WormyFAQs

This "Read Only" topic contains a number of "answers" to frequently asked questions about setting up, launching, and managing the Workshop Rotation Model. It was compiled from what was formerly known as the "Administration and Management of the WoRM" forum and represents "best advice and ideas" from dozens of WoRM users.

If you have something to ask or add, please post it in the "TEACHERS LOUNGE -- HELP, I HAVE A QUESTION" forum. Our FAQS will be updated.

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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
Original Post

Class Sizes, Attendance Fluctuations,
and Number of Weeks per Story Rotation


How Many Weeks is TOO MANY or TOO FEW for a Story Rotation?

4 to 5 weeks per story is the consensus norm for every size Sunday School. 3 Weeks is considered a bare minimum for reasons of planning, depth, and students remembering the story. The fewer the weeks, the more your preparation goes up. Some "big" stories like the Exodus can be split into 2 rotations, or be extended to 6 weeks. Story fatigue usually sets in after 5 or 6 weeks.

Some Rotation churches schedule a fifth or sixth "all group" week for a special lesson, celebration, or a needed adjustment in the calendar. 

What if you have a BIG Sunday School with 20+ kids per grade?

The WoRM is scalable if your facility and leadership are scalable. Some very large Sunday Schools need to break a big class into two classes (30 second-graders into two rotating groups of 15, for example). When starting the WoRM, it is best to keep it small and expand to other grades as your experience expands. 

Some workshops work better with smaller groups. Games or computer, for example. Some scale easily, such as Video, Art, and Music/Movement.

What if you have a SMALL Sunday School?

Read: Workshop Rotation in Small Churches, Few Kids.  Like most lesson plans, Rotation Workshop lesson plans work best with 3 or more students in a class group. 

What if my Sunday School TIME is short?

Read: Adapting Lessons to "Short" Lesson Times.

How do we deal with attendance FLUCTUATIONS? Attendance DECREASES, INCREASES?

Every Sunday School has fluctuations in attendance, some more than others. This is where the WoRM can really help. For example, instead of scheduling 4 rotating groups in the Spring, you can schedule just 2 or 3 rotating groups by combining age groups (while still keeping the same number of workshops). Read the article about Rotation Schedules.

The WoRM is also good at dealing with predictable increases in attendance, such as during Advent. Just think about which workshops and activities are planned so that they can easily handle increased attendance.

Art, Music, Video, and Games are usually easily adapted to the SUDDEN INFLUX of unexpected numbers.  If you know in advance, all the better. However, Cooking, Computers, Science, and Drama are much harder to quickly adapt to sudden influxes of students.  They are more number sensitive.

Last edited by Amy Crane

In progress...

Pre-Startup FAQS:

  • How long does it take to IMPLEMENT the WoRM?

  • When is a good time to START the WoRM?

  • How much money does it take to IMPLEMENT the WoRM?

  • Overcoming Teachers Resistance to Change

  • Strategies for Introducing the WoRM to Your Church

  • Publicizing the WoRM



How long does it take to IMPLEMENT the WoRM?
When is a good time to START the WoRM?

See this other post below for a full discussion of "when" to implement the WoRM.

  • The answer depends on the time of year, condition of your classrooms, budget, volunteers, and vision for transforming your classrooms. Some classrooms need a lot of help to become inviting workshop spaces. Painting and murals are quick ways to change the look, but take organization.
  • Many churches have found it useful to use the SUMMER to transform their spaces.
  • Some have created workshops one-at-time in the year preceding their WoRM launch.
  • Some have created a summer VBS that will need a special room or two that can be quickly turned into workshops for a fall launch.
  • Don't forget the hallways and new signage. 
  • Most WoRM Sunday Schools will tell you that they got their biggest boost by focusing on transforming the space.

How much money does it take to IMPLEMENT and run the WoRM?

See the discussion about budgets here, initial startup costs, and yearly budget.

What's the cost of Rotation curriculum?

The answer depends on the size of your program, condition of your existing rooms, available supplies, and vision for transforming your space.

In general, a "getting started" budget of $500 to $700 is not unreasonable for a small or medium-size church setting up 3 or 4 workshops, unless you need to buy furniture or add lighting. Keep in mind that some of your transformation cost will no doubt be paying for things that should have been taken care of in the past!

