Alright, well, each year I change a little bit on how I manage center time (in addition, each school makes us call it something different, workshop, universal access time, etc) Anyways, I'm at a new school, half day kinder, and my favorite way of running centers isn't quite working. So, I'm coming to you guys to hear how you manage centers. This is how I've done it and what I liked the best, but isn't working this year: I would have four table centers with work. The four would be phonics, journal, reading, and maybe an art or math activity. Of course, these things change based on what we were learning that day. Everyday was a different activity. The kids chose where they wanted to go to, as long as they visited each table. Once they have visited each table, then they could go have free time. This was when I taught full day. Now, I"m half day and my kids are not able to get to every table. We have 1 hour for center time. My kids are academically very low and they are just slow workers. So, I need some ideas on how you guys run your center time. THANKS!!!

One idea I had was to put them into groups, and have them rotate every 15 minutes. If they finish their work early at a particular table, then they could go to a hands on center until the time is up (like puzzles, library, pattern center, etc) What do you guys think? I was also thinking of having them all start center time by reading silently for five minutes. This is what my partner teacher does. What do you think of this? I haven't done it yet.

I do your first idea...the students are in small groups and the groups rotate every 15 minutes. I have four stations...so we have an hour of centers each day. I usually have 2 parent volunteers help during center time. They are at stations where students will need some help.

I don't have any parent helpers... I tried.... I have a partner teacher. She will take one group and I will take the other group. We will switch, one will do the reading and phonics, and the other will do journal writing. Then, I will have two independent tables. One will be a math reteach activity, and the other another sort of L.A. activity. I think I will try it out, but I was just wondering what other ways there were to run centers. I know there are other, creative ways! I was hoping people would share. ANYONE

Hello, Many of the 1/2 day teachers at my school do centers the way you mentioned. They have three or four and rotate a homogenous (by ability) group every 15-20 minutes. If the kids finish early at a center they get a free choice (puzzles, blocks, doll house, white boards...), until it's time to move to the next center. The only problem with that is that kids don't get to go at their own pace, and what about kids who take a long time? Do they ever get a chance to have free play at that time? Another 1/2 day teacher at my school does four centers, which they rotate through at their own pace. She has them grouped into four heterogeneous groups, she doesn't have them group by ability for guided reading. She calls them to her table for guided reading as they are going through centers. If they are in the middle of a center they will go back to it when they are done with reading group. The final of the four centers is a fun center (like house, or blocks, puzzles...) She also has an hour.

That is the exact reason why I currenlty have my students choose which centers they would like to go to. The way I've done is that as long as they visit all four centers and do their work, that they can choose where to go and work at their own pace. This year, it just hastn' been working all that well. These kids are very low and because of this are very slow workers. Each table center shouldn't take too long to do, so I think giving them 15 minutes won't be too bad. PLUS, it'll force them to pick up their speed. I'm thinking, I'll do rotations, and then, when they get better at working at a faster pace, then I'll go back to them choosing. Anyways, I know my old BTSA mentor who taught kinder had a very interesting way of doing centers. I can't remember exactly how she did it, but they had 8 centers a week. Kids were in groups and had to visit two a day. When they finished, they could have free time. There was more to it, but I can't remember it all. My problem with this is that I want my kids writing in their journals everyday. Plus, I am going to have them read everyday, which is something I never did in the past.

