How do you do centers now?
I am not too upset with the centers I do right now. I had a big group last year (23 kids!) and I didn't want center time to be too chaotic so I came up with 8 centers with 3 kids at a center. We did centers Monday - Thursday and Friday was an Art day instead of centers (my school doesn't have Art...I know, it's crazy!). Each day the kids did 2 rotations of center time. I found it worked best to do 1 round of centers first thing after announcements. I pulled my lowest groups during this time to catch them before they could get distracted with something else. Then the kids did another round of centers after they finished their seatwork (after whole group lessons). During the 2nd round of centers I pulled more groups- the middle and high. Sounds like it worked... right? I mean it did work. It was just ALOT OF WORK (for me)! I had to rotate centers weekly and all that mess. Friday afternoons I would spend up to 2 hours in my classroom after school (isn't that the day your suppose to go home as soon as the kids are dismissed?!).
My current literacy block doesn't feel so bad because of one thing... my kids were independent. I rarely had interruptions during my guided reading groups. It might have just been that particular group but they did a good job doing for themselves.
I think they were like this because at the beginning of the year I model. I mean I really MODEL! Every day we spend time modeling how to do each center, expectations, rules, etc. This is the first year that I explicitely modeled everything (I mean everything!) and I saw the benefits...there is no going back!!!
What will I change?
1. Building stamina.
2. Anchor charts.
3. Writer's Workshop
4. 8 to 5
For sure I am going to go into this idea of building stamina. Independent reading is hard for firsties. Even when you explain expectations it is hard for them to sit still for a long period of time. So, we need to teach them how to be still and focused for the purpose of independent reading. I like the idea of building stamina by just practicing THE RIGHT WAY for a short time each day until they can read as long as we like.
We didn't build anchor charts for expectations last year but we will be this year. That way we will always have something to refer back to when problems do arise- plus it will promote our practice everyday!
In the past I have had a "Writing Center" but it is not always the most productive center. This year I want to build a writing center that truly promotes writing and free expression. I am still brainstorming for this and I haven't actually gotten to that chapter yet... Will keep you posted!
Eight centers is no longer needed with the Daily 5! I only need 5:
1. Read to Self
2. Read to Others
3. Spelling/Word Work
4. Work on Writing
5. Listen to Reading
I know for sure I will have a must do though... So my Daily 5 may not be in 30 min segments. Haven't decided yet...
These are my thoughts so far. If you visit Mel's blog (where I am linking up) you can find some freebie posters for the Daily 5 that are super cute :) Other bloggers are linking up too so you never know if you'll find something else!!!
In other news, I have finally selected my theme for my classroom next year! I am so excited, I stayed up all night working on it and I have a little freebie to share before the big reveal!
My theme will be:
Click the image for a delightful freebie!
Been working on a classroom decor packet for the past couple of days but probably won't be revealed for a few more days. The freebie is just a snippet of what you will get :)
Found this quote today while working:
|This poster is included in the freebie above!!|