centers

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by ShanaNicole, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. ShanaNicole

    ShanaNicole Rookie

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    Aug 5, 2011

    I would like to create centers but I'm not really sure where to start. I'm not sure if they are even necessary. Where do I start? What do you do? How do you track the students? How do you grade completed center work? I'm totally lost :confused:. Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Aug 6, 2011

    Maybe start by modeling a reading game. Then set this up as one center for the students.

    Choose a center, model it with the students, and then slowly allow them to use the center.
     
  4. lilmisses1014

    lilmisses1014 Comrade

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    Aug 6, 2011

    ShanaNicole, my school requires us to do literacy stations every day for an hour when we meet with our small guided reading groups.

    The stations I have:
    - guided reading/small group (they meet with me)
    - listening station (they need to fill out a retelling sheet after they read the book)
    - library (they also need to work on a characterization or retelling sheet for the book or books they read)
    - retelling
    - computer
    - LeapFrog books
    - Writing station
    - Word Work stations: writing and using stamps to make words; magnetic letters to create words; play-doh words; other word games that I'm forgetting at this moment.

    I have different math games for stations; we'll do those once a week (30 minutes, typically: 2 rotations, 15 minutes each) and the activities we do primarily focus on the topic we're discussing for the week, but sometimes we'll include review games.

    Debbie Diller's Literacy Work Stations: Making Centers Work has excellent information for literacy stations. I also have gotten a lot of ideas from Beth Newhingham's site. There's a wealth of information online if you do searches. Fortunately, a lot of materials can be bought or made cheaply.

    Hope this helps!!
     
  5. ShanaNicole

    ShanaNicole Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2011

    I wish I had computers so I could have kids working on them. :(. I don't really have any technology for the kids to use, so it really sucks because I am a technogeek, lol. Thank you for the ideas though, the other stations I can definitely do.
     
  6. HeavenIsLoud

    HeavenIsLoud Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2011

    When I was a first year teacher, I made the mistake of trying to do all of those different centers during reading thinking that I was being creative. All it did was create a lot of extra work for me. After I started working with a coach we simplified my literacy stations to: guided reading with me, word study (or whatever you use for phonics/spelling), independent reading and writing. My students do all four rotations everyday. The routine at word study changes depending on the day of the week.
    Doing it this way was less work for me and my kids. They always know what to do because the assignments are always the same.
    The only thing you have to do is have plenty of paper in the writing center, leveled books for reading and the word sorts for word study.
     
  7. ShanaNicole

    ShanaNicole Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2011

    Heaven that's a great idea and I think that's exactly what I'm going to do. I tried to do more when I started midyear last year and it was awful. I couldn't keep up. Thanks!!
     
  8. sjnkate

    sjnkate Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2011

    I highly recommend reading The Daily Five and The CAFE Book. What HeavenIsLoud does sounds similar to Daily 5. As far as grading center work, a teacher once told me that the point of centers is to allow you to teach small groups. You can spend time grading center work, or you can plan a great small group lesson. She chose planning great lessons.
     
  9. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aug 11, 2011

    You might want to read The Daily Five. I used to work myself to death creating cute center activities. Now, I do a modified version of the Daily 5. The official Daily 5 are:
    1. Read to self
    2. Read to someone
    3. Word Work
    4. Listen to reading (the teacher or a book/tape, etc.)
    5. Writing
      and Teacher Table for certain groups.

    Because of time limitations and local requirements, mine is more like this:
    4 times per week: Computers, Read to Self, Word Work, Teacher Table (required for all students)
    1-3 times per week: Listen to Reading and Writing
    I don't usually do workstations (centers) on Mondays, because I am introducing the skills we will be working on (and our Reading/ELA block is 30 minutes short because we go to the library).

    The Daily Five helped me to streamline and focus my workstations to more meaningful and engaging work for my students. I hope that helps and makes sense!:dizzy:
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Aug 11, 2011

    I agree Debbie Diller is an incredible resource for ideas-she has a blog that you can get some free ideas off of as well.

    I don't know how people teach without workstations. The kids have to be doing something productive when you do small group instruction. I like my stations to be more hands-on activities so yes, it does take time to create and keep up with, but I think it's worth it.

    I also don't believe in grading workstation work. My kids all work with a partner or group anyway-so I wouldn't know who actually completed it. You can look around the room and see who is on-task and who isn't. I always say it's like when Serena Williams uses the ball machine to practice her swing-she's not keeping score. Workstations are the same way--it's just for practice.
     
  11. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Aug 11, 2011

    I agree. You should think about doing the Daily 5. I was all about centers when I first started teaching. I realized it was a lot more work and after reading the Daily 5 I realized that they are still learning the same things.
    They are not missing anything except the cute stuff.

    But then on the other hand you can do centers. Just keep them simple.

    Writing center-diff kinds of papers and pens(pretty much the same as Daily5)

    Work with Words-they can make sight words with play dough or different things. (same as Daily 5-maybe minus the playdoh)

    If you do decide to do centers then here are my suggestions with grading.
    I had a folder in everyone's cubby that had unfinished work and completed work. I would check their work every 2 weeks(it was really hard to get around to it)
     
  12. ShanaNicole

    ShanaNicole Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2011

    These are some great ideas. I've seen a lot of daily 5 posts so I'm definitely going to check it out. Thank you all veryyyyy much :) .
     
  13. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aug 12, 2011

    I always say it's like when Serena Williams uses the ball machine to practice her swing-she's not keeping score. Workstations are the same way--it's just for practice.

    Great analogy! I'm gonna steal it!
     

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