Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Centers.  Stations.  Literacy Centers.  Learning Centers.  Math Stations.  Whatever you call them,  I love, love, LOVE them!  I love the independence they can give a child.  I love the small group setting that I get to have with the kiddos during centers.  I love the imagination the kids get to use during centers.  I love it all.  So, I want to do a series of blog posts dedicated to my favorite teaching method:  CENTERS! :)

So, I'll start with my afternoon learning centers.  I store all my center materials in cereal boxes with labels on them.  All the supplies fit nicely inside, and I asked my art teacher (she also helps me for Kinder Resource each morning for an hour) to make some fancy labels, because if you know anything about me... you know that I am NOT an artist.  My students even laugh sometimes at my pathetic attempt to draw things.

I have 8 afternoon learning centers:
1.  LISTENING.  The kids get to listen to the book on CD (or tape).  After reading the story, they get the magnet letters out and spell words in the book.  There is a left over metal shelf from a cabinet unit that I didn't need, and it fits nicely behind my bench.  The kids pull it out, and start sticking the letters on!

2.  ART.  I always put the example on my easel.  This time just so happens to be penguins! :)  All the patterns they might need to trace...glue they paper...googly eyes...EVERYTHING their little hears desire, is right at their fingertips.  If they finish early and have spare time (and they hardly EVER have spare time... because I judge my center length based on how the art kids are progressing) they can color in coloring books.  They are in the black milk crates on the side of the table.
3.  WRITING.  I tape the example up (again penguins.. this one says "Penguins are black and white.")  I give the kids writing paper, and they go to town.  As the year progresses, I make the sentence longer, harder, and eventually, give them the writing prompt and they write their own sentence.  Spare time- free write on scrap paper with stencils.
4.  MATH.  This one I still would like to give more attention to- it just needs SOMETHING.  I'm OK with it for now, but it's one that is in my "to-do" list for re-vamping.  Here the kids get to do a variety of things.  Sometimes I have a math game for them to play, or give them manipulatives to work with, but their favorite thing to do is play "teacher" and do the morning routine with each other.
5.  SENSORY.  This is probably one of the kids favorites.  I fill it with sand, water, rice, tire shreds, pattern blocks, linking cubes, easter eggs, jingle bells, pretty much whatever I can find that I think would be FUN! :)
6.  COMPUTERS.  The kids can play on KidPix (with a specific project to work on), Saxon Math, or  Enough said :)
7.  PUZZLES.  No picture- just a table with a puzzle crate on it :)
8.  SURPRISE.  No picture-again :)  This is whatever I think the kids need to work on at that point.  I've used nuts, bolts, and screws to work on fine motor.  I've used playdough, letter tiles, stamps, etc.

How do I keep it all organized?  The chart:

So, let me know how you do YOUR centers (or just tell me what you think of mine... because let's face it, I just love comments!), and stay tuned... next time ...

1 comment:

  1. Who knew cereal boxes could come in so handy! Way to be organized. Looks good!

    Forever in First


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