I am looking for any ideas on how to successfully manage literacy centers. I do the guided reading/writers workshop with groups but I need some good tips on how to move the students around to each center with as little confusion as possible. Also any suggestions for regular K centers. Does anyone have any suggestions for the actual set-up? How do the students know where to go?
You have two options:
A) Don't send the children anywhere. Place your centers in sturdy, labelled shopping bags or boxes, and rotate the centers instead.
B) Divide your children into groups and rotate the groups. Make a chart of the group numbers and all who are in the group that is easily seen.
On each coat cabinets doors, I have a Center picture sign, except for the Teacher Center. Under each sign I have the group numbers, 1-5. I rotate the numbers to the right each time the children change centers.
I use option A for Math Centers in the afternoon.
I use option B for Language Arts centers in the morning.
You can limit your centers but change the work in the centers as needed. My centers are: Teacher Center (student works with teacher, individual or small group), Computer Center, Listening Center, Reading Center, Writing Center, Games and Puzzle Center (includes file folders & "Take It To Your Seat," Literacy Centers, Evan-Moor, etc.)
The KEY is practice! Each center must be explained fully and often. Have the children demonstrate so that you know they have understood.
Locate and train those students who can be captains of each center.
My captains wear hats from the "Dollar Store". If a student has a problem at a center, they must first try to solve it themselves. Second, they can ask the captain for help. If still not resoved, they must raise their hand and wait quietly, for the teacher.
When you actually start rotating your children have each center be for approximately 5 minutes or just long enough for the children to get started. Use picture signs at each center to show what to do. Make corrections as needed. After 5 minutes, you must call stop or use a timer and practice clean-up. Every thing must be put away just like it was when they started. This is very important! Then ask your students to rotate to the next center and repeat the process all over again.
In the beginning, use a five minute rotation in order to practice the procedures. After the children have learned all the procedures, gradually lengthen the time up to 15 minutes.
i am a kindergarten teacher (15 years) and have tried lots of different ways to implement centers. my most recent idea that worked well for me last year was to have "literacy centers" during my guided reading time. i have play based centers in my room as well (blocks, housekeeping, sand/water, etc...) but during guided reading (when i met with small groups for leveled reading instruction) the children would only use literacy centers. this worked well because they were quiet centers and most of the time the children had specific tasks to complete which kept them on task during my guided reading groups.
my literacy centers consisted of: writing center, reading loft, listening, computers, read the room, pocket chart center, science and sometimes art.
each center had a specific task to complete. some of the tasks were paper/pencil and others were more hands on. i had a work board and the children would have 3-4 centers to choose from each day. centers would be repeated on the work board once or twice each week so if the child did not get a chance to complete an activity on monday...they would have the chance to go to that area again on say,...wed or thurs.
is this making sense?? it's hard to describe...much easier to see the actual workboard.
i also had a hanging file crate and each child had their own hanging file with their name on it (color coded to make it easier to find their name) when they completed a task at a center they would put their work in their file. around the middle of the week i would check the files and remind children who still needed to complete certain activities. although there were specific activities at each center, there were usually ony 3-4 that had to go into their files.
during literacy centers/guided reading time, i would work with small groups of kids ( i usually try to meet with two groups a day) and the rest of the class would go to their literacy centers. they would check the workboard on their own and knew which centers they were allowed to go to each day and they also knew which centers had specific tasks for their file (on the work board there was an area that said "what goes in my file? and i would hjang an example of the 3-4 tasks that go in the file each week)
here's an example of a typical week of literacy centers:
1. writing - stamp, write, draw 4-5 sight words (this goes in file)
2. listening - listen to a book on tape and illustrate your favorite part in your listening center journal
3. computers - go on "bailey's book house" and play the game "rhyming coaster. write a list of words that rhyme (this goes in their file)
4. read the room - kids use pointers to read charts, word walls, big books etc.
5. reading loft - kids read from leveled books, trade books and big books alone or with a friend
6. science - plant a seed. write and illustrate what you did (this goes in file)
7. art - roll out playdough and cut out letters and numbers
sorry for rambling...........hope this helps. this worked great in my class.
I have been teaching kindergarten, plus first grade, for 30 years now. This will be my last year! I still love what I do and I am afraid will be very sad when it is over. However I know it is time to step aside and give "new blood" a chance. Someone had to step aside for me 30 years ago! Now to your questions.
First, to the issue of literacy centers. We do this in my school every day. We allow a 45 minute block each day. We refer to it as "Small Group Instruction". I have 5 centers that rotate each day. On Monday, they go to one group for 45 minutes. On Tuesday, they do a different one, and so on and so forth. I have tried it two ways. I have tried rotating within the 45 minute block. I DID NOT LIKE THIS AT ALL!!!!! Too much movement for me within a short time period, and with 20+ children, no one ever finished at the same time. I will give you an example of a typical day.
Center One would be the group that I would be in charge of teaching. I might introduce the letter of the week, how to write it, how it sounds, finding it in pictures, and a guided reading activity.
