By Susan Jones
What began as a “fix it quick on the fly” became a favorite rotation within my math workshop.
I am a big advocate of rotations within a math block because I feel I am able to better gauge and address all learners more efficiently using this model. It becomes more personalized and some quieter students feel more comfortable asking questions in smaller groups. But, as you can imagine, there was one day I ran into an “uh oh” and like all of us wanted to split myself in two and just couldn’t, just as an administrator walked through the door for a “walk through.” I quickly grabbed the first kiddo near me and said, “Here! You are the lucky duck, you are in charge of this group”. The students were working as a group, on an interactive lesson that correlated with the target standard on the Eno board. This particular student (thankfully!) ran with it and became me without missing a beat.
Once I reflected on how that rotation went without me, it became an aha moment. I watched a few more times, different students lead this group and I realized how impactful students can be for each other. I began calling this my “Lucky Duck” rotation and it became a Learner Led group using the interactive whiteboard, which quickly became a student favorite. What is impactful about it is not only are they holding each other accountable for behavior, they are holding each other accountable for learning. It is powerful to sit back and watch fourth graders encourage and help each other learn/be exposed to grade level skills regardless of their academic ability. I have to admit I was afraid to “lose” those 15 minutes every day because like most teachers, I feel the time crunch to get through the curriculum effectively and on time.
Prior to my aha moment, I was of the belief it is difficult to get through what’s expected without wasting a minute of teaching time, but I have found my Lucky Duck rotation has actually helped get through the curriculum efficiently. Students walk through the door daily excited to see who the Lucky Duck is, and what is going to happen in class. The Lucky Duck group has added to the positive mindset and culture in my class which has increased math understanding and skills.
Susan Jones is a 4th grade teacher at Colt Andrews Elementary School.