Prioritize your workshop and hallway transformations, deciding what needs to be done for launch, and what idea can wait. Invariably, WoRM Sunday School evolve their spaces and ideas throughout their first year of operation. 

If you use Rotation.org Writing Team Lesson Sets, your curriculum cost will only be $45 a year! So there's a GIANT savings. 

Cost can also depend on who you ask to help. For example, if you recruit an adult class to "donate" time to transform your art space, they may also donate the paint, etc.

Some "themes" are less expensive than others at implementing. A "beach" theme for example, can utilize the multitude of inexpensive "tiki" party decorations available for purchase, and beach toy/decor supplies cheaply available and fun to decorate with.

Overcoming Resistance to Change

  • Change is always resisted by someone, so expect it.
  • Involve everyone in the evaluation and envisioning process. Once teachers, parents, and leaders share what they think could be better, and what their hopes are, they often see that those asking for change share their heart for teaching God's kids, and that puts them at ease. 
  • Show people how the WoRM is trying to fix certain problems.
  • Help resisters see parallels to other times where your church has used similar teaching approaches, such as VBS. 
  • Some traditional teachers may oppose changes because they feel the changes reflect poorly on what they've been doing.  You can't satisfy everyone.
  • Often times people will change their opinion when they see someone they respect and look up to getting behind the change, and when they know the pastor is excited about it.
  • Sometimes its easier to replace a few teachers than convince the resisters. 
  • Get long-time teachers involved in the transformation of their classrooms.
  • Doing some "test runs" with teachers repeating their lessons to different groups will often convince some of the resisters. 
  • Many Rotation churches report that "resistance melts" when people begin to see the exciting new space take shape, and excitement of the kids and parents.

Strategies for Introducing the WoRM to Your Church

  • Launch a "mini-rotation" of workshops during a special time of year such as Advent, or in the spring or summer when attendance is low and teachers are often looking for something different. 
  • Plan your VBS this summer to be a Workshop Rotation-style Sunday School so that teachers and parents can quickly understand by seeing how things rotate. 
  • Plan a special "Open House" rotation Sunday that includes adults, rotating into the different workshops 10 minutes at a time.
  • The "big introduction" to most people will be visual -- when they see your transformed spaces.
  • Produce a flyer, but don't worry about having to "sell it" to the kids or parents. They will be happy to be happy!


Publicizing the WoRM

Photos! Facebook! Videos! Slides in Worship! Newsletter blurbs. Press release to the local paper.

Keep in mind the LONG TERM NEED to remind people WHY we changed to the WoRM. This will keep them from "going back" should things struggle or leaders change.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Frequently asked questions about...

Age Range Considerations 

Preschoolers and Younger Youth in Rotation?

Broadly Graded Groups



Age Range Considerations 

Grades 2 through 5 are the "sweet spot" for Rotation Sunday School. Adding 1st and 6th grades can depend on your numbers in those grades.  

In your first year, it is better to keep the age-range tight until your teachers get comfortable.

Many Rotation churches routinely include Kindergartners and some even Preschoolers. Obviously, these younger kids need some adaptations. 

Older students are often the most resistant to change and more challenging for new teachers to work with. Over time, as students grow up in your program, they will get better acclimated to the Rotation Model and ways of interacting.

Some include their MIddle Schoolers in some of the workshops and rotations (again, with adaptations). Rotation Writing Team lessons come with "younger and older" adaptations. See the Pre-K and Middle School discussion topics for more information.



Broadly Graded Groups

Many smaller Sunday Schools are used to broadly-grading their groups. "How Broad" is often a function of "who that older kid is, and how they relate to the younger ones."  Many Rotation churches have found it helpful to turn their "older" students into classroom helpers, rather than treating them only like students.

Many learning activities naturally adjust a broadly graded group. Art and Drama, for example. Some videos skew too young or too old for part of a broadly graded group. Choose wisely. In workshops or with lessons that seem "too old" or "too young" for your broadly graded group, be sure to have EXTRA TEACHING HELP so you can give one age or another the extra attention they need to adapt the lesson for them.