Center Two would be manned by my aide or instructional assistant. She might do an extended activity that focuses on that letter. For instance, if the letter of the week was "B", I might have my assistant read the story of the three bears and they would act out the story in their small group.
Center Three would be an independent group, something easy that doesn't need much in the way of supervision. It could be a "B" paper that involved finding B pictures, coloring and cutting them out and gluing them on a big paper balloon. That group would be in close distance to me, but would still be able to do this independently.
Center Four would be manned by a volunteer parent who might do a book on the listening station earphones, then draw their favorite part of the story. She would take dictation and write what they say until they have acquired the skills to do it themselves later in the year.
Center Five would be the computer center, where I have only phonics games (easy) loaded for them to play. I have 3-4 computers so they could change games 3-4 times within the 45 minute time block.
How do they know where they are to go????
I group my children by using SHAPES to indentiy which group they are in. I had a rectangle group, square group, circle group, triangle group and oval group. They learned this at the beginning of the year by my drawing their shape on their hand with washable marker every day for a week. After 2-3 days, they all knew their shape. Of course, I had my list to make sure every one was in the correct group. I used these groups to eventually ability group, (or as close as I could do that). This helped out when I had one group reading independently while another group was just learning their letter names and sounds. I love small group instruction for this very reason. The groups constantly changed all year as the academic growth of the students would change.
Regular centers - I call this my "Center time", consisted of Dramatic Play center, art center, hands on center (manipulative toys), block center, math center (consisted of math tubs with unifix cubes, attribute blocks, pattern blocks, etc), listening center (head phones with books and tapes) literacy center (also called writing center). I had blank books staped together, stamps and stamp pads, envelopes, blank paper, picture dictionaries, alphabet cards, etc, old electric typewriter, play telephone all in this center. They love this one. Another center was computer center. Also, I had a science center with the focus on the science concept that was introduced during that month. I let my children choose which center they wanted to play and work in. I like this better than making the choice for them.
I hope this all helps you out. Let me know and good luck!
I do my literacy centers in the morning, for about 30 mins. I have also tried rotating through them each day, but it was too much, so I have them do one center a day. One is guided reading and one is a writing one, at the first of the year I have them work on their picture until I can get to the writing to help, later on they don't need as much help. I also have a variety of other ones including, alpahbet games, phonemeic awareness games, word work activties, art projects, games we have played together, retelling of stories, listening center, computer ect...
I have different number of students go to each center depending on the center, also some students may not do some centers depending on their ability, I use a checklist to keep track of who needs to do what and jsut add new ones as needed.
They have to work for the first 20 mins at their center ( shorter at the first of the year) then I have check up time, where my guided reading group works on a follow up and I check on the other groups, if they are done they may get an activity off the literacy shelf, until all students are done.
This is what works in my room, I have played with several ways and this works for me.
How about if you don't rotate them, but let them choose where to go? I use 8 centers, 4 days/week, 30-45 minutes/day: (1)reading (2)small group w/teacher (3)writing (4)art (5)listening (6)phonemic awareness (7)math (with a parent helper), and, (8)motor skills. I have signs hanging over each center station with the center names and pictures that illustrate what the center is. At the beginning of each week, each student gets a checklist with the same pictures as are on the signs. When they've completed a center, they color in the box next to the picture. By the end of the week, they need to have all the boxes colored in. The check lists stay at school in each child's mailbox and at the end of the week they can take them home so parents can see what they've done. For those students who complete all 8 centers before everyone else, I have challenge folders that they can use, or they can do a math, phonics, or reading game on the computer. At morning circle time, we conference to make sure that everyone is on track. By doing it this way, I can have centers that take differing amounts of time, and it also accomodates both the fast and slow workers because there's no set time for completion of any particular center. To do crowd control, each center sign has a number on it and there's never allowed to be more than that number of students at that center at a time. I did timed rotations for about 11 years but always had trouble getting the times to work out right for the centers. I've been doing free choice centers for 3 years and I love it. Once the kids know the routine, it works out great, but it takes a lot of practice in the beginning to get them to understand that they need to be self-motivated and keep working! By the end of the year, you've developed some very independent workers and self-motivated students! Good luck! Enjoy your centers!
Last year I did centers twice a day. In the morning we did reading centers. I would chose a guided reading group to work with. The other students had their choice of activity to complete. These activities ususally consited of an art activity relating to our letter of the week, journal activity, and other activities to reinforce reading. (these were quiet activities that did not require my attention until they were complete...this allowed me to focus on the guided reading). Each student was required to complete all four activities each week, but they could chose the order. I kept track of their choices in a grade-type book. When they were finished, they could choose to go to the reading or writing centers, or write the room.
In the afternoon I did centers that incorporated reading, writing, math, science etc. For these centers, the students rotated by table. So, I had four centers and each table would do one per day and then rotate the next day. I did these centers this way, because some of the centers required more of my attention to complete. When the students were finished they could choose an area to go to, for example...reading, writing, and block centers, and a free play area. This year I am adding a puppet theater.
I only chose four centers to rotate each week. This allowed for 4-day weeks, special programs, and then if nothing hindered this time of day, Friday would be free choice day.
I hope this helps!