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Kindergarten Center Ideas

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Using centers in your classroom is a fun way for students to experience hands-on learning. It also opens up possibilities for you to work with small groups or individual students. These are some great ideas for centers or work stations that you can use in your Kindergarten classroom to get you started.
kindergarten centers
Posted by:Jennifer #26365

Here are some of our favorite centers. I do literacy centers in the morning and math/science centers in the afternoon.

Literacy:
label the room (stick post-its on stuff using invented spelling to label )

Write Around the Room (kids have clipboards and pens to write words they see in the room)

Highlighter center--given a word search they highlight letters or sight words

letter sorting (with magnetic letters they sort letters in words, sort letters in/not in their name, or use a Venn diagram to sort letters in two different words

POcket Chart--sorting class names or sight words by number of s yllables, number of letters, beginning letter, or by girls/boys OR sort pictures by beginning consonant sound, living/non living, farm/zoo animals, etc.

Word Train (I help the kids connect words they can...

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Centers
Posted by:Kate #66336

I teach in a full day kindergarten class with 24 students and two teachers. The children arrive at 8:00 and have free choice time(dramatic play, blocks, computers, drawing/coloring, games...). At about 8:45am we start whole group language arts.

We have center time each day from 9:30-11:30. Our centers include:
Language Arts (relates to reading program),
Writing (phonics, journals, letter/sound games),
Listening (books on tape, read a book),
Computers (we have 5),
Math,
Discovery (science, social studies, health), and
Art.
The children are given directions for 4-6 centers a day. The children are generally independent at the computer and listening centers.

The language arts and writing centers are generally follow up to the whole group or direct instruction, so one teacher can manage both.

The math lessons vary from exploration of manipulatives, follow up to a...

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Small room for centers
Posted by:Sue #37307

Hey Elaine,

I am starting up my centers after moving and I also have a small room (We should have a contest on one of these boards). If my students weren't in groups there would be no room to walk.

I bought tubs with lids at Dollar General before school started for, $1.00 each. They are medium-sized and kind of clear so I can see what is in them.

I have math flash cards in one, writing prompts, stamps, manipulatives, etc. I keep them on a bookcase. When it is center time, I rotate my groups (One group leaves to read aloud to Kindergarten) through the centers. And someone from each group picks up their tub.

I also store Pogs, beans, macaroni, etc in them.

I am working on making instruction cards that I can change out when I want to change my objective.(Hello? Do I...

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learning centers
Posted by:Amy Pope #82066

I also teach kindergarten, but I teach full day kindergarten. I have 2 sets of center times. I have learning centers which are based on literacy subjects I'm currently teaching(ABC, pocket chart, writing, listening, copy, library, computer, and my assistant and I both pull groups of students)and I have exlporation centers, too (blocks, computer, housekeeping, puzzles, play-dough, art easel, science/discovery, math tubs) This way my students get to have much needed play time and time to concentrate on specific skills. If I taught a half day program I would combine literacy with play centers. I think both are important to have.

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Kindergarten Centers
Posted by:Vicki #62329

Ok, I have been teaching kindergarten since 1979. Some things (curricullum/technology/even what kids come knowing) have changed, but some things haven't changed. Kids require explicit instruction and Boundaries. I also have 27 children and no aide. We are an all day public kindergarten. Let me try to explain how you can "make this work". First divide and conquer. 1.) I have 10 centers in my classroom Library, Computer, Homeliving, Blocks, Community(this varies and is thematic store/Dr./Firestation/ etc. People and puzzles, Easel, Wet Discovery, Dry Discovery, Writing.

For instructional purposes these are designated as "colors" (Red Center, Blue Center etc)


2.)I also have what I call "work stations" which are tables, and these number the same as the days of the school week ( a four day week has four work stations, three day week has three...

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Center
Posted by:Miss Sam #140726

Hello, Debbie Diller's workstation book has some great ideas! She recommends waiting until the 3rd or 4th week to begin stations for K. I will use these stations this year. We will have 3 rotations per day that last for 15 minutes.

