I don’t start LITERACY centers the first week of school because it takes so much time getting familiar with the classroom and rules. I take one day to explain all of the centers for the next rotation and we practice the activities together or I will demonstrate with helpers. I will start the year with VERY BASIC centers. This week, I demonstrated on Monday and we began on Tuesday. Because of the holiday next Monday, we will finish next Tuesday and start new centers on Thursday. I like not starting every Monday because often Monday is a tiring day for many students and I can't always get their full attention when they are sleepy. Boo for no naps!! PS My center chart will be changed soon. I kinda threw this together quickly. I want it all to match. J
So, let the fun begins! It is always a little rocky at first as we get used to center partners, the location of the centers, and how to properly work in centers. Creating a center rules chart with pictures is a great visual to help students remember what their responsibilities are. J
On to our first round of centers! I have ten centers with groups of 2 to 3 students in each. We will do two centers a day for about 20 minutes each. Right now their attention span can’t handle much more than that. J
LISTENING! This is always a favorite. I keep all of my books and cds in individual gallon size bags in this basket so I don’t lose anything. In this center, students will listen to the story two times, taking turns holding the book. Then, with their clipboards and plain paper they will draw a picture of their favorite part of the story. Later in the year, I will add a sheet that they will have to draw and write a sentence, but it is very basic for the beginning of the year.
WRITE THE ROOM! Students can sit or walk around and write letters or words around the room. This student is working on names from the name chart near her. I will add an actual worksheet with specific things for them to find once we get more comfortable with centers and we get further in our letter study. Right now a magnadoodle works great and it saves on copies. Yeah for that!
GAMES! In this center, I will put different games depending on what skills we are working on. This is Fishing for Phonics. I was given this through a Donors Choose project. J Students are fishing for the letter to match the beginning sound.
ABC center! This center will change out often. Each student will have their own bucket of beans with the letters of the alphabet buried underneath. They find the letters and match them to the letter on the paper. Their favorite part is when they fill the board and have to “try really hard to bury the letters for the next friend.”
ART! Usually I will have a set project but this week I am just introducing watercolors. It amazes me how many kids have never painted before. I really just want to see what they will come up with and how they paint. If we are all a little messy, I will tweak future project. J
RAINBOW WRITING! I use handwritingworksheets.com to make name worksheets for my students. They will pick three colored pencils and trace each name three times, creating a rainbow.
STAR! This center is usually a fine motor center. Here students are lacing letters to make their names.
POETRY! Students will get their poetry folder and complete the work for that week’s poem. I write our poems on a big chart tablet and we read them every day and use them for word work too. The poem usually goes with a big book. When they are done, they can look at a big book.
I have BUDDY READING where students get to wear these cool zebra glasses and read to one another. This is the only time they get to lay on the big carpet and read the “teacher books”. I also do LIBRARY. The kids get to pick a stuffed animal to read too. It is hard to take pics of these centers without showing the kids' faces but you get the idea.
I try to balance centers with half writing (in some form) and the other half hands on/reading.
What centers did you do this week?