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Home : 2004 : Jul : 7

    What worked for me.
    By Tina

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    Hi Kerri,

    This coming year will be my 3rd year teaching 1st grade. I've finally found a way to do centers that I am happy with. My first year I allowed students to freely visit centers after they had finished morning work. That was a mess! Students would travel around the room from center to center and leave activities incomplete or leave materials out etc.

    If you are thinking about doing centers and group work instead of worksheets you might want to consider time. I also tried small groups moving from center to center in 40 minutes sessions. This was a pain because some students finished the center activity in 10 mins. while others never finished.

    Last year I decided to do it differently and it worked! All students had morning work to complete...phonics activity or worksheet, reading comprehension, writing etc. During this morning work I worked with my guided reading groups for they day. I wrote student names on index cards. Using one of those blue sentence strip charts I displayed the names of the centers for the week or 2 weeks or whatever. Then under each center were 2 student names. After students finished their work they went to their assigned center. They worked at that center until our morning special. If one finished early I would try to give them ideas on expanding on their activity. This worked incredibly well. The names of the students were rotated daily so that they had a different center each day. Here are some of the centers I used...

    Big Books-students had permission to read the class big books.

    Writing-A folder with a theme on the front and related words on the inside. Write a story and illustrate. Also, set out some how to draw books, ed emberly books and have students illustrate first then write a story about their pic.

    Magnets-What's magnetic in the room? Could keep to a certain area. Had a box of magnetic materials.

    Gears-We have gear sets that students use to build various gear contraptions.

    Flash cards- add. sub and money.


    Leap Pad-we had two leap pads and several books.

    Read the room using fun pointers.

    White boards-write sentences, spelling works, rhyming works or math problems. A class favorite.

    Magnetic letters-spelling

    Painting-using an eisle and water colors.

    Puppet theatre

    Hope that helps.

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