1. ABC Word Study- words their way games, magnetic letters, letter bears, etc.
2. Buddy Reading- books from Guided Reading groups
3. Listening Center
4. Library
5. Drama- small pictures on popsicle sticks to retell read aloud stories
6. Pocket Chart- Poems and Environmental Print
7. Writing- Handwriting, Journals, Dry Erase Boards, etc.
8. Art
9. Science/Social Studies




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centers-LONG!!
Posted by:nic1 #139724

I have a mixed approach on centers. I am assuming you will break your centers up in to math and literacy... if not you can adjust according to your schedule.

For me, my centers begin slowly at the first of the year. We are expected to begin centers before the kids totally get it.... so, my early centers teach the routines of the rotation and are based loosely on what they will learn to do at each location as the year progresses. Mostly they are artsy at first or involve very hands-on materials that they should be familiar with using. I have 5 must-do centers... one being my group. After the work is completed at the must do center they move to an independent center (listening, games, reading center, computer etc.).

My must do centers include an art center that focuses on our phonics...

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my workstations
Posted by:NewNana #140727

As with the previous poster, Diller's Workstation book helped me tremendously! I also highly recommend it. I do pair my students up for the week making sure that throughout the year everyone has an opportunity to be matched up with all the others in the class. That pair is then put with another pair, so that i usually have 4 children at a workstation at a time. Once we have the hang of workstations, we usually spend 20 minutes at a station and we usually visit 4 each day. Those that finish early can either go to the classroom library, finish unfinished work, or read his/her high frequency word cards. My workstation titles include: ABC Word, Math, Listening, Creation, Pocket Chart, Writing, Handwriting, Teacher, Computer, Library, and Puzzles and Games. I know I have others, but I can not think of them at this time. My Teacher...

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starting the year
Posted by:kali #136516

I do four CENTERS everyday for 15 minutes each for a total of 1 hr. At the beginning of the year I focus on procedure, not the content of the center. The important lessons in the beginning are; routine, feeling what 15 minutes feels like, learning to work independently, cooperating with peers, and having a chance to explore important materials and manipulatives that they will use during the year. You want to wait on deepening the academics and content responsibility of the Centers for a while, to build the important foundation. This solid routine building will result in centers being your favorite time of the day. I start the year with Centers like this:

Pattern Blocks w/ Pattern Cards
Cutting picture out of magazines and making a collage
Play-doh with ABC cookie cutters
Well loved Games like Candy Land and Classic Memory
watercolor or finger...

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This is what I have in my class
Posted by:Kerri M #140734

As far as centers go this is what I have:
- play doh - with lots of fun tools that get changed out often to keep it new and exciting
- computers - http://www.kindersite.org/Directory/DirectoryFrame.htm
- puzzles and games - variety of floor puzzles and games such as shoots and ladders, connect 4, memory, etc
- fine motor - stringing beaded necklaces, light bright, moving small objects from one space to another using only a clothespin etc
- science - sound eggs - match the similar sounds and guess what they are, smell bottles - guess the smell in each and check your answer using a color sticker code, sea shells and magnifying glasses, balance to find out what weighs more/less etc, magnets
- blocks - wooden blocks, tinker toys, lincoln logs, dominoes, anything...

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Student Name Centers
Posted by:AddieJ #1239

Name Center Ideas:

At the beg of the year my centers focus on name recognition - pocket chart poems we've done as a group and the kids manipulate classmates names, name unscramble, name/picture match, letters in my name/not in my name graph (see attached page) and letters in my name...Venn diagram, making tactile names, etc. I've found this is one of the best ways to introduce alphabet letters & sounds.

Quick description -
* Name Unscramble - I use small brown envelopes & put in a sentence strip with the child's name, the cut up letters in the child's name and a picture of the child. Kids are allowed to do one envelope at a time so they don't mix up the letters. Another way to do it is to just put in the name strips & pictures & provide letter tiles to match to...

Download: Name, Letters in graph.doc (24.064 KB)



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alphabet bingo
Posted by:luv2teachinoz #1421

Sorry in advance Im not sure who created this alphabet bingo game I found it on the net. I hope it helps.

