In a class with 24 learners, it is sometimes difficult to keep track of which child did what activities. What I have found to help is working with a group rotation system.
I use four groups, named after shapes, with 6 learners in a group. Each group has a table, where they eat and do certain work. Each child has his/her own chair with a chair bag. In the chair bag they keep their pencil cases, colouring books and aprons.
During the morning discussion ring they sit in rows on the carpet, according to the group sign(big shapes on card board). These are rotated each day, so each group gets a turn to be in front.
When we do our 4 stations: including crafts, playdough, sensory bin, educational, they rotate in their groups. For instance, the Squares will be at the craft station first. When they are all done, we move the sign to the next station, and all the signs get moved, so all the kids know where to go: according to their group sign. And teacher knows that all the learners did go through all the station, because when you give them free choice of where to work, you will find that certain children(boys) will only want to play!
Certain activities call for whole class teaching, but I prefer working in smaller groups where possible. Tidy up time works also better when working in groups, since the last group at a certain station must tidy up that station, so the “work” is divided up, and what even works better is to make tidy-up time then a competition between the groups!
During lunch time each child gets a turn to be the leader that sets the table: counting how many friends there are, hand out the cutlery etc. (sneaking in some math and social skills)
For our weekly gross motor period outside we also rotate in groups between 4 different stations, specifically planned to develop 4 different gross motor skills. Each group gets 10 minutes at a station, and the last few minutes they can choose where to play.
I try and group the learners like this:
– equal in gender(or more or less)
– according to language(since we are a biligual school with English and Afrikaans kids)
– splitting up best friends(this way they are more obiedient, believe it or not!)
– sometimes according to abilities, although I do not like to “label” learners so I try and stay away from that(kids are darn clever and catch on quickly which group is the “slowest”.) Also, the stronger kids tend to “help” the others in a group of mixed abilities, so making use of peer guidence is sometimes more effective.
This is, in short, how group rotation helps me to manage my classroom. I am curious to how other preschool teachers manage their classes. Do leave me a comment if you will.