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Home : 2004 : Jul : 29

    By Kerri

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    I successfully used math centers in my classroom last year. I had tried them before, but couldn't quite get the management part right for me.
    This year, I chose about 4-5 centers to be completed by the end of the week. At the beginning of the week, I went over each center and explained what was expected at each one. The students' names were put on popsicle sticks. The name of each center was put on a library pocket and stuck to the board. Each pocket also had the # of students who could be at that center at one time. I also had pockets labeled "Work With Teacher", "No Centers", "Seat Work", and "Restroom". The No Center pocket was for students who lost the privilege of centers because of behavior. They had an alternate assignment to do. This did not happen oftern. Seat Work was for students who either had make-up work, unfinished work, or other classwork to complete. Work With Teacher was for students who worked with me in a small group or individually. When a student went to a new center, he/she put her popsicle stick in the correct pocket. They were in charge of moving to a new center when they completed one and of making sure that their name was in the correct pocket. At the beginning of the year, we moved to new centers in groups until I thought the kids could handle the responsibility. I didn't take long though. The kids liked being in control of their own pace. When kids finished their centers, I had an extension activity to be completed. I also had a self-evaluation sheet to be completed each day. The kids had to evaluate their behavior at centers (E-S-N-U) and had to write a description of what they learned that day. It was also important that each center had something written for the child to do, even it was just writing a description of a strategy that they found useful. This was the "proof" they had to give me that they completed each center.
    I hope that this made sense. I found that by putting the kids in charge of the centers, I was more likely to do them. It freed me up to work with small groups or individual students.

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