Getting It Started Saturday: Math Rotations {FAQ}

Thanks for all of your great questions with the first part of starting Math Rotations! If you missed Part 1 or 2, be sure to read them first by clicking HERE. I'm calling this mini-series Getting It Started Saturday!

Math Rotations {FAQ}

I am beyond in love with Math Rotations, but it took me a while to take the first step and actually start them up in my class. Starting Daily 5 gave me some confidence, but what worried me the most was the management, grouping, and time crunch that math presents each day (we have a 60-minute math block). 

If you haven't read my Math Rotations posts, I recommend reading them to get some general background knowledge about each of the pieces and parts. The four parts are:
Every student goes through each of the first three centers every day and, if they are early finishers on Lesson Work, they have the opportunity to do Fact Practice.

Each day begins with kids going straight to their first rotation. I begin with Teacher Time with my lowest group, then switch after ~18 minutes to meet with my medium group, then after ~18 minutes, meet with my high group. After leaving Teacher Time, the kids then go to Lesson Work and then Math Centers. I typically do these rotations Monday-Thursday

On Friday, my high kids come in and start with Lesson Work (from the day before's Teacher Time), my middle kids work on Math Centers, and my low kids, who usually meet with me first for Teacher Time, will often do Fact Practice while I work on reteaching some of my strugglers. After ~18 minutes, we stop and use the last ~40 minutes of class to do a game like Monster Math, Scoot, Bingo, etc. Fun times on Friday :)

On Monday, when my high kids come into do Lesson Work during first rotation, I will give them an extension activity (usually provided by our math program) to complete. This allows me to challenge their higher-level thinking skills and make sure they are doing purposeful work during that time. Sometimes, I will also have them do ScootPad on the iPad or computer, since that is CCSS-aligned and self-differentiating for their level. 

Getting It Started:
Math Rotations Frequently Asked Questions

I have read each and every one of your comments and questions and thought it would be best to compile them in an easy-to-find FAQ post! 

If you're new to Math Rotations, I definitely recommend reading through the other posts in this series as well as the rest found in the Math Rotations tab HERE and at the top of my blog. 

How long is your math block? 

60 minutes, which is why my rotations and up being about 18 minutes, give or take.... it's quick!

If you had 15+ extra minutes, how would you use them? 

I loved this question!! If I had 15 extra minutes, I would do a whole-class warm-up, Math Talk, or even read some math literature. We get to do these things on Fridays, but doing them all week long would make me very happy :)

How do you fit in literature? 

I *adore* math literature, but it gets tight with our current schedule. If I do want to read a book, I will try to share it on Friday. I have also not done Math Rotations that day and done a read aloud with some whole-class activities. 

What does my High group do on Mondays during Lesson Work when they first come in?

I went into this quite a bit during Part 2's video, but the short version is that they do enrichment work like math riddles/puzzles, task cards, higher-level thinking problems, all of that good stuff that is so hard to get to in our regular day.

How often do you do Math Rotations?

I typically do them Monday-Thursday and one rotation on Friday (see the top of this post for more detail). I started by only doing them a few times a week, but my kids loved them and begged for them, so how could I argue with that?! I think the small groups and shorter times help keep them excited and engaged, too :)

Do you teach the same lesson three times a day?

Crazy, right?! But, I do :) I find that I teach it differently each time, and that my groups really determine the focus even though the lesson in the "same"-- I find I am reaching them better in this way and that I can target my teaching much better.

What do your kids do for Lesson Work?

Definitely check my Lesson Work post HERE-- I have kids work in their student workbooks (from our district math program) and then if they finish early, they can work on Fact Practice (find more info on that HERE). 

I'm nervous to get started... any advice?

I know it sounds overwhelming and I was completely in your shoes last year. I finally felt the confidence to start after finding that I was a better teacher in small groups and my kids learned more in that format, too. Daily 5 gave me the management confidence and reading as much as I could helped me wrap my mind around the pieces and parts much better. I hope my posts have helped you in that way! I also prepped *to death* the Fact Practice and Math Centers so there was no way that kids would run out of purposeful things to do (management nightmare!) and could deepen their math knowledge even after finishing the worksheet for the day. Last, I recommend just jumping in and trusting the process. It does involve some growing pains, but soon, you will feel the payoff and so will your kids!

I will be back next Saturday with a new topic in my Getting It Started series! Thanks so much for your support and enjoy your weekend :)


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  2. Thank you for doing all these posts about your math rotations. After finding your blog last year, I tried the math rotations in my classroom and absolutely loved them! I also found my kids liked how the lessons were broken up into small sections.

    Ms Richards's Musings

  3. What a wonderful resource you are! I will recommend your blog to my student teacher from last year. I have been doing math rotations for several years (started because I was teaching a 2/3 combo and had to figure out a way to teach 2 math curriculums in our 90 min math block)! I wouldn't teach math any another way! I think it also keeps kids with their behavior- work for a while and then change!
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you sooo much for all of these wonderful posts about your Math Rotations! I started them in the middle of last year in my classroom after reading one of your posts and it worked out pretty well.. My students definitely loved them! However, I am planning to start them from day 1 this year, and I think they will be even better than last year! And with all of your guidance in these posts, I think I have a much better idea of how to make them successful!

    I referenced your math rotations in my post today and linked it back to these posts! You can see it

    Thanks again! =)

    The Resource Room Teacher

  5. I was curious what you do on short weeks, like if you don't have school on a Monday or Friday? Thanks!