Planning the Rotation Groups
The Rotations tab for the Setup process of this type of schedule is an important part of the planning process. ESSMaker sets up rotation groups automatically, but then allows you flexibility to change the various aspects.
By default the groups are comprised of all the classes in each grade level. The arrow keys on either end of the title permit you to scroll through all of your rotation groups. If you need to split a grade into multiple groups, the button Create New Planning/Rotation Group permits you to do that. The resulting form requests a title and code for the group. It also shows classes available for the group. Drag classes from ‘Other’ to ‘Assigned’ to add them to the group. You must hit the Save button to apply your choices.
If you wish to move classes into an existing group, there is a plus sign button at the right end of the teachers list. This takes you to an edit screen for this group that lets you change the title and code of the group and also drag additional classes from ‘Other’ to ‘Assigned’.
To delete a rotation group, you must move all of classes out of that group. ESSMaker will then delete that group automatically. This means that you need to edit the group into which those classes must move and drag them into it.
One of the challenges of rotation group planning is fitting sufficient students and classes into the rotation in such a way as to match the specialists that are available to teach subjects. For example, in some cases you may have 5 classes and only 4 specialists. Sometimes this is handled by moving that extra class into a group that has only 3 classes. Of course this means that classroom teacher doesn’t get a planning period at the same time as the other members of the original group.
Another approach is to alter the number of groupings within the planning group, either stretching 3 classes into 4 groupings for specials, or squeezing 5 classes into 4. At the left end of the table, under the Groupings column, there is a x button to delete the last grouping row. There is a plus sign button to add a grouping row. And there is an Edit button which allows you to change the names of the groupings within this rotation group. The Animals button suggests some whimsical names for groupings that are independent of grade and class, if desired.
Rotation Length and Specialist Assignments
In the top row at the right end, there is another x button which deletes the rightmost column of the rotation group. Use that to give your rotation fewer days. The plus sign there will open a form that lists available specialists. This allows you to add a day to the rotation schedule, and the specialist you choose will be added at the top row right hand end.
If you wish to shift the pattern left or right within a rotation group, you can do so with the arrow buttons that are found at the right hand end of the table in the last row.
When you have multiple specialists in the same discipline there will be a small caret in the upper left corner of each specialists box. Clicking this button will display all the specialists and allow you to select which one is assigned to that slot.