Sunday, February 17, 2013


Last Saturday I woke up and was dreading my "after pay day" trip to Sam's. I would be purchasing all the card stock, laminating film, and ink cartridges to create all the centers for the month. Then I would spend hours making the centers. I just could not do it anymore-it was too expensive and time consuming. I decided to simplify the centers for myself and for my students. I LOVE the Daily 5, and have organized my centers based on the Daily 5, but more like the Daily 4.
I teach 4 reading groups and have 4 centers during Literacy Centers. Best of all, they are worksheet free!
Here is the chart:

I blurred the student names, but they are listed beside each center rotation. The students will rotate every 15 minutes to each center:
1. Computers
2. Reading
3. Word Work
4. Teacher
I decided not to do a writing center. We have writing workshop daily and in 15 minutes they would not have enough time to even get the materials out and get started before it was time to clean up and rotate. 
At the reading center, there are 5 activities that they will rotate through each week: read/write the room, letter detective, big books & charts, pocket chart, and read books.
At the Word Work center, there are 5 activities that they will rotate through each week. Each student has a word bank and will use it to make words using magnets, play-doh, stamps, paint dots and markers.

Here is the rotation chart for the Reading Center. One day the student will use the pocket chart, the next day, he/she will read the big books, etc. and will have a chance to do every activity at that center each week. I will move the name cards down and the bottom one to the top.

Here is the improved classroom library:
Some pocket chart activities:

This is the Word Work Rotation Chart. Every day the students will use a different material/tool to create words. I will rotate these cards left to right.

This is how I have organized the materials. The student will take the drawer completely out and use the materials with a word bank.
Here is the board for the magnets. It is an oil drip pan that I put on the bathroom door with velcro.
The students will clip their words from the word bank with the clothespins (fine motor) and then spell the word with magnets.
 Here is how the students will use the dot paint to spell words:

As for the Math Centers, this is the rotation chart:
The students work with one math tub or use the computers every day-they do not rotate. The tubs have several partner games to play (Math Their Way, Investigations, Grid Games, +1, -1, add two dice, etc.). I will put the tubs on tables and call students from the centers for Math Small Groups.

I have been using the Calendar Notebook in my classroom. Each student has an individual notebook and I use mine on the document camera. In an effort to encourage more math talk, I am returning to the calendar wall.  I found my old calendar things, but need to remake a lot of them (tomorrow!). I will post about it when it is complete!

I will still make the Literacy Units and Math Center Packets to complete the reading series, but I wanted to be honest and let you know that I have changed how I use the centers. It is possible to use the literacy centers that are in the units without copying the recording sheets. The students can write the answer in the crayon color instead of coloring a picture, or they can fold a paper in fourths and make a dot using a crayon to match the color of the card and then write the answer in the squares (front and back). I also have some other ideas for graphic organizers and I will share them later.
My room looks so different now:


  1. I always have found station organization to be tough! Thanks for sharing how you do yours!

    Lovin’ Kindergarten

  2. I couldn't agree more about simplifying centers! A few years ago I was busily creating new literacy and math centers each week I went to a workshop and the presenter just happened to mentioned she used to do the same. It was driving her batty so she decided to just try switching out the various materials, etc for word work and in her reading/writing centers. I decided to give it a try and have never regretted it. I do love Daily 5 for the reasons you mentioned. It's so easy to make work for your own individual classroom needs. On occasion I still "make" centers but not nearly as often as I used to. I love the progress I see with my kids and it sure frees up much of my time and money. Thanks for posting this... I enjoyed reading it. :)

    The Daily Cupcake…A Kindergarten Blog

  3. LOVED this post!!! Just read it twice!
    Where do I begin?
    1)Your room is awesome! Not too busy, lovely colors, super organized, very inviting.
    2)Your explanation of your centers was so thorough and helpful. I've done a job board in the past that's similar, but you've given me some great ideas and things to think about.

    Thank you!!
    Tales From a Traveling Teacher


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