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joynteaching joynteaching is offline
 
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Cheap center ideas
Old 06-21-2011, 05:55 AM
 
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I am totally new to balanced literacy centers. Unfortunately I just found out that I am going to have to buy most of the supplies to run my centers out of pocket due to budget issues. I would appreciate any advice on inexpensive center ideas as well as places where I can buy the basic supplies such as chart tablets cheaply. I teach students who are on pre primer to primer reading level.


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Look outside the box!
Old 06-21-2011, 09:29 AM
 
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You can buy chart paper at a teacher supply store. I would check to see if your area has a teacher resource center. You can usually go there to make items for centers and it is free, just bring your own supplies, mine we have to bring paper and everything else is free they even have books such as teachers helper and mailbox that you can use to get ideas from.


You can also find lots of things at the dollar store and target dollar spot you just have to think out the box because many of these items are not made for educational purposes. Some things I like to get a small books, spoons ( for pointers) serving trays with three parts for use with blending and addition or subtraction, letter magnets, dry erase boards, storage buckets and bins, magnetic pencil holders ( I use for task card holders), and the list could go on an on.
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Center Ideas
Old 06-21-2011, 10:28 PM
 
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Read the Room Pointers: cute flyswats, magic wand, bubble wands {all can be found at Dollar Tree}

Magnetic Letters, cookie sheet

Letter or Word Tiles {I found at Walmart a few years ago}

Whisper Phones: Students read their story to themselves in a whisper voice, using the whisper phone. This is a great tool for those students that need auditory feedback, without disturbing others. Pics of mine here: http://alphaapple.com/CenterPictures.html Can be made from pvc pipe/joints.

Poetry: Introduce a new poem each Monday. Have the poem written on sentence strips. Throughout the week, choral read, echo read, etc. The next week, I add it to the Poetry Center. Students love to watch the collection grow, and enjoy revisiting poems that you have done in the past.

Listening Center: If money is tight, don't worry about buying a lot of book/tape combos. Get blank tapes, and record yourself reading books.
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Old 06-22-2011, 04:19 AM
 
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Thanks for the ideas. I really appreciate them.
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Or, you could....
Old 06-23-2011, 06:31 AM
 
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look into The Daily 5 (check out the book!) Students rotate through 5 literacy activities 1. Read to Self 2. Read to Someone 3. Listen to Reading 4. Work on Writing 5. Working with Words

Not a lot of unusual supplies necessary. Just the basics: a good classroom library, maybe some word tiles, paper, and way to listen to books (a CD player, mp3 player, or computer ) and headphones and you're set!!

However, you can also check out www.fcrr.org for some free, printable centers!


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Old 06-23-2011, 11:13 AM
 
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I had to buy all of my center materials, so I got creative. Here are some that I have in my room.

Big Book Club-I bought 3 fly swatters at the Dollar Tree and students use them as pointers while reading Big Books that I bought off of Scholastic.

Telephone Club-Find some white PVC pipes at any hardware stores for cheap and connect them together to make a telephone. Students are to read their books and do a response.

Read with a stuffed animal Club-Went thrifting and found Clifford, Author, Pigeon, Frog and Toad, and many other character-stuffed animals. I just washed them. Students read a story to their animal and do a reading response.

Listening Club- I invested in 3 CD players and ordered a whole bunch of books w/ CD on Scholastic. I made a copy of each CD and I keep the original safe incase I need to remake another one in the future. They also do a reading response after.

Make a word: I made cardstock copies of the alphabet and put it in a ziploc baggie. Students are to use those to make words and write them in their notebook. They also have to use each word they make in a sentence.

Read on a Pillow: I bought some pillows at the thrift stores and washed them. Students are to read their books there and do a reading response. It's fun and relaxing for the students.

There are other clubs that I'll implement throughout the year to change things up.

How I manage my Clubs (stations/center) is I have them put all their club work in a Club Folder and every Thursday it's Pay Day. I do Behavior Bucks with my students and depending what we're learning in math, I have them do skip counting for each paper and that's how much they'd get paid. It's been working like a charm for me. Good luck with your preparation.

Last edited by mercurylady; 06-23-2011 at 11:38 AM..
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response to books on tape
Old 06-24-2011, 11:46 AM
 
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I have never thought about recording my own voice for a books on tape collection. I work in the 2 year old room, and I was complaining about not having enough books on tape for them to listen to. It never crossed my mind that I can just do it myself. Thank you so much for the idea.
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Thanks!
Old 06-25-2011, 04:56 AM
 
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Great ideas mercurylady! Thanks!
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Take it to your seat
Old 06-25-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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There are books titled "Take it to your seat." I think Evan Moore makes them. They are about 20 bucks for a book but soooo worth it. Everything is made and includes directions. They have every grade and every subject. I would check Amazon!
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A couple of other ideas...
Old 07-03-2011, 12:00 PM
 
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Writing and/or a Handwriting Center...

For the writing center a list of suggested topics or pictures to draw ideas from and a small portable word wall or picture dictionary. Paper (I like to put "fancy" paper (colors, textures, shapes), pencils (for writing their story), markers, crayons, etc.

Handwriting Center...

Models of letters or passages that you want the students to practice writing in thier best handwriting.

Also look online www.fcrr.org is a great website, and you can download a BUNCH of center
stuff for FREE...

This is one of my favorite blogs http://trunstalltimes .blogspot. com/ (I think the teacher is a PT member) that I found through this PT, she's very clever and her blog is full of great ideas...

If I think of anything else I'll post later...



Last edited by SpEdDreamer; 07-03-2011 at 12:03 PM.. Reason: Forgot link...
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structure of centers?
Old 07-19-2011, 10:29 PM
 
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I love these ideas (especially Mercurylady) I will be teaching a K/1 combo class this year & have never even seen real literacy centers in action...what kind of structures do you all use? How many centers a day? Who goes to what center? & since my kids will be young...what can I do besides reading responses?
TIA
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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I teach 3rd grade and I use a pocket chart to keep the center jobs organized. I take a picture of each kid and laminate them. Then I add a letter sticker to each child's picture and those are my guided reading groups. I organize my center groups going in rows and my guided reading groups going down in columns. There will be one student from each "center group" that comes to guided reading and they may have to skip their center for that time, but they make up for it the next rotation. I also make matching cards for the centers themselves and for the chart so the kids can easily find their spot.

I always try to have at least one math center available. Some inexpensive supplies you can get are dominoes, dice, playing cards, spinners, etc... You can create puzzles out of sentence strips where you cut the ends so they match the number word with the number, fact families, etc... Print copies of hundreds charts where chunks of numbers are missing and they have to write them in. Use egg cartons, write the numbers 1-12 in each cup, add 2 counters. They close and shake. Open the egg carton and they have to write a number sentence using the 2 numbers. I also bought some inexpensive maze books, cut them apart, and laminated them. Then I provided dry erase markers so they kids could do the mazes. Good practice for spatial reasoning and problem solving. Also works with word search or hidden picture puzzles.

Hope you are having a good year!
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