resources, thank you!

Jessica118 Lannan · Feb 19th, 2017

Thanks for your comment Jessica! Glad to hear that you like the resources I featured in this blog article! I hope you find them useful in the classroom.
Kind regards,
Holly

Holly (Teach Starter) · Feb 20th, 2017

It’s great to see all these resources organised in one place. Thanks.

Richard Raay · Feb 19th, 2017

Thanks Richard! So glad you found this blog and its resources useful!
Kind regards,
Holly

Holly (Teach Starter) · Feb 20th, 2017

What a fantastic read! I will definitely use a lot of these ideas and resources. Thanks so much.

Joshua Jones · Feb 16th, 2017

Thanks so much for your lovely feedback Joshua! I am so glad you have found this blog useful! I loved maths rotations in my classroom!
Kind regards,
Holly

Holly (Teach Starter) · Feb 17th, 2017

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