Rotational Teaching: Can We Do It?

August 25th, 2011

The short answer is – YES, you can!

So what exactly is a “Rotation Model?”

In a rotational setting, the same Bible story or theme is taught for several weeks. Each week, learners rotate to a different station. The story remains the same, but children encounter it in different ways in each station. Repetition is an important part of the rotation approach. The more different ways children explore a story or concept, the more it is reinforced in their memories. The variety of experiences keeps interest high throughout the unit. Teachers teach the same lesson, with age-level adjustments, for the length of the rotation.

Rotational learning is exciting for students and teachers alike, as teachers teach to their strengths and students experience Bible stories in ways they learn best. Rotational learning is grounded in the work of Howard Gardner in Multiple Intelligences Theory. Rotational learning is active learning, emphasizing each of the first seven intelligences that Gardner identified.

Rotational learning is an extremely flexible model that adapts well in many different settings. In each setting, you decide:

How to divide the children and whether or not all the children will visit each station. You might consider dividing children by grade, or placing two grades together, or using broadly graded learning groups.

How many weeks each unit will last. Although Cokesbury’s PowerXpress!® provides stations for eight weeks, it is unlikely that your units will last this long. Three, four, or five weeks is more typical.

What stations to use. The stations provided in each unit of PowerXpress!® are Art, Computer, Creative Cookery, Game, Music/Movement, Science, Storytelling, and Video. Currently PowerXpress!® offers 12 units that can be downloaded by individual station directly to your computer!

How to set up stations. In an ideal world, you would have eight dedicated spaces and could set up all eight stations and leave them set up. During each unit, you would use only the stations that you have selected for that unit. If you don’t have this luxury of spaces that are in place all the time, you might use the same space for more than one station during the year. Perhaps your space can be set up in a way that can reasonably accommodate more than one station.

Which activities to use in each station, since PowerXpress!® unit provides more options than you will use. Each station has several ideas for younger children and several ideas for older children, as well as some that can be used with all ages.

The order in which to use the units. PowerXpress!® is undated. There are over forty units covering stories of both the Old and New Testaments. W also have seasonal Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter units.

Both small and large churches use rotation models. This is because rotational learning creates welcoming environments where children learn about the Bible in a variety of ways. The principles and ideas of rotational learning are in many ways reflective of the small church. A strong sense of community and a balanced division of leadership are desirable for the success of both. Rotational learning fosters connections between the teachers and the children by allowing teachers to share in areas where they are gifted and interested. Children benefit from learning from a diverse group of leaders using a broad variety of activities.

Download the free Director's Manual pdf below for more detailed information.

View Samples of the Units here:
Christmas Around the World
In the Manger
Good News!
Journey to Bethlehem
The Gift of Jesus

Or to purchase one of the Advent/Christmas Units, view those in Related Products below.

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