Here are some answers to some questions I have received about the center post below.
1. Do the students rotate to all the centers everyday?
Yes, they will visit all 4 centers everyday for 15 minutes. I meet with all students during guided reading/small groups everyday.
2. Do students choose the activity at the Reading & Word Work Centers?
No, not yet. Last week I organized my centers this way and the students had a hard time with choice. I am sure that if this was a skill I worked on at the beginning of the school year as the Sisters suggest in the Daily 5 book (stamina, etc) that the students would have been able to handle making choices. We don't have time to stop now so late in the year and work on this. What I saw with my students last week: students moving from one activity to another in the center without completing or staying with one activity the entire 15 minutes (created more clean up), wasting time looking through all the choices, and some students actually not knowing what to do.
So, for now, I am making the choice for them and maybe later they will be able to choose. That is my goal, I think that student choice naturally differentiates student work and that is what I really want for my students.
I even considered creating a "planning sheet" or a "contract" where the
students would mark, color, or circle their choice daily for the week. But I
do not want to make copies of anything. I also thought about making a
chart where students could make a choice by placing a clothespin beside
their choice at that center for the day in the morning during arrival time.
3. How do I know what the students are doing at the center (if they are not choosing)?
The blue and green cards at the reading and word work centers have student names on them and those names are rotated daily so that the students complete all the activities for the week. Some of the activities have paper to use (stamping, write the room, etc.) so there is some accountability. I am planning a center wrap-up session daily after center time for students to discuss the different activities.
I have 4-5 students at each center, but each student is participating in a different activity. Some of the materials are difficult for several students to use at the same time (pocket chart, big book easel, magnet board). As they experience these activities a few times independently, I think it will be easier for them to share and take turns and I can allow them more choice.
4. Can you share the center chart pieces?
Sure, I can! I can share the Literacy Center strips and Math Tub cards, and the green cards for the activities at the Reading Center. I can't share the word work activity cards because of the clip art I used on the cards. Click here.
5. Pocket Chart Activities:
I just make them. They are similar to the centers I make for my Literacy Units. I purposely wanted to stay away from making these on the computer. Even though my handwriting is not perfect like a computer font, I still wanted to use my own handwriting on the sentence strips. When I was looking through some old files (before computers) I found some handwritten math plans from a presenter at a math training I attended many years ago. It was so refreshing for my eyes to see actual writing instead of computer fonts.