I went to the National Kindergarten Conference in Vegas this past summer. It was wonderful. Go if you ever get the chance. Anyhow, Kim Adsit was one of the presenters who shared her new way of doing centers. She has her classroom divided up into 5 areas (she has a picnic theme so her 5 areas go along with her theme - watermelon area, ants, etc). Students are put into 5 groups and have to stay in the watermelon area on Monday, then they go to the ant area on Tuesday, and so on. At each center there are activities for all academic areas (reading, writing, phonics/abc, math and a play center. So at the Watermelon area you would have plenty of books to read, puzzles, math manipulatives, their journals, listening center, magnetic abc's and the house area. At the Ant area you would have plenty of books, puzzles, different math manipulatives, abc file folder games, magna doodles for writing letters/sight words, read or write the room and the blocks. Each area has plenty of choices for them. She has a "must do" activity at each area everyday. Then they get to make their choices. The play centers (kitchen, blocks, sand etc are only open for thirty minutes at the end of the day. So at the end of the day the Watermelon group would get to play in the kitchen, students in the ant area would play with blocks. By the end of the week everyone would of rotated through each area of the classroom. I hope this makes sense. I love this idea because then it keeps the students in one area of the classroom instead of running all around the room. Plus, it eliminates the starting and stopping every 15 minutes and the hassle of some ready to rotate. It is more controlled but still gives them a lot of options to choose from. During that time she pull her groups for reading. That another page so I end here.

map, this sounds like a REALLY nice way of doing centers. Unfortunately, my partner and I have a really teeny tiny classroom. I mean, it's ridiculous. Our room has been written up for violating codes, but nothing can be done to fix it because it's just too darn small. It used to be a resource storage room! Sooooo, I love that idea and the picnic theme too, but it'll have to wait until one day when I am in a bigger room. Thank you for sharing this!

When we first start centers, I will tell them where to go first. My must do center that they must all visit are all table centers. Therefore, how many kids can go to the centers depends on how many chairs are at the tables. This year, there is only room for five kids at each table center. But, if you do centers around the classroom, I'm sure there are a lot of creative ways to manage how many kids can visit the center. TO make sure that each kid went to the centers I placed checklist at each table. They had to find their name and check it off. In the beginning of the year, I would have them practice checking off only at my table. Then, after a week or so, I put one at each table. They got the hang of it pretty quickly. So, during center time, when I have a bit of time, I would walk around and do a quick scan of the checklist. I learn quickly who my repeat offenders are who tend to skip centers and look for their names. In the past, I would have them bring me their work and place it in the basket. That was another way I would check to see if they went to all of their centers. This year, I haven't done it because since I teach half day now, I don't have the time to collect their work and see if they went to all of their centers. I think with rotations, at least I'll know if they visited all tables. Like you, I also am always on the lookout for new ideas on how to run centers. I tried a google search but couldn't find anything.

Hi Peachyness! Glad to see you back in K this year Here is a link to the center management page on my website, maybe there will be some useful info there for you. We are full-day so we have 3 center times per day, ABC, math, and "developmental". I was tickled to hear that Kim Adsit is using the same method of center management as I do, it works very well.

I have full day kinder with 28 students. Half are spanish speakers so I have have centers that they can do on their own. This is y first year in kinder after 8 years in 8th grade so I have been struggling but this is what I came up with. . . I have my trapeziod tables apart instead of in a circle group which creates rows in my small room. They start at table 1 and switch to each center in order following an "S" shape around the room that connects back to the 1st station. Since the numbers go in order they eventually figure out where to go, I have 15 centers with only 2 students at each center. I know you're thinking it's a lot of work but it's not. Several center stay the same all year such as legos, puppets/dramatic play, book nook(silent reading), computers, puzzles. The other centers are literacy centers, social studies and math. They are easy to switch out every week or every two weeks. I don't have a parent volunteer so here how a center time would go: Monday----Pass out center tags to each child and have them go to a center (only 2 to a center). Have them start at the center making sure you have introduced any new centers for the week. Quickly go around and check off the number station they are at. I go for 20 minutes since I am alone. This allow me about 10-15 minutes for a small group or ind. assessments. Remind them a minute before to clean up and switch. You will haveto help wit the tansitions at first. They MUST stay at their station. If they finish quickly have them get a book to silent read at their station. After the switch mark station number again, repeat. On Tuesday when you pass out tags tell them what number to go to and they are ready to go. I got most of this from a teacher website and it seems to go well with my students even the non-english speakers. 2 at a station is working much better, less playing around and they get a new partner every week or so. No one hurries to finish and "play" plus they know they will all get to every station which they decided is more fair than the first way we weredoing centers.