Centers in Middle School

Discussion in 'General Education' started by chebrutta, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Oct 5, 2013

    Long story short, I need to start incorporating centers in my classroom, specifically for my lowest students.

    I have no idea how this works or what it should look like in a MS LA classroom (googling lead to an awful of great resources for elementary).

    What are some things I should be looking at? Grammar, proof reading, root word games have all crossed my mind. Reading is a bit trickier... quite a few of my students are not fluent readers (most in my standard classes are in the 2nd - 5th grade range). I don't have access to tape players or headphones. So I'm thinking we would read something ahead of time as a class, then have center activities that focus on that passage... but everything has to align with the CCSS, of course. I'd probably also have a station on short-answer response and citing evidence.

    Anyone have any ideas or pointers for me?
     
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  3. AHS_Fan

    AHS_Fan Rookie

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    Oct 5, 2013

  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 5, 2013

    I have been vaguely thinking about doing centers in high school :) I think it probably seems like a crazy idea, because it's supposed to be elementary, but it wouldn't be an ongoing thing. I would just use it for changing things around, almost like doing group work.
    But I really need to look into how it's done in lower grades so I can start thinking about how I'd change it. I don't know enough about it yet.
     
  5. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I don't understand why small group instruction needs to stop for old kids. They don't suddenly turn 11 and then want sit and do only a whole group activity for 50-90 minutes. Centers are AWESOME for any age! And perfect for differentiation.

    Questions:

    What do you teach? (I see Language Arts...is that Reading and Writing combined, or just one of those?)

    How many kids?

    How long do you have each period?

    Definitely still do your whole group stuff. When you're pulling kids, the others should be doing things that reinforce what you've taught but are still able to be done independently. Maybe Scrabble/word study games? Reciprocal teaching groups? Graphic organizers? Class journaling? Do you have computers? MobyMax is great for Reading and Writing and is free...and Common Core aligned!
     
  6. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    Oct 5, 2013

    I do a version of centers but not your usual rotating type. I have a checklist of independent/partner activities with a weekly due date (usually Friday, sometimes Thurs.).

    We have mini-lessons on Monday and then I pull groups through the week to reinforce the skill. If I see a lot of students are not getting a concept, I'll insert another mini-lesson in the middle of the week or where ever needed.

    My struggling kids' checklist has daily due dates to keep them on track (and usually the adapted work); my more independent kids can choose which activity they want to do when, as long as it is all done by the weekly due date.
    If their turned in work is below their ability or if they are missing assignments, then they move to my structured checklist and no partner work until they show they can handle the independence.

    While they are working I am pulling flexible skills groups based on data or sitting with my struggling kids to make sure they are focused and doing informal assessing.

    Fridays we either have a quiz or a discussion based on that week's assignments.

    I know you are experienced teacher but I just wanted to throw this out there for anyone else considering this--it takes A LOT of practice to get it running smoothly so don't give up after 2 weeks.

    Every year at first I have kids not completing work, goofing off (off-task immediately forfeits your privilege of working with a partner on partner activities for the week), interrupting me while I am with a small group for silly reasons.

    We spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year (and after winter break!) setting expectations, practicing, reinforcing. The first 3 weeks, most of my kids have Ds or Fs due to incomplete work until they realize I mean business and change their attitude.

    That said, they really love the format and the freedom and I love that it prepares them for time management of their assignments in HS. Plus, I feel it makes it really easy to differentiate.
    Feel free to PM with more questions--I can send you examples.
     
  7. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Oct 5, 2013

    I don't have computers in my room :(

    Will do!
     
  8. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Oct 5, 2013

    50 minutes is hard. That's basically what I have to work with now...you might get one group in if you're still doing whole group instruction. Maybe 2 if you're quick....15 min instruction/15 min group/15 min group.

    90 minutes is much better. You can do whole group lessons and 3 20 min groups. Your classes are small enough so that you can see everyone every day. Our 7th grade reading teacher has 8-10 kids in a group and they just do a novel study separate from the whole class text that is being read. I prefer to keep novels to small groups and then do non-fiction or excerpts as a whole class.

    I think finding activities wont be the hard part. You will have to be patient with the routine. Setting it up to go well can take weeks or months.
     
  9. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    Oct 6, 2013

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