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Home : 2003 : Mar : 5

    1st grade centers
    By Lori

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    I have been using centers in my classroom for quite a few years now. I usually have about 8 or 9 centers for students to go to during a month. I rotate what the center might be and the activity in the center if it stays the same. For example, in a given month I might have the following centers: Math 1, Math 2, Writing, Word Study, Science, Social Studies, Listening, Computer, Read the room.

    While I am doing guided reading groups the other students go to a center. My rules are very clear - they go to one center a day (some center activities might require them to go back a second or third time). I also have a rule of "ask 3 before you ask me" so that I am not constantly being interrupted. I have a cute card on a stick that I hold up if they come up to my reading group and I know they have not asked 3 others for help. I just hold the card up and they go away and ask for help!!!!

    Each student has a tracking sheet that they fill in so they know (and I know!!!) what centers they have completed. I usually take a thematic or holiday coloring sheet and fill in the center name in different parts of the sheet. The student then colors in that particular area when they have completed the center. These sheets go in their "center folder" with any work from the centers. At the end of the month everything gets sent home.

    Students have free choice of where they go, but I limit the number of students at each particular center. I have a simple sign up board - poster board with blank squares along each side. I write in the center name and draw a picture with dry erase markers. Next to the square is a number of how many people can go to that center. The students have clothespins with their names that they clip to the square. If there are too many clothespins they have to choose a different center.

    If a student finishes a center early they have a few choices of things to do. If they finish all centers in the month early they may go back to their favorite center of have free choices (also designated).

    In re-reading this it sounds sort of confusing, but this system has really worked for me and it allows children to do many different things.

    Hope this helps!!!

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