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Home : 2003 : Jan : 20

    By Janet

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    I don't believe that anyone who has tried centers hasn't had frustration with just what you are talking about. I have been teaching for over 30 years and I still get frustrated by just what you are saying. Here are my suggestions. 1) you need to spend 4-6 weeks preparing (training) your students to do centers. I know that seems like a long time but it is worth it in the end because you really do save time. 2) Ask yourself if you are presenting new material in centers. Centers should be practice and review. If the kids don't know what to do, it may be that the material is too difficult for them. 3) Is the class as a whole mature enough to work on their own for long periods of time? I would think by this time in the year the answer should be yes but think about it. 4) Can you rearrange your groups so these boys are not together? It sounds like they may play off each other thinking they are being cute. 5) I have a rule that says "Don't bother my book club unless it is B or B. (Blood or Barf) They think that is very funny when I tell them that the first time but they take it to heart. I do allow them to ask someone in their group if they don't know what to do as long as they use a 6 inch voice. 6) Consistently enforce some kind of consequence when they interrupt your group. I have been simply announcing loss of recess to the group that is working too noisily because that is a type of interruption to my book club too. If that isn't enough, I send the culprit to a table to sit by him/herself. 7) Is it possible that you have too many centers with too many directions for the children to remember? I have only 4 right now since I just started reintroducing centers again and I will add other options for those who finish as we go along. Hope this might be of help to you.

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