Rotation Enables Small Group Lessons
At Aspire Titan Academy, we use a rotational model where some students engage with interactive software, enabling small group lessons for others. Our students have 90 to 120 minutes of individual computer time daily. Our rotational model is currently evolving to use more programs and create more rotations. The goal is to increase the opportunities for small group instruction where we can better meet individual needs.
Number of Students: 26 students
Number of Adults: one teacher; various other adults support during specific times (e.g., Blended Learning Coordinator, Special Education Teachers, etc.)
Length of Class Period/Learning Time: 60 minutes--two 30 minute rotations (Math Block)
Digital Content/Ed Tech Tools Used on a Regular Basis: DreamBox
Hardware Used on a Regular Basis: Lenovo ThinkPads (1:2 ratio); SMARTboard; Document Camera; iPad (for teacher)
Key Features: station rotation; student agency
During the Problem Solving Investigation, students are in their teams and are delegating/agreeing on what their next steps and strategies will be during a problem solving investigation. Once they are ready to begin they show the teacher a silent signal, in this case a thumbs-up. They are then dissmissed to begin their investigation using manipulatives and materials they have are given/may select from. During this time each student is given a randomized role based on their drawn number for the session. Then students select strategies to solving the problem and collaborate using the strategies they've selected from our marh strategies card. Once they agree they provide feedback or ask questions in ways to proceed forth/close out the investigation task. The students identify their next steps and are in control of their own learning. I implement this strategy to catalyze stronger teamwork skills and lifelong collaborative abilities.This strategy is developing skill sets students will need in the upper grade levels as well as in college. Basic interpersonal communication and academic language profficiencies can only flourish when ample opportunities are created in the classroom.
Students self monitoring- At the closing of each session students turns and talk to their neighbor about how their session went, what went well, and what a challenge was. This is done so students have support for their sessions, and so the teacher can visually evaluate how the students feel they are doing. The self monitoring also helps students consider what their next steps should be, as well as offer up suggestions on who to ask for help with certain lessons or who the 'ask an expert' go to would be.
Many teachers--myself included--utilize a version of the Think Pair Share strategy to give students opportunities for social learning and to build a culture of classroom community that includes respectful academic discourse. I use the Main Idea Think Pair Share strategy to ensure that my students are able to identify and articulate the main ideas of texts we are reading, which is one of the most foundational literacy skills that all effective readers must develop. I find that it can be helpful to use scaffolds like sentence stems and a variety of starting approaches (e.g., "the student with the longest hair speaks first") to ensure that this strategy remains fresh and accessible to my students, many of whom are English Language Learners.