Math Rotations for a Beginner

I decided to start Math Rotations this year and I must say...I was nervous! I have always taught math to the whole group and I've never done enough hands-on activities. This year I have a class that has a huge gap in their abilities. I knew that something about the way I taught math would have to change. I spent all summer researching and preparing for math rotations.

First, I read Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction by Laney Sammon. I highly recommend this book if you are just starting out with math small groups.

Then I made this awesome Math Rotations board from the Clutter Free Classroom on TPT.

M = Math Facts, A = At Your Seat, T = Teacher Time, H = Hands-on

Next, I spent some time hours creating centers like these Math Dice Games for the students to use during their hands-on time. 

You can find these Math Dice Centers in my TPT store! They cover a ton of different concepts. 

Finally, it was time to teach math! I used a Saxon pretest that was provided in my curriculum to group my students into four groups. I spent a great deal of time on the first day just going over the procedures and walking them through the rotations. At first it seemed a little chaotic! 

But I finally got them working quietly like this...

and this!!

This is where my students come for "Teacher Time." I have small whiteboards from Lakeshore that my students use to practice the concept that I am teaching. 

         I always start with a mini lesson. All students are learning the same concept, but I differentiate their "At Your Seat" work and I also differentiate what I do with them during "Teacher Time." The "Math Facts" and "Hands-on" rotations are usually the same for everyone. This allows me to keep my sanity when trying to plan for math rotations. I found that it is very easy to get caught up in the planning and go overboard! I had to calm myself down a bit and realize that not every little thing needed to be differentiated. 

So far, this is working for me, but I'm interested to know how other people do math rotations! Since I'm still a beginner, I have plenty of room to improve and I'm always seeking advice on how I can change things for the better in my classroom.  What do you do differently?                  

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