I have recently started using rotations in my classroom. Most mornings, the students come into the room and have three tasks to work on. They may decide what order to do these tasks in. Each rotation is about 30 minutes and the students now manage the time themselves, keeping an eye on the clock and trying to time their work accordingly.
As much as possible, rotations are relevant to the unit of inquiry that we are working on at the moment. This is always the case with the writing task. I will provoke their writing with a question, statement or problem and then they will use a basic writing process to produce a piece of work. They will pass their their work on to classmates for comments and proofreading. Very often, the writing task is connected to a conversation we have already had or a conversation we will have.
Another rotation is normally maths-based. We have subscriptions to Mathletics and the rotations give us the chance to use Mathletics for those skills and drills practices and frees up time for genuine maths inquiries at other times.
The third rotation is usually reading. The students have a lot of freedom about what reading materials to select and often I have students reading magazines, fiction books, non-fiction books, comics, newspapers, web pages and so on. Students read independently, in pairs or in groups.
The rotations have worked really well so far. They give us the chance to do a variety of tasks in a way that keeps a good pace. Students like the freedom to choose the order they do things in and they are enjoying the chance to manage their own time.