Sunday, December 6, 2015

How to Organize Your Literacy Rotations

The biggest thing I try to explain to a teacher who is asking me for help setting up their literacy rotations is that I didn't organize all of this over night.  I spent the last two years really figuring out how to organize everything in order to best suit my needs.  Everyone works differently, so PLEASE don't think that my organization system will necessarily work for you.  

My goal when I set up my classroom is to make everything my students will need on a daily basis easily accessible and easy for them to find.  I want them to become independent in the classroom so I can focus on my guided reading groups.  I make sure there are no reasons for any student to interrupt my group time because they don't know what to do.  The only reason a student should interrupt my group is in case of an emergency. 

1. Clear display of literacy rotations 
I like to use a pocket chart to display my literacy rotations.  It doesn't have to be a pocket chart as long as it stays on the wall all day.  I don't particularly like using my Promethean Board because I use it for another purpose.  My center cards have a visual aid for those students who need a visual support.  The Daily 5 banner was made with my Editable Banner Template in my TpT store. 
I move my Nemo clip as we move to each rotation.  This is so students can easily check to make sure they know what they're doing.  Sometimes I have a student who has been in the library for one rotation and returns once we have started the next.  This student can look at where Nemo is on the chart and quickly find their place. 
To the left of the pocket chart is a clip chart.  I have two classes.  My morning class is on the left and my afternoon class is on the right.  I use the clips to show students which group they're in.  This makes moving students from group to group easier.

2. Group materials organization
This 6-drawer plastic organizer is directly next to my small group table.  I have the materials I will need for each group stored in the proper drawer.  In each drawer is a folder to separate the materials for each class' group.  I put the books, plans, and organizers (if applicable for that day) in the folder.
The two larger drawers at the bottom are for other materials.  The first one has extra copies of organizers for me to quickly grab if I need them.  The bottom drawer has plastic covers with Jan Richardson inspired word analogy charts for word study.  When I taught Kindergarten I had alphabet charts and letter tracing sheets in them.
On the top of my rolly cart is my timer.  I have a color countdown timer that shows green for more than 10 minutes, yellow for less than 10 minutes, and red for 1 minute.
On the floor in front of my organizer I have extra book boxes.  When I take a trip to our Guided Reading Library I always grab at least one extra book set for each group so I am not constantly searching for books in the book room.  I keep leveled texts for each group in these book boxes.
I have a limited amount of slates in my classroom so I like to use the Wall Pops on my kidney table.  They also add a bright color pop, which I clearly love!  I use these for my students to practice writing a few of our weekly spelling words before we start our reading.

In front of each student's Wall Pop is a pencil basket with needed materials.  Each basket has an Expo marker, felt square for a dry erase eraser, crayons (for Luckeyfrog's Text Detective activities which we LOVE), and a pencil.  Since taking this picture I have wrapped all of my small group pencils in purple duct tape so they know it belongs to the guided reading table.  As soon as they accidentally walk away from the table with my pencil they rush back to return it.  If one is dropped to the floor they know where to return it.  I have stopped having to replace these pencils. #teacherwin

3. Word Work
Each week students have a new spelling word list.  Usually our word work consists of a spelling word activity.  However, when we're working on a particular grammar skill I do switch it up with a grammar activity.  For example, for the last few weeks we have been reviewing plural nouns so students may have a plural nouns activity for word work.  I always keep the word work basket in the same place so students know where to go.  I love these baskets from Really Good Stuff!  They're bright and easy to find.  If I write on the board "Word Work: Plural nouns activity in the yellow basket" they know where to go.

4. Work on Writing- Process Piece
This is our writing board.  Students independently move their clip down the chart when we're working on a process piece.  This makes it really easy for me to see who is getting close to being ready to meet with me or who is taking too long in one area and needs me to check in on them.  You can find this Writing Process Clip Chart in my TpT store.  I also have a chalkboard + chevron version.  
Notice the poster on the left for revising (green) and editing (red).  This is color-coded for a reason.  (Please see explanation below the picture with pens and highlighters)
Right below my writing board is a plastic drawer organizer. On top are our revising and editing tools: highlighters, green pens, red pens, and a few booklets for students to reference.  The highlighters are for students to find "boring" words in their writing that they may be able to find a synonym for in a thesaurus.  Green pens are for revising and red pens are for editing.

5. Displaying directions
I always have my directions for Work on Writing and Word Work displayed on the Promethean Board throughout my literacy rotations.  I keep the directions short and sweet for students to refer to.  If directions are posted there are no excuses for students to interrupt my small group with questions about what they should be doing. 

6. Keeping track of turned in work
Students turn in their completed Word Work into this bin.  Only teaching language arts is amazing because I have less papers to check every week.  This bin is a LIFESAVER!  All of a student's turned in work is in one place.  I can quickly check the bin every afternoon to see who I'm missing word work from as I complete my check list (compliments of Ladybugs Teacher Files).  Our school requires a Thursday communication folder.  Each week I am able to grab each students' work straight out of the completed work bin, check it, and stick it in their Thursday folder. 

I hope you found this helpful!  Please feel free to leave a comment or question below. :)

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