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so frustrated with centers this year I want to SCREAM

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so frustrated with centers this year I want to SCREAM
Old 02-01-2010, 05:01 PM
 
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I have to vent about my class. Guided Reading and center time has been my favorite part of the day for years - until this year. This class just can't do centers the way I want them to. They drive me NUTS and my g.r. groups are being affected (in that I can't get thru my reading groups be/c I'm having to stop ALL THE TIME).

I don't feel I am asking too much for them to do 3 things while at a center
1. Stay on task & be quiet -- THEY WONT'. Chat chat chat..talk talk talk.. I actually heard my brightest student telling the other kids in her center about a dead baby found in a van which was all over the news last night now most of the stories aren't this dramatic but they talk constantly and their work product looks awful!! Sloppy messy writing effort, off task constantly, etc..

2. Read in Book Nook. Most of my classes have enjoyed book nook - I have fun books, pillows, etc.. not this class. they crawl around, talk, step on my books, rip my books, I just wanted to scream today.

3. Take care of the materials. After 1 center rotation the centers look like a tornado came thru. They've ruined my materials, torn up my books

I am just sick of it all. I got so mad today I just yelled "PUT THEM UP NOW" made them all clean up and return to their seats. But we are supposed to do centers everyday. I dread it. I don't feel like I am able to teach reading and I feel like a huge block of their literacy time is being wasted.

I try to rotate them thru 3 or 4 centers everyday (15 to 20 minutes per center), we review expectations, etc.. Nothing is working

Any suggestions?


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Old 02-01-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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Just an idea taken from the Daily 5, have them practice during their recess time or any other free, fun time they have. This usually gets kids attention. Tell them they will practice everyday until they seem to remember how to follow the expectation of center time. Model the correct behavior then model the incorrect behavior followed by the correct behavior. Good luck, I know how frustrating this can be.
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:54 PM
 
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A few ideas....Take a few days off from guided reading groups and monitor the centres yourself. You could also try "hiring" a student or two to be monitors. If students are off task or too loud I don't give any chances, they immediately have to return to their desk and read a book alone.
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Daily 5
Old 02-01-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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If you have a copy of this book it may be your answer. The sisters talk about modeling, modeling, modeling. And it isn't centers. The 5 are: Read to Self, Read to Someone, Work on Writing, Listen to Reading, and Word Work. The basis is that you train the kids to work independently.

Good luck! Some years are like that though.
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Old 02-01-2010, 10:36 PM
 
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I suggest you read the Daily 5, too. It is just what you need.


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Old 02-02-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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I agree with PP-Daily 5!
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:03 PM
 
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One more voice of recommendation for The Daily 5!
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One more vote
Old 02-02-2010, 02:36 PM
 
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For the Daily 5.buy the book asap and read it. It's a quick read. It will honestly change the way that you teach and you will NEVER even want to go back to doing centers, I promise! Daily 5 has changed my whole teaching experience for the better!!!!!!
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I was there....Daily 5 is your answer!
Old 02-02-2010, 06:33 PM
 
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I suggest looking into the Daily 5. I was the same way last year...I absolutely hated centers. It was more work than it was worth. I read th Daily 5 this time last year and egan using it day one this school year and I am in Heaven! I have time to meet with small groups everyday without noise or interupption. I also get to conference with students at least once or twice a month during the Daily 5 to discuss some areas of concern. I highly recommend you looking into it...it could be your answer.
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My Story
Old 02-02-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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I don't do daily 5 because my administration wouldn't approve. I hate centers too. Instead of centers, I do "independent work", which is word work (something that has to do with the weekly phonics skill), spelling, and book boxes.

The kids are separated into 3 groups: red green and blue. They have the same routine every day. Centers are 20 minutes each. It works for my crazy 1st graders. In the beginning, the problem lies with book boxes (they get to choose their own spots, but they aren't allowed to be too close to one another), so I buy a package of M&Ms. I give ONE m&m to each student that is able to do their work appropriately.

They'll do anything for an M&M!!! It's just one. I don't give them out anymore. They just know what to do.

I try to give instant feedback as well.


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Daily 5
Old 02-03-2010, 04:47 AM
 
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Is such an amazing alternative to traditional centers. It is a quick read and it is easy to implement at any time. Once you have that down, try the Cafe by the same authors. It can really transform your class.
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What I do
Old 02-03-2010, 05:39 AM
 
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I never commit to centers until I can see if the class can handle them. I take the few weeks of school to see what they need and then go from there. When I do centers my rules are quiet, clean up and do what you are supposed to. If they do not follow the rules then they loose their center time for the rest of the week . So if it's Monday then toooo bad. This has worked. When they mess up the centers then I calmly put that center away for awhile "until I have time to clean it up" Some years the kids get tired of centers and want to do other activities. So my class then evolves from what the needs of the students are. I do think sometimes with centers the kids want to do everything the same at the same time. So they are more interested in what everyone else is doing then what they are doing

This year I cannot trust most of my class. We do not do centers because I find my whole day putting out fires. They argue, fight, break things, scream, chase each other. It is nuts. I have taught for over 20 years and it is crazy! So ,no centers because I have actually have had no time to get them started since October which would be the when we would be in full swing. I have read the daily 5 and do some of it. My kids have book boxes we have practiced the read to self , read with others and that's it. They love this and they started out great but now they do not read but play and talk. My intent was on doing the daily 5 daily. I They do love their book boxes and this is an option for them when they finish work early.
I have some ADHD kids not on meds and they just exhausts me and the rest of the class. I cannot take my eyes off them for a second or they go wild. I have lots of factors that prevent me from doing centers and I am not going to do them this year. I realize every group is different. Luckily this is one area in my classroom that I get to have a choice about. I do have choices available for when they are finished with work early .
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consequences
Old 02-03-2010, 07:35 AM
 
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I love the idea of practicing during recess or free time. One of my co-workers did that for her kids this week. It wasn't because of centers but the point was taken. They weren't following rules about when to sharpen pencils so she had them all sharpen pencils at recess. The point was taken!!

Another suggestions- If it is a small group I make that group clean up and practice writing their spelling words 10 times each and they could gladly move onto copying the word wall if they couldn't do the spelling words quietly. Mean... probably... but necessary. It isn't fair everyone else suffer.

I also use the phrase "check your vibration" we practice how if we gently place our hands on our throat we can feel vibration when we talk too loud. During centers I give "the eye" (look) and place my hand on my throat. If that doesn't work I say spelling words.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:15 PM
 
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My class this year is very talkative as well.

I agree with smokey2008 take a few day soff and reteach rituals and rountines for guided reading groups and independent work stations. Set clear goals and expectations and consequences for not completing this assignment.

Maybe this will be the step that the kids need to get back on track. good luck
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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Guess what? You are doing a daily 3. Have you read the Daily 5 book? It is basically what you do.

I think this works great for first grade. The consistency helps with behavior and you aren't creating and getting centers ready every week!

I love Daily 5 - only we don't do the listen to reading (my class this year can't handle it) so I do Daily 4. My class does the same as yours, except they can read with a partner. Also, I have a writing station that they can use when they are done with spelling.

So much easier than the old centers, and the students love it!
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:41 PM
 
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Our district requires centers too. This year my students can not handle this unstructured time. My administration insist that it is my expectations that is causing the problem. I think to many children flopping all over the room is the problem.
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