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centers and small groups
Old 07-08-2012, 01:43 PM
 
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How do you introduce centers and other small group activities to your whole class? Do you take everyone to the area at one time? What about those who have small classrooms and have portable centers? How early in the process do you introduce your rotation chart? I want to focus more on managing small groups this year and I need some ideas. Thanks!


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Old 07-08-2012, 03:57 PM
 
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I start the year with centers that need very little instruction. Then I slowly add one at a time. Depending on the center, I may model the play for that area or demonstrate how a toy/s is to be used.
One I have enough centers available, I show them how to sign up.

I used to have them do the colors or clips or name tags. Now they sign their name in the box representing the center. If three children are allowed to play in blocks, I will have numbers 1-4. At first I regulate and assisted the children in writing their name. However, I find that it is very motivating to write your name in centers. Soon the children regulate themselves.

If a center is not cleaned well enough or if children are not playing appropriately I will put a STOP sign on the sign up white board. It will be closed for a day or two.
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Small Groups
Old 07-08-2012, 03:58 PM
 
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These are all good questions, and I am interested in the replies you receive. For more information on small groups, use the Search button at the top of our Home page, and type in Small Groups. That should pull up previous discussions about this. I hope you find some answers.
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Old 07-08-2012, 05:12 PM
 
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I love the idea of the kids signing in to the center! Promotes practice with name writing.I also love the stop sign idea. Awesome. I have a question; if 3 children are allowed in a center, why do you have 4 spaces on the sign up sheet? Just curious. Also, how many centers do you have? Thanks for the info ruralteacher.
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Centers
Old 07-09-2012, 05:47 AM
 
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I introduce centers on the first day when I have just the girls. I introduce table toys, rug toys, books, blocks, and home living. I only have a few materials out in each center. We talk about how to use them and how to pick up. We learn how to hang our center tag on the hook. Three children are allowed in blocks so there are 3 hooks there. I introduce the same centers to the boys the next day. After that I slowly start introducing more centers and/or adding more materials to the centers already introduced. I do this whole group. I judge how quickly to add more based on how well they are using the current materials and how well they are picking up things when they are done.

Small group time is different. I have four groups of five children. The first rotation each group has something purely play related to use like play doh, floor puzzle, etc. My para and I walk around and monitor making sure each group stays where they belong and use the materials correctly. Then I become a group and teach a lesson with one group while my para monitors the other 3 groups. Eventually we build up to both of us teaching a group and the other 2 groups working independently on an activity.


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Old 07-09-2012, 05:05 PM
 
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what are your rug centers?
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rug toys
Old 07-10-2012, 03:27 AM
 
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I know its a strange name for a center, but it is actually one of my most popular centers. This is where I put items that need room to spread out. Legos, floor puzzles, stringing beads,etc. It mostly has fine motor items with some math and ELA stuff thrown in as well.

By the way, one year I had huge problems with my legos. They would dump them out and not want to pick up, etc. I ended up moving the legos to table toys (fine motor) and the problem was solved. By not giving them as much space to spread out in, they were able to use the legos appropriately, and I didn't have to put away one of their favorite toys.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:35 AM
 
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I vary the number for each center based on the number of centers, type of center and number of children I have. One day I might have 2 in the art center (melting crayons), and then next day I might open it up to 6 (making paper flowers). If I have been having problems with aggressive boys playing with blocks, I might only allow two to play for awhile.
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Number in Centers
Old 07-10-2012, 02:41 PM
 
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Like Valone I sometimes vary the number of students that I allow in a center. I use the small hooks from 3M and hang the amount of hooks that are allowed for the center on the shelf. If I sometimes want less than that amount or if I close a center altogether, I hang a small stop sign on the hooks that will not be used that day.

For center tags each child has a laminate counter sample from Home Depot that I tape a picture of the child with their name underneath. I put a key chain ring through the hole on the counter sample and they are set to hang their center tag on a hook.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:02 PM
 
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Thank you! You both have given me tons of ideas to improve my centers.


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Simple Center Ideas
Old 08-05-2012, 08:34 AM
 
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Hello, I'm not sure if you will get this??? I was reading your ideas on centers and I am wondering if you could give me some ideas for some simple centers to start the school year off with? I have taught 2nd grade for the past 6 years and my principal called me a few days ago and informed me that I am going to be teaching Pre K for at least 7 or so weeks, starting in one week. I have never taught Pre K before. So, I am really needing some simple ideas to get me started. I won't have an aide either. I would really appreciate any ideas you can give me. Thank you!!!! ))
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Old 08-05-2012, 09:09 AM
 
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I guess my first question is what type of pre-k program does your school have? Is it developmental or more whole group/worksheet oriented. I have a lot of centers because where I teach we are more developmentally based and the children spend a "substantial portion" of the day in centers which is basically a third of the day.

Not knowing how many centers you need, these are what I would start with.

book center
fine motor - I call this table toys - puzzles, sorting tray, etc.
block center - I'm assuming there are a set of blocks for your room
art - we do free art where the materials are available for the children to choose from. Although at the beginning of the year they just get paper and crayons. I keep adding new tubs every few days until they understand how to use and put away all of the art materials.
dramatic play - do you have a kitchen set and dolls?

I don't have a writing center because writing materials are available in all of my centers. I have a lot more centers than this. I can give you more ideas if you like. I'm just not sure how much you need and what resources you have available, such as a sand/water table for sensory play.
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