It's almost here...a THREE DAY WEEKEND!!! Woo hoo!!
I can't tell you how excited I am about it. I think the kids (and I) need that extra day. We have been in school for four weeks, and there's nothing like a little break to refresh. My kiddies are doing GREAT & I absolutely LOVE this group. They are so sweet, and the cutest things you have ever seen :)
This week, we started centers and they are doing so well with them. I love teaching small group & always look forward to when we finally get our rules & procedures downpat and it all becomes second nature. Ahhhhhh!!
Anyway, I just HAVE to share with you how I do centers. Seriously, folks, this absolutely changed my life!!!
For years, I had my four groups of learners and they moved around in centers from place-to-place. . . in big huge loud, groups. Then, I met an angel. I don't remember her name, but it was in passing during a district learning workshop and she was telling me how she did centers. And a lightbulb went off . . and my teaching life and classroom changed forever. I wish I could thank her . . . with flowers and a parade!
Warning - this sounds SO confusing at first, but the kids get it faster than you will & it's great.
First of all, my kids are divided into four groups - red group, blue group, green group, and yellow group. This is what my Center Board looks like. (Excuse the "handmade"-ness of it. I haven't gotten around to cutesy-ing it up yet)
If you look closely, you will see dots along the top - green, blue, yellow, and red. These dots represent my groups. The kids in each group are below that dot.
Each child's name is UNDER the dot that represents their group. Make sense so far?
Okay, as you can see, there are CENTERS and there are STATIONS . . . and there's a wheel. Here's how this works.
We turn the wheel, and every color on it represents the group. That group goes to THAT station.
The green group comes to me! This is Guided Reading or Read to Someone when I am testing. The kids in the green group come to my table.
The red group goes to SEATWORK. They each go to their own desks to work on seatwork . . . a worksheet, craft, or any other assignment. They work quietly and independently. Independently = quiet focused work!
The yellow group goes to SPELLING STOP or Work with Words (I'm trying to implement Daily 5). This is the ONLY group that works together, so they are the only ones that make any noise because . . .
The blue group goes to CENTERS. Centers are different from stations & they are represented by the frogs on the pocket chart. I have five centers in my room:
Anyway, think back to the wheel. Right now, the BLUE group is going to centers . . . everyone else is at Stations (guided reading, seatwork, or Work with Words).
The only people going to actual centers are the blue group members.
They look at the pocket chart to determine where they go.
Have I lost you yet???
Okay, basically it should look like this:
PLUS, you only have to make 5 centers for the whole week!
Or, my colleague only meets with 2 groups a day so there are only 2 rotations, making centers last for 2 whole weeks! Fabulous :)
And, it works. The kids know exactly where to go & they actually work hard. It cuts down on management issues and children get the opportunity to work alone and work in a group. If you rotate 4 times (for each group) like I do, every child will go to EVERY center EVERY week.
When people walk in, it's fairly quiet (I like productive talking, not playing during centers & stations) and everyone is working. It's a dream!
Okay, I hope I haven't confused you, but it's one of the best things I have ever done in my classroom. Centers with 6 years old is finally easy to maintain & productive. The kids learn and it's organized, which I love!
Hope you like it. If you have any questions, feel free to ask or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: I just posted on how to do this for Guided Math. You can see that post HERE.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend ! :)