Centers Help!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MissT34, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. MissT34

    MissT34 Companion

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    Aug 13, 2012

    I posted this under the Elementary forums, but I'm hoping I can get more information....


    Hi everyone..
    I really want to implement centers in my classroom this year, and I've been researching info online but I'm still not 100% positive on how to start out.

    A lot of the sites I've been on explain how to do literacy centers, the rotations, management, etc. However I still have several questions that I really hope someone can help me out with:

    Are centers done daily, once a week, a few days a week, or is it up to the teacher's discretion? What works best based on your experiences with centers in the past?

    Instead of having all students working on literacy, can you do different centers at one time? For example, the groups would be: Teacher Center, Writing Center, Math Center, and Reading/ELA Center.. Would this work or do all students have to be working on one skill (literacy) and rotate tasks?

    Also, I've read that the students usually rotate to two or three centers every 20minutes, but is it possible to have them in their centers for 30-45 minutes and they rotate daily? In other words, Monday: Teacher Center, Tuesday: Writing, Wednesday: Math, Thursday: Reading

    I plan on have a folder for each student, labeled with a different colored star, depending on their levels, and they'd be rotating based on their star color...

    I hope I'm making sense! If not, I'd appreciate any info/advice you all have on how to start these centers in my classroom.. Thank you in advance!!
     
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  3. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Aug 13, 2012

    I'm of the opinion that you should run them however works best for your kiddos. I've done it different ways depending on how independent the kids are.

    I do workstations daily-partly to give them hands-on practice and partly because while they are working, I pull students for guided reading/math sessions with me. When you are having them work for 30-45 mins-is that an independent activity they are doing, or is it something hands-on? So you'd be working with a group of students that long as well-that would mean you would only meet with each group once a week. You do have older kids, so they may have a better attention span, but I know my kiddos could never last that long with one activity.

    Everyone does them differently-I've been to a bunch of trainings and every time they say something different-I don't think there is a right or wrong way-do what works for you.
     
  4. janney

    janney Cohort

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    Aug 13, 2012

    Are centers done daily, once a week, a few days a week, or is it up to the teacher's discretion? What works best based on your experiences with centers in the past?
    It depends on how often you need to meet with small groups. I meet with small reading groups daily so I have literacy centers every day. I don't always teach every math topic in small groups so I often only have math centers as needed; depending on the topic it could be every day or 2-3 times a week.

    Instead of having all students working on literacy, can you do different centers at one time? For example, the groups would be: Teacher Center, Writing Center, Math Center, and Reading/ELA Center.. Would this work or do all students have to be working on one skill (literacy) and rotate tasks?
    This is up to the teacher and the school. My school prefers that I have both literacy and math centers during each subject block so I don't mix them up. I will sometimes have a science center in with math.

    Also, I've read that the students usually rotate to two or three centers every 20minutes, but is it possible to have them in their centers for 30-45 minutes and they rotate daily? In other words, Monday: Teacher Center, Tuesday: Writing, Wednesday: Math, Thursday: Reading
    I think that 30-45 minutes is a bit long for a center unless you have a lot of activities to choose from at each center. I have never taught 4th grade so I don't really know how long their attention span is. I found that in Kindergarten 12 minutes was about as long as I could go and still have almost all students still on task and focused in small groups.

    I plan on have a folder for each student, labeled with a different colored star, depending on their levels, and they'd be rotating based on their star color...

    I hope I'm making sense! If not, I'd appreciate any info/advice you all have on how to start these centers in my classroom.. Thank you in advance!!
     
  5. MissT34

    MissT34 Companion

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    Aug 13, 2012

    Thank you for your response! Most of the activities would be independent, for example for the writing, i wanted to incorporate some national geographic magazines that I have, let them choose an article, Find the who, what, where, when, why, and write a reflection.. I figured that would require a longer amount of time.. that's why i was thinking of 30-45 min... Math would probably be hands on/manipulatives/games and things of that sort..
     
  6. MissT34

    MissT34 Companion

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    Aug 13, 2012

    Janney: I'm now thinking it would probably be best to have a literacy center and math center during each block... mainly because I'm now realizing that a student who my be "Low" in subject may not necessarily be low in the other so their star color may change..
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Aug 14, 2012

    MissT---that was my concern. Your math, writing, and reading levels will vary by student so a student who needs help in math may be an exceptional reader.

    My sixth graders can do 30-45 minutes, but it takes time to advance to this level. Usually in the beginning of the year, their independent activity (center time) is about 15-20 minutes. This does vary by class though.

    I would start by giving all students an independent activity (I usually start with silent reading, but you could pick anything). Then time them to see how long every student stays on task. As soon as a student starts to get off task (staring around the room or randomly flipping pages), you have the time that students can work on a task independently. Then you spend the first few weeks building up stamina from here.
     
  8. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Aug 14, 2012

    Are centers done daily, once a week, a few days a week, or is it up to the teacher's discretion? What works best based on your experiences with centers in the past?

    I do centers 3 - 4 days a week. It really depends on what your district mandates, I would say.

    Instead of having all students working on literacy, can you do different centers at one time? For example, the groups would be: Teacher Center, Writing Center, Math Center, and Reading/ELA Center.. Would this work or do all students have to be working on one skill (literacy) and rotate tasks?

    My kids work on different skills. For example, one group may be working on Spelling/Phonics, another on writing, another on comprehension skills, another on Language skills, etc.

    Also, I've read that the students usually rotate to two or three centers every 20minutes, but is it possible to have them in their centers for 30-45 minutes and they rotate daily? In other words, Monday: Teacher Center, Tuesday: Writing, Wednesday: Math, Thursday: Reading

    It's possible to do just about anything you want, BUT I find that shorter centers keep students from getting bored and misbehaving. 30-45 minutes seems like a long time for a station to me, but I've never tried it.

    I have five groups and five stations: group (with me), computers, Writing, Reading, and Spelling/Phonics. Stations last 10-15 minutes each.
     
  9. MissT34

    MissT34 Companion

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    Aug 14, 2012

    Mopar: Thank you for your suggestion. that is exactly what I will do, and once I know just how long they can focus on a single task, we'll go from there..

    Thanks everyone :)
     
  10. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Aug 14, 2012

    Talk to your class about building stamina and they will greatly improve with you. You can even let them know how long they are going and set goals. It's very powerful.
     
  11. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aug 14, 2012

    I also do centers 3-4 days per week. Unless all of your students are high-achieving self-motivators, you need to meet with them more often than once per week. Your lowest students need to meet with you in a small group setting every day. The highest students, not so much.
     

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