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What is The Workshop Rotation Model?


The Workshop Rotation Model (WRM or WoRM) is based on the multi-intelligences theory by Howard Gardner. The basic idea behind the multi-intelligences theory is two-fold and sequential: 1. Our traditional concept of intelligence is too narrow (Gardner names the 2 traditional areas as language and math) and leaves out a number of other areas (Gardner has named 6 more intelligences to be added to the two traditional intelligences) 2. Therefore, our teaching approaches should encompass all 8 of these intelligences.  To learn more about Howard Gardner’s Theory, visit here:


http://www.thomasarmstrong.com/multiple_intelligences.php


The idea of WRM, then, is to teach the Bible stories in a way that encompasses all the of the 8 intelligences.  One way that is done is by teaching 1 Bible story over the course of 3 or 4 weeks.

At R4, we call this period of time that it takes to teach one story a session. A WRM school year is typically made up of 10 Sessions.  In other words, during the school year, we teach 10 stories (see a Sample Schedule by clicking HERE).  Each year, a different set of 10 stories is taught.  After 5 years, the lessons repeat themselves. We recommend a grade range of K-5th for WRM.  With that grade range in mind, whatever stories a student learned as a Kindergartner, s/he will learn again as 5th graders. Click HERE to see a suggested list of 50 Bible stories to teach using the WRM (this is also known as a "Scope and Sequence").  


The classrooms (or workshops) function differently in the Workshop Rotation Model.  If you think about what a workshop is, you might think of a space that is dedicated for a certain type of work. That's how the classrooms work in WRM.  Each classroom is dedicated to teaching a certain type of class that addresses a certain grouping of intelligences.  The set-up is somewhat similar to middle school or high school, where each room and teacher is dedicated to a subject and the students rotate through the rooms (a different room every week).  In the case of a WRM session, though, the subject (the Bible story) stays the same in each classroom, but the approach to the subject differs.  A decent analogy would be if you thought of one Bible story as a freeway.  Now, think of the different classrooms as on-ramps.  WRM classrooms provide different approaches to the same story.  


The R4 WRM lessons use four classrooms: Arts & Crafts, Movement & Games, Science and Storytelling.  For a more in-depth explanation of the classrooms, click HERE.  (Note: The WRM calls the classrooms "workshops," but the terminology tends to confuse members in the congregation and without too good of a reason, so at R4 we're sticking with the "classroom" terminology)


One weakness of the WRM is that because the teachers stay with the classrooms (instead of with the students), the teachers don't get to know the children very well.  There are two known ways to address this shortcoming.  The first way is with the “shepherd.”  The shepherd is an adult who rotates with the class every week.  This adult gets to know the children’s names and personalities and also provides a helping hand to the teacher.  To further help the shepherd and the teacher get to know the kids, we’ve also created a “Question of the Week” that the shepherd asks the students at the start of each class.  The question is a personal question, but is also relevant to the story they are learning for that session.  To help the kids think about the question ahead of time, we suggest the CE director or Superintendent send out a "Question of the Week" email to all the parents who have children in the WRM.  


The Workshop Rotation Model is an engaging and energetic learning endeavor.  However, no matter how effective, it is imperative to remember that Christian Education is supplemental.  Christian Education can only support and strengthen what parents are teaching and demonstrating at home. Discipleship is a daily, hourly practice.  Christian Education can enhance, hone, and intensify Christian practices, but it can never, ever be a replacement for it.