Once my family ate a certain kind of cheese for months so I could collect the triangular red plastic boxes it was packed in. Now I am accumulating the General Foods International tea and coffee containers. Some ideas for centers using these:
Pairs of words for students to determine if they are synonyms, antonyms, or homonyms
The test questions for a chapter in science or social studies to be used by students who usually do not do well on the test.
The hardest math facts
Math vocabulary definitions; student must think of the word. (What is the answer to a subtraction problem called?)
Vocabulary words of any kind
Sentences with one error; the task is to find it.
True/ false : I hate this kind personally, but I guess they need the experience. The back side could have an explanation as to why the answer was ___.
Find the one that does not belong (in a group of 4 words)
Recognize the state (On small outline maps of the US, one state is colored in.
Spelling: a word is spelled 3 ways; which is correct OR
four words are given; which is misspelled?
Actually, you can review or introduce almost anything with centers like this and they are so easy to store and use. You can vary the color of the paper, so it is easy to sort them out if two get mixed. Laminated they will last for years and they travel well if you want to send them home.
One way to use the sets of cards in the container is to pair it with a tic-tac-toe board and X and O markers. It is really easy to make a stack of these boards and markers (use poster board and laminate). Make them small. Two students play the game and if they get the answer correct they get to place their marker on. Of course, answers are one the back side of the laminated cards.
All my centers are focused on literacy. Here are some centers I will be doing this year:
1. computer - students will go to timeforkids.com and find an article and write a news report with a partner.
2. listening center - I don't use the basal series for reading, but all the stories are on a CD. Students go to the center, listen to the story, and then rate it.
3. magazine center - I bought a great scholastic book which has a "Magazine Miscellaneous" activity sheet. Students pick from a list of activities and read an article in the magazine and complete an activity.
4. word study - guess the covered word and making words (students use the letters to make different words and then sort them into categories)
5. reading - students will read independently and work on their letters. They write a letter to me once a week about their independent reading book. Eventually, other activities will be introduced.
6. Poetry - I have tons of poetry anthology books. The book I mentioned also has poetry activities.
7. writing - various themed writing activites. A lot I have gotten from the mailbox or from the internet.
*Audio-Visual - Students watch a Reading Rainbow video and follow along with the book. Then, they have to fill out a worksheet that has author's purpose, genre, and then compare/contrast 2 characters or places in the story using a Venn diagram. They also use the Venn to write a paragraph.
*Listening - listen to story on tape and follow along....complete sheet that has book title, author, rate the book and why....it includes phonics such as find 2 words with the long a sound in the book, they also need to copy one sentence from the book and then rewrite including more details!
*Creation - students follow directions (pictures and words) to create some sort of art project...this round they are making turkeys..then they need to use the books at the station to find 2 facts about turkeys and 2 opinions..they will glue these to their turkeys belly
*Word Play - use making words..kids use magnetic letters to sort for particular sounds/groups of letters
*Fluency - poem...students do a cold timing with a friend timing them...they then practice throughout the week and then do a hot timing
*Investigation - students read new vocab. words related to science...then they complete some sort of investigation..this time they are investigating rocks..measure length, acid test with vinegar, scratch test
*Game - play learning game with partner
*Target Skills - Evan Moor file folder centers....skills such as main idea, prefix, fact/opinion
*Computer - search website for information...fill out sheet..this round is a site with spanish words..kids need to learn the numbers from 1-10 and a couple of animal words
*Writing - respond to a prompt or read an article and then do some sort of writing aobut it
*I can not think of the last one.....Sorry!!!
The kids love these stations and they are very easy to keep up with. It usually takes the kids about 2-3 weeks to rotate through them all with everything else we do. I also use a rubric to grade them. I sit with each child and we conference about their work. The conference time is the part I love the best. It is excellent time spent!!! Let me know if you need anything else.
I teach third, and just posted a question about the listening center. I'm glad that y'all use that in your class. I want to start one next week, but I want my students to do more than just listen. I'm looking for response ideas, and also wondering what kind of books you have them listen to. Is it just the stories from the basal? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
My kids LOVE centers. I actually only do them one day a week, and it's the day my gifted kids are out. It works better that way because it's a smaller group, and because it gives me a chance to reinforce our studies without doing something new that the others miss out on. Some examples include:
Computers - software or Compass or Leap pad geography
Library - selected books on what we're studying (solar system, etc...)
Spelling - Stamp out spelling words
L.A. - magnetic words to write sentences (if we're studying plural nouns, then they have to put together words with plural nouns in them)
Newspaper - summarize chosen article (find the main idea, then the details)
Math - fraction pizza game, flashcards, or small white boards where they quiz each other
Art - bookmarks, Native American artwork, etc...
Science - experiment
They change from week to week, but you get the general idea. It also gives me a chance to tutor any students that need it. I love that part!
