I need Center Advice

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by TeachGrade1, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. TeachGrade1

    TeachGrade1 Rookie

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    Aug 31, 2007

    My school uses a reading program that requires small groups. The small groups are based on ability and need to last 20 minutes. I have 4 small groups. I need to figure out a way to organize my students in centers that are not ability based. Last year I just kept the kids in the same groups as I pulled for my small group(this is what my grade level teammates do also). This year my more challenging students are all on the same level, so I can not imagine putting them in centers together. Does anyone have a simple way of setting up centers where the group your seeing is a mix of students from the other center areas?

    I started coming up with a way to put one student from each level together (what Kagan reccomends) but the timing doesn't seem to work. If I do it, the kids will switch centers every 15 minutes and I will be pulling groups every 20 minutes.

    I know this question probably sounds confusing.... but I would appreciate any advice I can get!
     
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  3. 1stGr8

    1stGr8 Companion

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    Sep 1, 2007

    Well, what you could do is give each child two different group names. For example, I have colored groups for their centers groups. The colored groups are mixed ability. When I pull reading groups, they have an animal name. So I might say "Ok boys and girls, I will be taking the monkeys." Then the monkeys leave their colored group and come to me. I don't think I am explaining this well at all, but it works! If you have any questions, please ask!

    As far as the timing, I'm not sure where the problem lies. I would just stretch the centers to 20 minutes. If they are finishing the activities to quickly you can add "choice" centers or more activities to each center.
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 1, 2007

    I think you did a good job of explaining. It kind of reminds me of redbirds and bluebirds grouping. Do the kids get confused by the color and animal groups?

    In answer to the questions about timing, I did 15 minute centers with a 5 minute cleanup and rotation.
     
  5. 1stGr8

    1stGr8 Companion

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    Sep 1, 2007

    They don't get confused at all. I was worried about that at first but I actually only needed to tell them ONCE and they all remembered (shocking!)
     
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 1, 2007

    When I taught kinder, it was first year teaching. Most of the other teachers had been there for years. The way that had their center board organized confused even me. I can't even begin how to describe it! But the kids only needed a week of practice to get it for the rest of the year.
     
  7. Pattie

    Pattie Companion

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    Sep 3, 2007

    I did mine the same way. Mine had dinosaur names for center groups, but colors for reading groups. I had my lowest group the red reading group (go figure!) and then yellow, green and blue (top group, go figure). I used to ring the bell, but that is only necessary if you have round robin centers. If you try free choice centers, and if you can manage their noise, you can try free roam centers. Some years I can't do it because of behaviors, but last 2 I've done it and I like it better and so do kids. No more compaining that "I didn't get to paint this week!" because I pulled them during their paint rotation. Now everybody is happy (except the kid who misbehaved, he's sitting at his desk with his head down for one 15 minute rotation. Most teachers go 15 minutes so you could cut yours down a few minutes.
     
  8. TeachGrade1

    TeachGrade1 Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2007

    Thanks for all of the great advice! I worked out a system that I think will work for me. The kids will be grouped in mixed levels of ability and will change centers 3 times for 25 minutes each(when a timer goes off). I will pull the kids I need to see for my teacher led group every twenty minutes. I set up my centers where they have a variety of activities, so there shouldn't be anyone finished early. I'm excited about centers this year, and can't wait to see how my kids do when they have complete access. Thanks again for all of your help!
     

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