Thursday, May 16, 2013

SANITY Centers...some end of year fun & FREEBIES!

10 more days... 10 more days....10 more days...
    I think I can... I think I can... I think  I can...

I don't know about you, but the end of the year is absolutely CRAZY! This year, we had a lot of "through the year" breaks, so we're not getting out of school until AFTER Memorial Day.  The kids are ready & they KNOW it's time to be out. Which lends itself to pure and absolute craziness!

Enter Sanity Centers.

That's what we call them anyway. The kids call them "Ocean Learning Stations", but Sanity Centers is a much better name for them.  It's something my team & I do at the end of the year so we can find some time to do all that end of year paperwork, assessing, and cleaning that just has to be done. We are furloughed for most of our post-planning,, so we have to get a lot of stuff done before the kids even leave.

Don't worry, it's educational, but it's also wonderful. :) And, the best part is this whole thing will last me the next 10 days! Woo hoo!!  Easy planning :)

Okay, here's what it looks like... (*Caution - Picture Heavy Post...but a BUNCH of FREEBIES ahead!)
Each kid gets a "Learning Stations Ticket/Grid". (My assistant principal hates the word "centers" so we go with learning stations...just FYI). If you want a copy of this, just click the picture...

There are 18 centers throughout the classroom. I label them or the baskets they're in to match the ticket. The kids are allowed to complete them at their own pace and in the order they choose.

There are only a few rules..
1 - No more than 2 people at any center, at any time
2 - You must work quietly and not disrupt others
3 - You must FULLY COMPLETE a center before you move on to another one. And, your work must be your BEST work. No rushing.

Here's some pictures of the centers (learning stations) in my room that match the ticket...
 Ocean Puzzle

Make a Whale & write 3 facts from the big book...

 Math Facts Practice, Summer Word Search, and Write a Letter to a Kindergartener..
 Vocabulary Hunt...
 The kids get to wear the big sunglasses and "hunt" for different words around the room & in books.
Fact Family Kites...
Computer Time....max 20 minutes. They have to set the timer.
Commotion in the Ocean: Pick a poem, copy & illustrate...
 Sink or Float??  I got this from Once Upon a First Grade Adventure

 Watercolor Painting: Draw and color a picture with CRAYONS only.  Then, paint over the picture with BLUE watercolor.  Cute ! 

Synonym Shark: Students make a shark using construction paper & a paper plate. Then, they sort and cut ONLY synonyms to the shark :) This craft came from Almost Unschoolers.
Sunken Ship Scuba Craft & Writing...

This craftivity and writing sheet are included in the FREEBIES below :)  I just used my scrapbook hole punchers for the eyes & we cut strips of paper for the hair...

Ocean Words:
  I don't have a good picture of this, but I made fishing poles from cardboard tubes and duct tape.  I attached a magnet to the poles and then made Ocean ABC Order cards with paper clips on them. The kids fish for the words & then  put them in ABC order...

*The clip art is from Scrappin' Doodles. Love them!

There are a few  more paper/pencil stations, but you get the point.  :) The kids LOVE this & it keeps them busy...Win! WIN! :)

If you would like some freebies... click HERE.
The Zip File includes 8 PDF's.....
1) Kindergarten Letter Writing
2) Scuba Diver Patterns (3..snorkel, mask, noses)
3) Sunken Treasure Writing
4) ABC order cards
5) ABC order recording sheet
6) Fact Family Kite page

** Update.....HERE are the center labels, too.... Just click the picture!

So, that's it. Easy Peasy! 
The set up takes a while, but it's so worth it!! The amount of time per day we spend doing this varies depending on what else we have going on, but they do this for a couple hours a day at least.

We started this a few years ago, and it has become our true sanity at the end of the year. I hope you like & there's something you can use.

I'm liking up with Friday Freebies with this post, too... I just love this linky :)

If you're out of school tomorrow, YIPPPEE for you (AND I'm so sticking my tongue out at you)...and if you have a while... You can do it !! :)

Happy Friday, friends... thanks for stopping by!  I love your comments, so if you think you can use this in your room or you do something similar, I'd love to hear about it!


  1. Best idea ever! I only have 5 days left but I am filing this away for next year


  2. I am sure your ocean theme was inspired by your recent getaway!?
    I love Commotion in the Ocean!
    The materials will be an awesome addition to my ever expanding collection!
    Thank you so much for sharing Kelly!

  3. These are wonderful! Gonna do the scuba divers today!

  4. WoW! I want to be a kid in your classroom! How fun! Wendy 1stgradefireworks

  5. We LOVE how the way you organize these learning stations for students to be independent and responsible for themselves completing tasks!! Great idea for the EOY!! Thanks for sharing about it!

    :) Tamra and Sarah
    First Grade Buddies

  6. Amazing!!! So much fun going on!! Thank you for sharing :)

  7. Absolutely awesome activities and post, Kelly. As a homeschooling / unschooling Mum, I LOVE the fact that you referenced "Almost Unschoolers". You had me hooked with the phrase "The kids are allowed to complete them at their own pace and in the order they choose." Well done you for teaching "outside the box". Your students are very lucky to have you. I hope you have a wonderful summer.

  8. Thanks so much for this. We have 9 days left!!

  9. I know this an old post, but I just found these centers. They literally did save my sanity!! Thanks!!


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