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Home : 2003 : Jun : 18

    By Colleen

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    I began using centers many years ago. I went through a period of no centers but now I'm back to centers. I feel the kids need time to get out of their seats and interact with activities and each other. I find I have a friendlier classroom with centers. They are better behaved during the day when they have centers. The first thing they do when they come into the classroom in the morning is to check the center chart.I have them open ended. I do not "grade them". The students are assigned to one a day during reading group time. They are responsible for some seat work to reinforce skills and once they are finished they go to their center. I introduce them gradually during the first few weeks of school. I use a pocket chart with the color coded names of kids in my three reading groups and the six or seven centers along the side. Each day I just rotate the centers with the groups of kids. Then once a month or so I switch groups of kids around. My centers are: computer(I have 3 in my room), library, creation station, listening(books on tape with head sets), phonics (games), math(games),puzzles, write the room. When I add a new game to the math or phonics box I will show one reading group how to play and it's up to them to show the others how to play it. My centers are scattered around the room at extra desks or they sit on the floor. In the beginning you must be very strict on the fooling around and noise. I take the centers away for the rest of the week if they goof off. I do this once and by golly they learn to not test me. Once you accumulate stuff for you centers it is easy. Sometimes I would think they get board with them because the are basically the same all school year but they love them they add the newness by their creativity on how they use them. I don't jump into them but ease into them when I am comfortable. Some classes need more time than others.

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