Special Education Classroom Daily Schedule- Work Center Rotations

I absolutely LOVE my work centers!  This blog post I will only be discussing the system of work centers.  I will be discussing the actual work and curriculum that takes place at each center in the curriculum  section of this blog series!  I have finetuned this system to make it the most efficient system for my students. I love my work centers because it promotes independence and it is consistent!  I have 3 work centers during our work center rotations.  
There is a RED, BLUE and GREEN table.

Above each labeled table is a cute little sign to make it more noticeable which table is where. 

Morning work centers takes place right after our Morning Meeting. Students check their schedules and get their working card.  They are passed out once they check their schedule. 
 I come around and let them choose a toy/activity that they are going to "work for” from our token economy folder.   

Once they all have their working cards and activities picked, work centers start!  Students are grouped into 3 groups (3 students per group.)  Each student group has their own group color: purple, orange and yellow .  I have the student groups posted on the back cabinets so that all the staff and students know where they are supposed to be when!  

Each groups working card has the color table schedule on the bottom so that the student knows which table they are to go to first!

Working cards are carried by the student from table to table.  Each group's working card has visual cues at the bottom of the card indicating the order of tables they will attend to (Ex. 1st Red table, 2nd green table, and 3rd blue table).  
The working card serves as a great reinforcer for my student's.  When a student becomes unmotivated or begins to act out, a simple prompt to the working card reminds the student that they will be rewarded for good behavior and hard work.  

At the end of the rotation, if the student has completed their work and behaved appropriately they receive a colored clip to clip on to the working card..  We spend an hour total during the morning work centers.  We spend 15 minutes at each center totaling 45 minutes of work time.   If the student has earned all 3 clips after work centers, they place their working card on their desk and "trade" it in for their preferred task/activity.  For those student's that did not earn all three clips, they return back to the table they did not earn their clip from and finish their uncompleted work.  Student's are held accountable for their behaviors, and must earn free time.  The students have about15 minutes to play and clean up before snack time! 

Here is a summary of my work center routine:
Thank you for reading this LONG post about my work center rotations… I know it was a long one.  Tomorrow I will go into detail about my snack/recess/book time routines!

Here is a video tour explaining my work center rotations:


  1. This is a great system! What grades do you teach?

  2. I'm seriously going to put this system in my classroom!! You are genius. Thanks for sharing.

    Miss, Hey Miss

  3. Melissa,
    How do you make sure all of your students get teacher time (time with you) in all subject areas? Do you rotate among the centers during this time? Or do you specifically teach one subject (a table color) and your aides another?

  4. What do the kids work on at each table?

  5. This is good i can try this with my son now that he's on school vacation.