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Home : 2003 : Jun : 8

    Setting up centers
    By Julianne

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    I have found that I can start with four centers IF three of them are extremely simple and easy to manage. So at the beginning of the school year I have one center that is just paper and crayons, one that is blocks or other simple manipulatives and one that is pretend/play writing or a puzzle or simple game. The rules for each center are the same - you can't leave except to use the bathroom, you have to share and you have to work at the center until time is called. The fourth center is the one I want them to learn how to manage. I give detailed directions for how to run it and have students demonstrate the proper use of materials there. Then I spend most of my time supervising that center while keeping an eye on the other students as they "work" at their centers. I don't keep them at centers more than about 15 minutes. We might rotate through such centers for a couple of weeks before adding another center that requires more complicated directions. By the end of 4 to 6 weeks of school the students have the hang of several real, academic centers and can rotate through them pretty independently. And by the end of a couple of months they are able to work at centers for more than an hour each day.

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