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    centers issues
    By Lisa

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    I feel you girl! I do my centers the same way with the rotations and I love the hands-on activities, but it can be problematic. What I changed for the better this year is working tremendously for me, so maybe it'll help you!

    1. My checklist: has them "rate" their work when it is completed (smiley, ok face, sad face) next to the icon on their checklist of the center(s) they completed. Not all kids are honest with this, which is why at the end of the checklist I have a column called "teacher check." In the Teacher Check row I either put "IC" "a checkmark or check plus or a circle (not done).
    On fun friday, I collect centers work, staple each child's work to the checklist and write comments on it about whether or not it was completed or whether it was "best work." This then gets sent directly home to the parents. It works! The parents know to look through the centers work and discuss it b/c I sent home information about our centers and "reflection sheet/checklist" and how to understand it. I can send it to you if you let me know.

    2. Best work: I display examples of "best work" around the room and we also share it at meetings. When I notice a child rushing when I look through his/her work during centers on friday - I may have that child redo the centers instead of having choice. (on fridays I have them finish up what they haven't completed, then they have choice. This encourages them to do good work and to work hard so that they can do what they want on friday).

    3. For the kids that rush - most of my centers, if not all, are very hands on but require a "reflection" follow up so that I can collect their work to see what they are actually doing. For example, when they are finished at the listening center they write the title of the book and a picture of the story. Later in the year I will make it more detailed. When they make words with magnetic letters or wikki stick, there is a sheet for them to record what they wrote. My science center has journals. Math center has a recording sheet, and so on. Sometimes I will even put one at the pocket chart center if I see they are not taking their time. All of this goes into their own centers folder, which they carry around with them. If its too big, it goes on the counter and i stack it to check later. Its convenient because I have all their work together to check and I know who is not doing anything because they have an empty folder!

    4. For kids who do good work but finish early - they either go back to a center or go to "write the room" which they actually like! Its a basket with clipboards, paper and fun pens and markers. They silently walk around the room recording all different kinds of words, as many as they can. They are very proud of this writing and sometimes I post it up in the room to keep their eagerness peaked. As I discussed in the previous paragraph, having a written reflection for almost every center also helps to slow them down a bit so they don't finish quite so fast.

    This really works for me so I hope it will help you too. I struggled through centers last year and this year I look forward to it!!


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