Sunday, January 9, 2011

Work Centers

There are tons of ways to do centers and by no means am I an expert; however, this is how I do "work center" time in my classroom. I have taken ideas from Debbie Diller, Jessica Meacham, and the KinderKorner website and adapted them to fit what works best in my classroom.

I have my centers divided into four categories; Reading, Fine Motor, ABC/Word Work, and Math. Each work group gets one center from each category each day and students choose which ones and in which order they complete them. 

Here is a picture of my center board.

As you can see, I take pictures of each center for the actual board. I also have each basket labeled with a picture, as well as, the area that the basket should be placed within our room. It just helps students locate everything and keep it organized.

I have five work groups that change each month. I do not group students according to levels for center time, it is just based on what table they sit at. After the students are comfortable in our classroom I begin teaching centers. It typically takes until Winter Break to teach all the centers.

I teach five centers per week. I teach three before lunch and two after lunch and follow it with a practice session on Monday. Tuesday-Friday, I do a quick re-teach of each and follow it with a practice session. I move each center picture down (with the bottom picture moving to the top), each day. The following week, I teach five new centers in the same manner; however, I review the five from the previous week.

The most difficult thing about centers, for me, in a Kindergarten room is a toss up between volume control and  simply needy some students are. Here we are in January, I've spent months teaching and re-teaching so I can work with small groups for Reading instruction, but there are days that "Kenny" cannot find the Stamp-the-Alphabet bin and he will not ask a friend, he insists on saying my, yelling my name, over and over and over. I have to stop my reading group instruction because "Kenny" is screaming and has nearly lost it. You just can't seem to prevent the noise and needy factor. I just have to accept that this is how it is suppose to look in Kindergarten.

People have asked me why I don't just group the centers like Debbie Diller because taking individual pictures is far more time consuming and in taking individual pictures, I limit what students are doing. I found over the years that I like to make sure that certain activities are at least attempted by my students. When I grouped all the ABC Work together and allowed students to choose any activity, some of them chose the same activities every time and never tried new or more challenging activities.

Here are most of the centers. You will see my division is far from perfect, but it works for me :)

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Work Centers

Here are some of the documents I use in conjunction with our centers.

Alphabet Dice Toss
I create dice using 1" color cubes from Lakeshore Learning- I separate each set into gallon size bags.
Alphabet Dice Toss

Earth Words vs. Alien Words
I LOVE this game! I create 3 dice, two blue with common consonants (I usually choose s, t, p, n, m, c, d) and one red with the vowels. Students roll all dice and arrange them blue, red, blue. They have to blend the sounds into a word and then decide whether it is an Earth word or Alien word.

Earth or Alien Word Game

Listening Center
I will admit it...I have been a junkie for building up my Listening Center. I built it through my Scholastic Book Orders over the course of a year and a half. I love having sheets that go along with the center, to give students practice copying text and comprehension.
Listening Center

Stamps Center
I like to change up the stamping center by having students stamp the alphabet and words. The sheets are pretty self explanatory.
Stamp the Alphabet Sheets
Stamp a Word Center Sheets

Write the Room
Students LOVE this center. I have clipboards, special pencils and markers, visors, and glasses with the lenses popped out, so they feel like little reporters. These are just some of the sheets I have, I also have others that specify a certain letter all the words have to start with, as well as, only words without a specified letter...I plan on eventually posting them :) but for now...

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