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Home : 2003 : Jun : 14

    About Centers
    By dish

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    Hi Dean - I've been fiddling with how I run my centers for 8 years and finally have a procedure I like. For the first couple weeks of school we just have an open ended "Choice Time" where the students can choose manipulatives, games, and easy worksheets. The goal is to make independent choices, use materials correctly, and clean up when they complete an activity. I just rotate to help keep on task and remind that this is a work time not play time! Btw, the students can't last much more than 20-30 minutes before they start to play... The next two weeks we divide in half - one group works with me on carpet doing some guided reading, practicing partner reading familiar text, or a shared writng experience. The other group has a "have to" - some simple activity to complete and then place in a "Centers Folder" before moving on to the choices. This is to train them to keep all center work in a folder and to stay busy w/o me! We only do about 15 minutes for each rotation. Then we start my regular center time. I need rotations to make sure everyone gets direct instruction. I have four 15 minute centers - Guided reading w/ me, writing center, reading center, and specials. Guided reading groups do story retells, partner reading, practice spelling, phonics lessons, etc. In reading center they can look at big books, class library, listening center, reading games, read the room w/ magic wands,word wall activities, etc. and I usually assign an activity for "have to" before they can choose. Writing center is the same management w/ some kind of "have to" before choices. I include journals, handwritng exercises, wipe boards, letter writing, story prompts,class journals about class pets, etc. The specials center is a parent directed activity that relates to our theme - it can be art, poetry, finishing projects, making snacks, games, math extensions, anything FUN! The reason why this works best for me is that I think there is a good balance for their "literacy diet" as well as room for the students to have some ownership of their learning. Hope this helps! Email me if you have questions!

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