As Rotation Students get older, they get more "used to" being with younger kids and more amenable to having to adapt.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Shared Space, Limited Space, Rented Space, No Classrooms,
Using Rotation with Mid-Week Groups
Special Needs Kids

Shared Space, Limited Space, No Classrooms

View the discussion and advice about doing the Rotation Model in shared or limited space, etc.

Doing Rotation Mid-Week

See the discussion about using the Rotation Model on other than Sunday morning

Special Needs Kids in Rotation

View the discussion and advice here.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

When is the best time of the year to implement the Workshop Rotation Model in a church?

How long does it take to get the WoRM ready to launch?

Of course there are lots of variables to these answers, but here is a collection of advice gleaned from posts at this site to help your planning.

FALL LAUNCH

It's typical and traditional to switchover to the Rotation Model in the Fall at the beginning of a new school year.  But many Rotation churches start their planning many months if not a year or more in advance.

"ADVANCE" WORKSHOP CREATION

In addition to getting people on board and getting permissions and a budget, many Rotation leaders use the year leading up to launch to begin collecting and creating workshops. For example, they may install a computer lab months in advance, or begin trying out drama and cooking workshop concepts in the spring before their fall launch.

it can be pretty exciting to begin transforming the hallways months in advance, and putting "Under Construction" signs on a classroom door (and then sneaking the kids in there months in advance for a sneak peek.)

SUMMER SNEAK-UP

Some Rotation churches use their SUMMER Sunday School or Vacation Bible School work force and budgets to begin decorating workshop rooms. VBS' typically use THEMES and special learning spaces, so the summer before you launch Rotation your VBS can have a Video Workshop or special Drama space that you simply do not tear-down after VBS is over. 

SPRING SOFT LAUNCH

Many programs experience a down-turn in attendance during the spring. Thus, this can be a good time to consolidate existing classes, and put a couple of their rooms "under construction." You can then use one of the workshops-in-progress on a Sunday or two to generate interest.

GO BIG OR...

Many Rotation churches have found that they needed a GREAT LAUNCH to juice interest and attendance, rather than a soft roll-out that goes un-noticed. 

"You only get one chance to make a first impression."

PLAN FOR EXTRA TIME

The amount of time it will take you will, of course, depend on your concepts, existing resources, and work force. Experience informs us that trying to do it all in a short time-frame will leave you with an incomplete launch.  Pick a few workshops and get them done EARLY.

Remember to schedule time to EMPTY OUT old classrooms. In some churches it can take several hours to sort through the "stuff" left in traditional classroom, -deciding what to save and throw out.

Schedule time to FIX PROBLEMS in various classrooms. Switchover is a good time to address ceiling and flooring issues, upgrade lighting, and rehabilitate furniture.

KEEP FLEXIBLE. BOLT NOTHING DOWN !

The WoRM is always a "work in progress."  Your ideas, inspirations, needs, and challenges will change. Even your rooms may change. You may start a puppet workshop and decide to make it a music & puppet workshop. Or you may suddenly be gifted with computers you didn't expect, or find yourself blessed with a talented muralist who transforms your hallways.  You may find yourself combining kids for a Video workshop, and then using that space for your Bible Games Workshop in weeks 3 and 4.  Halfway through the year you may discover a gifted "Science/Demonstration" teacher, or lose your music workshop teacher.

YOUR RENOVATIONS MAY BE YOUR BEST PROMOTION

Kids, adults and teachers get excited by change.  Revealing changes over a period of months rather than all at once will create a buzz.

ONE WORKSHOP WILL "BEGET" ANOTHER

One of the best reasons to begin planning far in advance is that people respond to what they see, more than what they read. Pick one workshop to begin renovating months in advance. Do it well, then invite people to COME SEE.  Post a "wish list" and schedule of your other room needs. 

THE WORST SCHEDULE IS THE ONE THAT PRODUCES HO-HUM RESULTS

Unfortunately, we know from experience in some WoRM churches that RUSHING often produces less than exciting workshops. Workshops that look like warmed-over traditional classrooms can leave people wondering what the big deal was.  People notice the rooms, not the lesson plans.

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