Download: Alphabet Bingo.pdf (38.965 KB)



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this may help
Posted by:judy #140724

In the beginning of the year, we do a lot of activies that have to do with their name...locating the letters in their name, decorating names, making their names from tiles and stating the letters...or for a more able child thinking of words for each letter. I always do a fine motor activity..this week we are making family trees....my word work centers around putting this week's high frequency words on a playing board that is numbered. Children throw the die and have to tell the word that is in that numbered box.....retelling ...using read aloud children to magnetically put the characters of the story on a cookie sheet and retell what they did in the story and what their opinion was of each character. Since we are doing OLIVIA children will think of a word for each letter of the name. I also...

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No title
Posted by:ily #140725

For Kindergarten I intorduce my centers slowly. The second week of school I have only one center, and on group does that center each day, the other children have free play (usually with alphabet magnets, puzzles ect...). The second week I have two centers they rotate through, the third week 3 and the fourth week all the children work at centers. I find doing it this way I can work on reinforcing expectations during center time. The first one I do is Write each child's name on paper and they use a Bingo Dapper to go over each letter, they look nice when displayed in the room. Week two I am going to have them stamp their names, using name cards for help, then they can choose their friends names to stamp as well and Practice forming letters on the white board, the children...

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Ideas
Posted by:VaSpud #140732

I do several games with letters where my students create words and write them down.
-I have letters, some individual and others have word families or blends, written on milk lids. Students select lids to create words.
-I have color coded dice with different letters or letter combinations written on them. Students roll dice and use the green die for the first letter, yellow is next and red is last. If the word created is "real" they write it down. If not a word they roll again.
-Do you have stamps? I have letter stamps and my students stamp words.

One thing I just learned at a conference that has increased my students eagerness is where they write the words. I did have them write on regular paper, but now I have them write on paper objects. This week they colored...

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number bingo 1-30
Posted by:luv2teachinoz #1422

Here is a number bingo 1-30. I hope this helps.

Download: Number Bingo 1-30.pdf (11.74 KB)



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Math Centers
Posted by:Karen #84986

Hi Mary D

I have recently switched from Kindergarten(7 yrs of it) to 5th. Love IT!!! I still use my K math Centers for 5th to lend as Kindergarten helpers.

I use "Math Their Way" Program. I have a pattern block center-students make a stand-up pattern wall as long as their arm. Then they glue/recreate the wall on paper with pre-cut pattern block shapes. I laminate the 3in. x 11in. pattern and offer a gift to the K classes. K students love to see what the big kids to and the big kids autograph/date the back of their wall.

I also have a number of the week. students use toothpicks with the number to create a design. Glue design on 5x5in black const. squares and blind into a book. "Our Book of 3" "Our book of 7" etc. A bit of giving back. If you...

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math center ideas
Posted by:kattlyn #140728

Some simple math center ideas: make a grid of 20 pics (whatever theme)- for a table of 4 chilren, you would need 2 grids (2 kids ea) - have student roll die, cover with his/her marker that many spaces - game is complete when grid is full - child with most markers, wins. I noticed that at the end of kindergarten, some children still have to count the dots on a die, so I think this is a great way to get to know them.
Another grid game: Mark a grid from 1 to 6 - roll a die- color in the # that appears on the die (die/# correspondence) - see which # you most frequently roll. (you could make a guessing game out of it, too -- which # do you think you'll roll the most)

I also found on the internet a printable connect four game - just circles all over -...

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treetoad
Posted by:treetoad #140741

give them index cards with numbers on them and using their manipulative to place that many on the card. Or build towers with the number on the card using unifix cubes
Give them fish bowl pictures with numbers they add the "goldfish" crackers to match the number - when finished they can eat their goldfish but not before.

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math games aplenty...
Posted by:rocky5 #140742

patterning:

String froot loops (or pony beads) in an ABAB or an ABC pattern to create an edible necklace. (Put masking tape over the stringing end of the yarn for easier poking!)