I have a question about the scholastic book you mentioned a few posts up. You never mentioned he name of it, just the name of an activity it has in it. I would love to get some use out of all the magazines in my room, and I would love to buy this book to get some good center activities out of it. Would you either post on here or email me the title of this book? I would really appreciate it )
Hi! I searched the Scholastic site for the book but can't find it! I really liked your ideas and want to start using them. Do you have the name of ISBN number of the book you used for the magazine activity?
Hi, I'm new to 4rth grade too, and I need some center ideas as well, but here are a few of my own. Please respond back and tell me what you've tried this year. What has worked and what has not.
Center 1: Guided Reading with me
Center 2: Accelerated Reading/Sustained Independent Reading - they read and take an accelerated reading test. When they are all finished with tests, they may play computer games or search sites related to our reading topic that week.
Center 3: Art relating to our story for the week
Center 4: Writing, again relating to our story
Center 5: Sometimes math activites (this is where I'm struggling- to come up with something each week)
I would like to do a vocabulary center, but don't have a clue what the kids would do. Let me know if you have ideas. Thanks
Do you set your centers up by subject area or do you just send them to do random centers while you are conducting your small group? I am trying to determine whether I should have something like stations set up and in the particular station would be independent work in that subject area... Please advise! This "center thing" is overwhelming me!
I love these ideas! How do you keep up with the work, though? I don't want to do any extra grading. I know some of the websites are interactive, but what about the folder games, etc. Do you have any specific ideas for folder games?
For the vocab center in my classroom, I do dictionary dig. The students have to look up the vocabulary words that relate to our story every week and write the definition. Then they draw a picture that helps them remember the meaning of each word. In other classrooms I know teachers have the students make flash cards to help them study at home and occasionally we do vocab skits. The skits are shared with the class and the students may NOT use the word in the skit.
I have experimented with many center formats. This year, I read the Daily 5, a "teacher book" and guide to literacy centers. IF YOU ARE NEW TO TEACHING, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. It is a quick read and an AMAZING start to setting up centers. I have a very "energetic" class this year and honestly, the Daily 5 is something they truly look forward to everyday (involves reading with someone, listen to reading, writing, word work, read to self and I do a guided reading group).
When starting centers, don't worry too much about keeping track - it's not worth the stress at the beginning. Give students a checklist and tell them to switch centers after you ring a bell or chimes every 20 minutes ...it basically runs itself. I also purchased folder center for $25 which is another great way to have 10 or so centers at your fingertips to start with. My suggestion is to use standards - state, school, or otherwise - and create/laminate/color-code centers, one per standard to start with. Again, I think it's really important to just try SOMETHING...realize it doesn't work...then try something else.
Where did you buy this, I am an EC-6/Sped student and we are consistently having to develop our own centers and file folder games for projects in our classroom! I have had a hard time locating good ones for older students... sometimes it is nice to have a jumping off point to create something autentic.
I purchased the game bananagrams, it is similar to scrabble, but kids play it by making their own individual "board" on the floor and they draw tiles from the middle. It is easy for them to score and fun. My students love this game and often ask to play it for recess.
Hey. Was browsing the internet for center ideas and came upon yours. I have been teaching for 13 years and am always looking for different ideas. I loved all of yours and will start collecting "tea" containers or others to use.
If you go to the website for Florida Center for Reading Research www.fcrr.org and go to the 4-5 section there are about a million centers that are ready to print. These are great since they are research based and meaningful. (Not just busy work)
Kids love to do vocabulary pictures. You have them fold thier paper into 8 sections, then the vocab of the week, you have them write the word, a complete sentence, and then draw a picture to go along. Or make a comic strip.
I teach literacy to teenagers at an alternate school. For containers I also use old tissue boxes. They have a slot in which I put the activity cards in. I covered them with paper and pictures. These are used for my sentence center. Box 1: I took sentences apart and made them into cards. Students have to make complete sentences using the cards. Box 2: Turn the sentence into a question. Box 3: Students write their own sentence using the one word prompts (cards). Box 4: I made picture cards. Students were to write declarative, interrogative, exclamatory, imperative sentences for each picture card. My students even though they are teenagers didn't mind how the sentence lesson was presented. They find it less boring.
Hi, I often use a vocabulary station and the kids love it. I put 5-10 words on chart paper and the students have to use their dictionary to find and write the definition. When done, I change the choices to one of the following: Write a detailed sentence using each vocab. word; write a story that includes some of the words (I put a specific # depending on the words for the week);draw a picture that makes use of the word; put in ABC order; etc.
How do you work your stations as far as timing during class? How much time is spent doing the centers and how do you rotate your students? I would like to do centers in my classroom but I am just not sure exactly how to implement the stations into my already packed reading class.