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Guided Centers versus Independent Centers during Guided Reading
Old 07-09-2012, 03:36 PM
 
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I will be teaching a relatively small class of Second Graders in the fall. Last year I had students work on centers during the time I met with my Guided Reading groups. It was relatively successful given the number of times I changed the format on the kids. They were good sports and went along with things as I figured out what did and didn't work in my first year at the school, but I am still concerned that they didn't get enough out of the time. Some centers are very basic review tasks, but others have a lot of potential for them to develop ideas, work together, and reinforce key skills. They were pretty good about managing themselves during this time, but unfortunately some students were more on task than others and got more out of it. I didn't like that my more dedicated students spent twenty five to thirty minutes really trying to achieve while others barely got through one easy center. This was more to do with their personality and drive than their understanding level - some of the lowest kids were the most diligent.

As I prepare for the new school year, I'm considering swapping my independent reading time with centers. That way, as I am working with small groups, students would be reading alone or with partners, responding and questioning the text using post-it notes, and keeping some kind of reading log. Then, after groups and reading, I would allow students about twenty to twenty five minutes to work on centers and supervise the learning that is taking place. I'm thinking they may benefit more from this, and it would eliminate a lot of sighing and frustration as I check work they've made mistakes on after the fact. I don't want to by any means eliminate centers - I think it's good for this age group to get up and move around, it gives them an opportunity to work in cooperative groups, and I have a lot of materials and resources that I've gathered to make reinforcing skills fun and interesting.

Is there anyone else who does this, supervises centers and has quiet time during groups? I have mixed feelings about it, but am always open to trying new things in my classroom. Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions on this!


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Old 07-26-2012, 10:11 AM
 
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Hi...I have the same thoughts and feelings about rotating kids through centers. I teach third grade but have about 22 kids. Most of them want to do the right thing but there are always the few that can just sit and do nothing - and be comfortable with that. My problem is that I don't want to grade a bunch of papers everyday. However there needs to be accountability. I think especially in the beginning they need to have papers to fill out to make them responsible for their learning. It would be my hope that after extensive training they would be able to do task cards or any other kind of independent learning without someone hovering over them to make sure they did it. I didn't train my kids as well last year as I plan to this year.
We are going to have writing notebooks, math journals, reading response journals, guided reading journals, and a word work notebook. The assignments that they have during 'center' time will be done in the composition notebooks. I will pick random groups each day to hand in the notebooks for a grade.
As I train the kids I will be supervising the activities and not meeting with a group. I will also use the Daily 5 method, which I have had good success with in the past.

I believe they need independent reading time too - building up stamina is an integral part of being able to read independently.

I hope this helped.
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:17 AM
 
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Thanks, npatt. I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking about this. I could have trained my group better as well last year - some kids seem to take all year to get a routine down though. I will still have to guide them in understanding expectations for independent reading, but I think it makes more sense for me and for them to do groups when the room is quiet and kids aren't interacting and working all over the place. We can really focus on the reading, and when it comes time for centers, I can personally oversee the learning they're doing and help them improve their output. We'll see. Only a few weeks left now before school starts again. Ahh! Thanks again for your response.
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2M 2M is offline
 
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Guided Reading groups rather than Centers
Old 09-05-2012, 07:47 PM
 
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Last year I taught 20 grade 2's. We did centers every day but I had a difficult time keeping my students on task for longer than 15 minutes (and some for longer than 2 minutes). I also found it to be a TON of work on my behalf, both planning and marking. I am teaching 21 grade 2's this year and am planning on doing Guided Reading groups. My coworker does this as well. She has all of her groups meet at the same time and she moves from one group to the next (obviously spending more time with the lower groups than the higher). However, I am struggling with how to introduce my students to guided reading without just throwing them in. I want to do some reading as a class first and demonstrate conversation and activities that could occur after reading but the reading level in my class varies so much that I fear the low ones will be lost and the high will be bored to death. Any suggestions on how to get my unit started?
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:31 PM
 
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I would highly suggest to read a book called the Daily Five - it talks about starting the kids doing center activities/reading to self/ with just a few minutes at a time. It takes a while to build stamina. Once I built up to about 15 minutes I started to train the kids how to rotate from one activity to another. One group is at the back table reading with me, one group reads silently at their desks, one does a writing activity, and one does word work. I would be happy to help you in any way. There is also a group here that you can join that discusses all aspects of the Daily 5.


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Combination
Old 11-24-2012, 06:53 PM
 
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The classroom I'm working in now uses a combination of independent reading and centers during guided reading groups. The students start with independent reading of texts that have been selected for them by the teacher (each has several choices in their "book boxes"), while the teacher works with the lowest group, who tend to be more distractible. #When she's finished, she has them put away the book boxes and do their daily center (the rotate through a set each week); when they finish that they do self-selected reading. She is incredibly fortunate however to have 4 additional assistants and volunteers during this time to help keep all of the students completing their work.
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