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elmo33 elmo33 is offline
 
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Centers
Old 07-01-2019, 07:29 AM
 
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What is the best way to start centers for reading and math at the beginning of the year? How big are your groups? Start right away?
Any suggestions would be helpful!!!



Last edited by elmo33; 07-01-2019 at 10:46 AM..
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Old 07-01-2019, 01:05 PM
 
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I start them on our first full week of school. I run the centers exactly as we will do them all year, only for a shorter period of time. The only difference is that I do not run a group. I spend the first couple of weeks just managing the groups rather than leading one. I also make sure that all of the activities are easy so that the kids are learning the procedures, not academics.


I do 4 groups - three have 5 kids and one has 6 - because we only do centers Mon-Thurs.
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Thank you
Old 07-01-2019, 01:33 PM
 
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So much sbkangas5- that is what I was thinking! Do you mind saying what sort of simple activities? Color? Library?
Or how you rotate? Thanks again!!
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Old 07-01-2019, 01:34 PM
 
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I use a similar approach to the first 30 days for Daily 5 for both literacy and math centers. (You don't have to do D5, but you could use the same approach to introduce how literacy and math centers will work in your room. How you do centers is a matter of preference, what you are comfortable with and what works best for you and your students.)

It takes time to build stamina, but is worth it because you establish the routines, the students know the expectations and it helps students become independent. They know where to get/return materials and where they can work and how many children can use those materials at one time. They know how to use the materials/do the activity or can ask a buddy for help. They learn that when you are working with an individual or small groups, you are not available to them.

My centers have some core activities that remain the same; however, the materials get switched out and the expectation grows with my students. It saves me time in the long run because I don't have to take time to teach and explain a lot of new centers at the beginning of each week.

i.e. Sorting Activity: Start out with Letter Sorts-sort by straight lines/curved lines/both, letters/not letters, uppercase/lowercase, Letter ___/Not Letter ____. They use different materials-letter magnets, tiles, Unifix letter cubes, letter cards, letter stamps, foam letters... As the children learn the letter sounds, they do picture sorts in the pocket chart-sort the pictures by initial, medial or final sounds, number of syllables, rhyme with/don't rhyme. They do word sorts-number of letters in the word, patterns like CVC...

I take it slow. I introduce one thing to the whole group. I model. Students model. Then we practice for a few minutes. After that, we meet on the carpet to check in. We discuss what it looks like and sounds like. We discuss how we did, what we need to do differently and what we can do if there is a problem. Then we practice again. When most of the students can do it, then I introduce the next thing.

Tip-Give children time to explore materials-especially manipulatives, before you teach them how you want them to use the materials for an activity.

Tip-Children need choices, but you can overwhelm them if you give them too many choices.

I've been teaching for 36 years so I have lots of centers. I didn't get rid of them just because I do Daily 5. I do use them, too, but I have those core activities that everyone knows how to do.
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Old 07-01-2019, 08:28 PM
 
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Simple activities - exploring manipulatives, cutting and/or gluing activities, playdough, drawing, letter or picture matching, fine motor toys and activities, etc. They are also things that help me determine skill levels in basic things (writing name, cutting on a line, following simple directions, etc.). While I'm managing I'm also taking notes on these things.


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Old 07-07-2019, 10:33 AM
 
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Along with the great ideas Sbkangas5 shared, you could have your students do different name activities. We spend time at the beginning of the year working with their first names. Make sure you start the names with the uppercase letter and follow with lowercase letters.

You can use the name activities to introduce a center and the routine that will be used for getting/using/returning materials and number of students at that center for future activities and work on fine visual motor skills at the same time. Some center activities working with names could be:
  • Name Match (Pocket Chart)-Use this activity to introduce how to use the pocket chart, how to get/put away materials when the activity is finished. (You can print their first names on sentence strips. Glue photo on to it. Place in pocket chart. Provide letter cards. Have students use the letter cards to build their names underneath the name cards.)
  • Name Puzzles-Students do their own names first. Then can do buddies' names. (You can easily make these by printing the names on index cards or sentence strips and then cutting into puzzle pieces. Store pieces in small Ziplock bags with their names printed on the front. You can use several different colored index cards when printing the names and put matching colored dot stickers to make it easier for students to return the puzzle pieces to the correct bags.)
  • Unscramble the Name-Students do their own names first. Then can do buddies' names. (Print out the needed letter cards and put in envelopes with names printed on the front. Children can use the name on the envelope as a model to help them put the letters in the correct order. You can use several different colored index cards or cardstock to print out the letter cards and put matching colored dot stickers on the envelopes to make it easier for students to return the letter cards to the correct envelopes.)
  • Name Stamping-Use this activity to introduce the way to use/take care of the letter stamps/stamp pad correctly. You will need to model how to hold the stamp and press the rubber part onto the stamp pad. Lesson Learned-Use washable stamp pads because while it is fun to stamp paper,some will venture into stamping other things like children, tables, walls,, floors...(You can have individual worksheets with photo of each student and a model of the name.)
  • Letter Sort-Use this activity to introduce how to use/get/return various manipulatives like letter magnets, tiles, cards, Unifix cubes, foam letters... Have students find the letters in their name and then do various sorts using those letters. Sort by Uppercase/Lowercase, Tall/Short/Drop-down letters, straight lines/curved lines... You can add name cards and have students sort by the number of letters in name or focus on a target letter like Have Aa/Don't Have Aa in name.
  • Dilly Dot Names-Use this activity to introduce how to use/get/return dilly dot markers. Model matching cap color to marker and how to use a mat underneath when working. Discuss what to do with the wet paper while it is drying. (Print out worksheets with each student's name in bubble letters. Students dab the markers inside the letters to make their name.)
  • Play-Doh Names-Use this activity to introduce how to use/get/return Play-Doh. You will need to model putting the lids on the cans when finished so it doesn't dry out. You can let it happen and have them deal with the natural consequence of the Play-Doh getting dried out and not being able to work with it and them figuring out the need to put on the lid when done.
    Think ahead-Will you have the students work directly on the table or will they work on a mat? Decide as a class whether or not you want to mix the colors. Model checking the floor and shoes for Play-Doh or it can end up squished into your carpet. I keep a little dust pan and brush to help with clean up.
    (You can have laminated worksheets with their names in bubble letters. They can roll Play-Doh snakes to make the letters. You can use the letter stamps. First, they roll out and flatten some Play-Doh. Then they press the letter stamps into the Play-Doh.)

Other ideas: use letter beads/pipe cleaners to make name bracelets, use pompoms/tweezers to fill bubble names (laminated mats or sheets inside plastice sheet protectors), use watercolor markers to trace name (rainbow names), use crayons to color or glue torn paper on bubble names, use dry erase marker to trace dotted name (sheet inside plastic sheet protector),q-tip and paint to dot over name...
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Thank you!!
Old 07-07-2019, 05:53 PM
 
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Thanks for the great ideas! I love the name ideas...how do you rotate?
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