Children begin their own pattern with counters or pattern blocks and then switch with a partner who continues their pattern

Stamp a pattern or cut and glue a shape-template-inspired pattern around a sentence strip and then wear it as a crown

Number concepts:

Child rolls a die and then traces over the dotted number on his game sheet that corresponds to the number rolled. He continues until all numbers on his record sheet have been traced over.

High/Low: With a partner, split a card deck into 2. Each child places one playing card on the playing area. Hign card (or low card for...

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Paper punch numbers
Posted by:Tainos_4 #140743

Write numbers on index cards: child then punches that many holes in the card. Good for fine motor development.

Laminate die-cuts of the numerals glued on cards (so that the numerals are at least 4 inches tall and fairly thick). Child makes play-dough snakes and forms the numeral on top of the template.

I'd also recommend taking a good look at Mary Barrata-Lorton's Math Their Way.

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No title
Posted by:Kerri M #132768

I'm not sure if these are the sort of ideas you are looking for but in my science center I have had:

- a 5 senses. Included smell canisters where students guessed the smell and matched it with a picture card, sound easter eggs where they had to match the two that had the same sound and guess what was inside, a feely box where they put their hand in and have to use only their sense of touch to figure out what it is etc.

- Magnets. All different kinds of magnets and items to test (nail, wood, rock, plastic, paperclip etc.). A maze where the playing piece has a magnet, you hold another strong magnet underneath the board and have to move your piece through the maze using the magnet.

- Magnifying glasses. A variety of items of different colors and textures...

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Science center
Posted by:JSue #140722

I also do the magnets and balances. A few other things I put in my science center are:

Sink/float: I have a tub of water and the students try different objects to see if they sink or float.

In the spring the students plant grass. They then observe the grass and record what they see.

Also in the spring we research birds and make bird nests (the student need help with this one).

My neighbor teacher has stamps of animal prints that she has in her science center.

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No title
Posted by:URMySunshine #140740

*I got a water table this year and plan to use it in my science area for various activities like sink/float.
*Don't forget to include magnets. There are some magnet kits out there that aren't too much. The kids love exploring with these.
* Various things from nature... I put a pine cone in my science center a couple of years ago and was shocked when a child asked me what it was! I also have a bird nest (in a plastic baggie) and a few beautiful butterflies that I found on the ground perfectly intact (I keep these in those bug containers that you get at the Dollar Tree.) Also, an aquarium.
* You can also purchase those caplet sponge animals from the Dollar Tree. The students can draw a beginning, during, and after picture of how it changes (with captions if you prefer to...

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Fine Motor
Posted by:KinderKim #140736

I am using lacing cards, playdough, tweezers, clothespins. I found books by the Kcrew (kcrew.com) for fine motor activiities too.

Hope that helps,
Kim

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Aussie Ideas
Posted by:autumnblossom #140737

I had a few children at the start of our school year (February) that had poor fine motor skills in grade 1. I used lots of things to try to improve this.
1. Letters cut from magazines put into a container (I used pill boxes) then use tweezers to get the letters out and put them into a matrix a-z. The children could also make words with their letters.
2. Confetti or the holes punched from a hole punch used to paste onto big letters or words. Use tweezers to put confetti onto the letters.
3. peg puzzles
4. Use pegs and write a letter of the alphabet on each peg at the pincher part. Then use popsicle sticks and write on the end of them different spelling patterns. eg. sh, th, ee, ea, ll, etc. The children then use the pegs to make words with the pop sticks. Confused!
5. Tearing...

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here's a couple:
Posted by:SoniaT #140745

play dough: laminate BIG (I'm talking 125 point font here) letters and numbers on cardstock. Kids then smoosh play dough to cover the letters and numbers.

have them sort magnetic letters into one bowl and numbers into another.

magnetic letter "soup"--have a big pot of magnetic letters, a ladle, and bowls. kids dip the ladle in, scoop up letters, dump them in their bowls, and then identify, copy, or even just play with the letters.

lakeshore has stringable alphabet letter beads.

foam alphabet puzzles are always popular.

have a parent volunteer cut out big letters from newspaper ads. kids then sort out the ones in their names and glue them under a card that has their name already written out.

etc. etc. etc. =) good luck--it's great that you're taking this initiative!


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