6th grade center ideas

Discussion in 'Sixth Grade' started by newkteacher, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. newkteacher

    newkteacher Rookie

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    Jul 24, 2007

    I will be new to 6th grade language arts this year :) and I want to start using centers in the school(they don't use them as much in the upper grades and want to start) I have experience with center for kinder and wanted to know if any of the teachers here could critique my plan (loose term because I am in the planning stage)

    4 centers - rotate every 15-20 minutes -Once a week on Thursdays

    1. picture prompt center (This is very important because it is a hard section for our district's students)

    2. paragraph a week - give a topic idea and allow students to do artwork for their paragraph if they finish

    3. independent reading - students bring in reading from home and fill out a form (I'll have extra materials for students who don't

    4. vocab center - various acitivites I have yet to decide

    So, can anyone give me suggestions about these ideas? Thanks so much.
     
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  3. Teacher Jill

    Teacher Jill Rookie

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    Jul 24, 2007

    I really like your ideas. I'm just thinking that a time limit for 6th graders might be frustrating for them. If a student is deep at work or in the middle of an activity at one of the centers and has to stop because of time, he may have difficulty with that. A possibility could be to require them to complete at least 3 of the 4 centers during the time limit. That would help them learn to manage their time more effectively as well. Here are some things to think about as you're planning. Have you decided what requirements there will be for each station? Will each activity be graded? Do they have a journal so they are accountable for their work? As you did in Kindergarten, you'll still need to model exactly what you want them to do. Good luck in planning. Keep us posted on your progress and then how it's working.
     
  4. MrsLilHen

    MrsLilHen Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2007

    I love using Centers in my 6th grade classroom. I agree with pp, time limits can be frustrating to this age group. Sometimes I do 15 - 20 minute times, but sometimes I have work that they need to complete by the end of the center rotation, and they can figure it out themselves. One thing I've learned is that centers don't necesarily have to be physical centers around a room at this age. You can have it be a "To do" list, or a Menu of activities to choose from. You could have the reading one be something they do when they are finished with the other things, and they can read at home if they don't get to it. I have really started to give my kids more time at school. I want quality, not quantity.

    That stated, sometimes they do need a time limit because otherwise they will work too long on some things, and not long enough on others. It really depends on the activities.

    I'm not sure I'm helping at all - sorry! I do think centers should be used more often in the upper grades, though! Good for you!
     
  5. Stephanie21

    Stephanie21 Rookie

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    Jul 26, 2007

    I used centers when I taught 5th and I think I will use them again in 6th. Each of my kids had a Centers Folder for usually a two week period. The folder had a chart and a checklist of things the students had to accomplish. They werent always at a set section of the room and the kids didnt really "rotate". Usually, it was a variety of activities- a math hands-on activity (such as stamping out fractions or mixed numbers, coloring, and subtracting), a reading activity or game to play with a partner, sometimes a small social studies or science "project" (like looking on the internet in our classroom, comparing two reptiles, and folding a piece of paper, drawing both, and writing a paragraph about each and one for similarities), a spelling assignment, vocab project, or sometimes I threw in art history where they had to read about a famous artist, write facts or a paragraph, and do an art project in the style of the artist. This was a favorite and it got them reading and writing too.

    Each center cycle did not include ALL of these things, it depended on what we were doing in each subject, and what they needed extra help on. Sometimes it was a short list and sometimes it was a long one with more time. If we were in the middle of a math lesson and they really seemed to be struggling, sometimes I would add another math center activity to their folders in the middle of the cycle (and add time accordingly if I thought they needed more time). Sometimes it was just a math board game they had to play with a friend and write a paragraph about whether or not it helped them and what they learned or had trouble with.

    A lot of the centers had kids go up to a place in the room, read the directions, get their materials, and go back to their seats and work until they were done. They would check the assignments off in their folder when it was complete, and put any finished center work in their folder. I could take some of the time they were working to meet with kids who were far behind or help students having trouble in a particular area. Sometimes I used this time for meeting with guided reading groups, but more often than not, I used reading time when all students were engaged in a reading assignment. We usually did this for 45 minutes or less a day (I usually had it scheduled in, but sometimes we could not fit the whole time). Students who were good with time-management on their own could take some time for silent reading or writing if they liked. It really helped them to be independent I think. It is a lot of work to set up though, but you will always have your centers for next year. I did grade or at least read all of their work. It helped me to see trends in their behavior or learning too (if one kid always spends tons of time on a writing assignment and always picks that 1st, working carefully, and races through the math section- answering quickly and just writing any numbers- I can see what they like best and talk to them about why they choose what they do).
     

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