Sunday, September 21, 2014

Literacy Centers!

Last week was our first week of centers!  I just started with Literacy Centers b/c I didn't want to overwhelm my kids {or myself}.  I began on Monday morning by going over the procedures/expectations for centers.  This is a very important part of centers.  I typically review the procedures each Monday for the first month or so of school.  Next, I went though each tub and quickly explained how to do the activities inside.  Once finished, the kids were able to look at the center chart and go!  They do not have assigned seats; they are allowed to decide as a group where they want to sit.  The only rule I have is there is only allowed to be one group on the carpet.  For the first week of centers, I used activities from my "Back to School BBQ" pack.  That along with my Apple and Fall centers all include simple activities that the kids can work on independently as I float around and monitor behavior.  Everyone was very engaged this first week, which was great!  In addition to the BBQ centers, I had my listening center open.  Although it has gone by the wayside for some teachers, I've continued to use it year after year in my classroom.  I believe that it has a lot of value for beginning readers.  I built my listening library up with my Scholastic Books points and now I have enough books to last an entire school year of listening center!  I have holiday and general books so I can choose which set I want to put out each week.  After listening to the story, the kids have to complete the "My Favorite Part" log.  Right now they are just drawing a picture for it but as the year goes on, I'll expect written response.  You can snag the logs for free HERE.

So many of you are probably wondering how I run my centers.  I've blogged about it before HERE but I'll go over it again today because I've gained a lot of new followers since I did the post last year.

First-I run my centers when my IEP students and students needing a lot of assistance are gone in their groups with the Intervention Specialist.  To me, it doesn't make sense to have them do work that is not appropriate for their levels.  They would struggle completing these centers, even with my assistance.  I have several students out of the room during center time.  I divide my remaining kids up into 5 groups.  I use 5 groups because my students only visit one center per day.  I've tried multiple centers in the past and I praise you that do this.  For me, it is a nightmare.  One center per day is manageable and enough for my first graders.  The kids visit their center, complete the activity, and fill out the recording sheet to go with it.  Just about every center that I make has a recording sheet to go along with it.  If copies are an issue for you, the clear sheet protectors and EXPO markers are an alternative.

I keep my centers simple, as they are intended to be a spiral review of what we learn in first grade.  I also want my kids to have fun and feel successful with their centers!

I have a little pocket chart where I hang the kids center icons and their actual pictures/names.  They quickly check where they need to go and they're off!

The kids spend about 20-25 minutes at their center each day.  As they finish, they must show me their papers and then they are allowed to read a book.  No wandering around the room talking to people still at centers!  As the kids are working, I do not run guided reading groups.  Again, this works for many of you but for me, it does not.  I've tried it in the past and no matter how great my center expectations are, there are still constant interruptions and the noise level is not ideal for guided reading.  After all, I want my kids engaged, talking, and having fun during centers!  Expecting a silent classroom during center time is not my style.  While the kids are doing centers, I float around and help them.  I monitor behavior/redirect where needed.  This helps the kids keep their behaviors in check.

Some weeks I open computer as a center.  The kids know they are at computer center b/c I'll put a little computer picture in place of their center icon on the pocket chart.  I like varying up centers with the computer center!  The kids love it, too!

At the end of centers, I ring a bell.  I love using sounds for transitions!  See how I use sounds in the classroom HERE.  The kids quickly clean up, put their center buckets back, and join me on the carpet for Reading.

So there you have it.  Literacy centers.  Easy-peasy.  To take a look at a bundle of all my centers, click the image below.  16 packs of centers at a discounted rate!  You can also snag them individually if you prefer.


We'll be starting Math Centers soon, so keep your eyes peeled for a post about them!

ps-For a free, apple-themed Math center, click below!


Kristin Young said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Directing...and redirecting...and redirecting...those first weeks of teaching centers are so important! Great ideas!! :)

Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten

angel chism said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thank you so much for the listening papers. We are really struggling with our Literacy centers this year. I already got your centers bundle, loving it. Thanks for your tips and ideas

residency letter of recommendation sample said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

There will of course be more of the aspects to be seen by the students and surely there is lot be done in this regard.

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I believe listening centers are of the utmost importance, especially for ESL readers! They need to hear book language and the English language in order to be good readers. This helps them understand how the language works.

gotbooks said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Listening centers are of the utmost importance. I am a reading specialist and all my students are ESL readers. So, listening in a center or having read alouds helps them understand how the English language works. If they can't duplicate speaking in the English language, they will have trouble reading it as well. So hearing English in books, helps with book language and speaking.

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