I need help with my centers bad!!! Until this week I did 3 center rotations a day for about 15 minutes each. I had 5 groups and each group had 3 centers to go to. All groups went to center #1, I set a timer for 15 min. when it goes off everyone picks up (to the extent it is ready for the next group) and then goes to their #2 center. This seemed to work okay but there were a few little problems. 1) I often had student's interrupt my Guided Reading groups to tell me they wanted to be done, were bored, or wanted to know how much longer (even though they could read the timer). 2) Each of my center groups had about 5 - 6 students in them so I could not have centers where only two could go like a magnetic center for two, pocket chart center, computer, or listening.
This week I completely revamped centers. I filled a pocket chart with icons of things that the students could do for centers and put a number by them indicating how many people could go there. They could go wherever they wanted during center time as long as they did their work at each one they picked. I had playdough, computer, listening center, reading, magnetic center, alphabet pocket chart center, pocket chart, ABC, math, puzzles, writing, the works. I thought they would love the centers. I taught them where all of them were and what to do. Many of them were familiar in some sort of way. I sent them off to do centers and they all started well but then they started coming to me asking what they could do. They didn't know what they could do. I would direct them and they just weren't digging it. I tried to tweak it a bit today and had them do some seat work before picking their choice centers, that was almost worse.
I don't know what to do anymore. The only kindergarten classroom I even did a field or a short student teaching term in so to say they did centers the first way I mentioned and we didn't have problems so I thought that was the way. Do you think it is the time and I should go for 10min. each? How do I fit in the smaller group centers? How do you do centers? I am looking for lots of ideas to pull from.
I think you just have to find what works for you--this week I decided I am done with centers--I'm sick of them saying, what do I do? where do I go? So I'm doing the daily 5--but they still have centers--the choices are ABC, computer, listening, or reading. We do wirting a separate time. I have a small class, but they can handle 15 minutes at each center.
Make sure that you teach the activities whole group and small group--sometimes if I see that the kids can't do it, I'll pull another activity they know how to do and give them that.
I don't think you should shorten the time--they should be able to handle 15 minutes. Also, make sure you teach them not to interrupt you--I just say, sorry I can't help you right now, you have to ask a friend or wait. You could also make a chart about expectation.
This has eliminated a lot of work for me and headache--and the kids are enjoying it b/c they get to pick. We'll see after a few weeks.
I just switched to Daily 5 too and I LOVE IT! This is the first year where my kids are on task. Granted it is still noisy in my room at times but the kids are all working and doing what they are supposed too. I love it. And I went to the kindergarten Daily 5 conference this weekend and it just reinforced what a great program it is for kindergarten.
First thing is not to assume anything and teach everything. I'd probably stop for a few days or a week and reteach everything about centers that you want the children to know - what to do at each center; what to do when done; what centers should look like, sound like; what the children's job vs. the teacher's job are during center time; how to clean up (specifically where materials go, where to turn in finished projects, how to help others or not, etc.) and anything else you feel is important to center time in your room.
Personally, I like to have my center groups stay with the same center for 20 minutes (they usually sit at tables of four or five) and do individual stuff and sometimes work in partners - it doesn't always stay the same depending on needs. I have four groups that come to read with me (five to six in those groups) and I spend 20 minutes with them each day. When I call a new group to work with me, the other groups switch to a new center - so that's four centers a day that everyone rotates through. Within each center, there's options - such as Alphabet center has magnets, puzzles, books, pocket chart rhyme to manipulate, etc. all concentrating on learning letters/sounds. If they finish something at the ABC center, they still stay there & choose another activity until time is up (the children always have their browsing boxes if they're completely finished or don't know what to do next.) I have the "have to" activities that need to be done first everyday and then the extras for when they finish.
I started posting "I Can" charts at each center and we go over those daily so children know their options.
I hope that all makes sense. It all works in my classroom and the children are engaged the whole time.
Plus I just purchased the Daily 5 books and I really agree with their philosophy and I want to get started fresh with it next school year. I'm very excited about that and plan on doing a trial run with Daily 5 after spring break this year to get a sneak preview.
Maestra - I would love to go to a kdg Daily 5 conference sometime - what's the most important thing you learned from the conference? Any insights you can share would be greatly appreciated.
I agree that you may have to stop centers for a week or so in order to model the system you want them to use. Don't pull groups until you feel they understand the system completely. I began using Daily 5 recently as well and it works much better for me than centers. My students are engaged in reading and I am able to pull groups or individuals to work on their areas of need. It took a few weeks of modeling and practice before I was able to do this though. I have learned through Daily 5 that modeling and gradually building the kids stamina of independence is very important.
Go to Barnes and Noble TONIGHT and buy the book! It saved my life. I was right where you are right now... and I had heard about the Daily Five on this site but didn't really think much about it. I finally had had enough and started to do some research on it. That was the best thing I have done for my teaching. I LOVE IT!! My Kindergarten babies are actually getting authentic reading experiences and I can pull small groups/one on one conferences and I don't have ANY interruptions!!! You will not regret it one bit!!!!!!!!!!
One thing I learned about Daily 5 in kindergarten is when you are doing the I-chart to start with 2 desired student behaviors and tell them what they are instead of brainstorming a list. Since Kinders don't know what reading looks like, just tell them. She said to start with 1. read the whole time
2. stay in one spot
and every day add one desired behavior until you have all of the list completed. She said there's no need to model bad behavior unless you are starting in the middle of the year.
She also said to start the stamina building with 35 seconds instead of 3 minutes. It makes the chunk more manageable.
The sisters also said to do mini lessons in between each round of Daily 5. She said in a half day kinder class you should be able to fit 2-3 rounds of daily 5 with a 5 minute daily 5 lesson in between.
The biggest thing is that they showed video of their own kindergarten class and we saw all the goofy things kindergarteners do. We saw their little brains shutting down after 5 minutes of instruction which really emphasized how quickly our lessons need to go. And she said the class is never really "quiet" during Daily 5 because kindergarteners need to be able to talk and expand their oral language.
It's a really good program and now they are doing Daily 5 math.
This is my 5th year teaching kinder and I just discovered her center method this year. It is THE best way by far (imo) She even has them all mapped out for the whole year. The organization is superb and there is no finding different activities each day. YOu set them all up on monday and rotate the activites for a group of students.