Students choose own centers

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by laf-a-lot, May 19, 2009.

  1. laf-a-lot

    laf-a-lot Rookie

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    May 19, 2009

    I am already thinking about next year :) I want to change around the way I do my D5 centers. I would like to have students coose the centers they work on each day. But I just can't figure out a the logistics. Does anyone do this and have any ideas for me?:confused:
     
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  3. cMcD

    cMcD Groupie

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    May 21, 2009

    I couldn't do "choice stations" with my kids this year because they would have sat and "thought" about their choice for half of the time. One of my friends in 1st grade does this with her students. I think she puts out 3 choices at the station and the students just choose from those 3. I think 3 is a good number... too many choices would lead to chaos. Also, I would wait until the middle of the year to throw in choices. Make sure they know the routine and what is expected before they choose.

    If you mean choosing what they want to do each day as in where they go that may be a little hectic. But if you really want to do it you could give each kid a checklist and they can check off the station they completed.
     
  4. Newto3rd

    Newto3rd Companion

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    May 29, 2009

    I observed a teacher a few years ago who let her students choose. She had several centers set out for the week (or learning period - maybe 2 weeks) and had 2 parralel velcro strips beside every center. On the first strip each students name was attached. After they visited that center, they moved their name to the other strip. They were only allowed to visit each center once during that cycle. It was a great visual and no arguing could take place because their name was moved when they visited the center. So there were no computer hogs or left out LeapPads.
     
  5. MissNewTeach161

    MissNewTeach161 Rookie

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    May 30, 2009

    Yeah I need help I heard so many people talking about having them choose their centers but I haven't figured it out ! It looks good wtb the checklist because they are able to monitor themselves and I love the factthat the students get to only be at one center during a cycle. Does anyone do where they choose their centers ?
     
  6. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    May 30, 2009

    laf-a-lot,
    I sort of spelled out how I do self-selected centers in a previous thread (http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=85636) so I won't repeat it, but I want to add this.

    The checklist and velcro all sound like good ideas, but from experience I can tell you, if you only have 3 choices and they can't repeat, you will have a time when 8 children have done everything except center 3, and center 3 only has room for 4 children. It only takes one pokey child or one speed demon to totally throw things out of kilter. What do the other 4 children do? Twiddle their thumbs? Sit there and wait for a turn? (Hint: Have something else ready.)

    I used to stress over "has everyone done every center?" but now I just don't worry about it. Most children like variety, and given time, will try all the centers. If they don't, you discretely re-direct them. It is all about "with-it-ness." You can do a guided reading group, redirect a chatting child, notice somone is hogging the magnets center and tell them their turn is over, without missing a beat -- especially if you have spent the first 2 weeks of school modeling, modeling, modeling, the correct way to use the centers.

    That being said, if you wish to use a checklist type system, my advice is to always have several "backup" centers (such as a silent or buddy reading activity, a puzzle, something) that you can pull out of the cabinet (or leave out of the cabinet) for when those backups do occur. That way you aren't left trying to figure out what to do if the system has a glitch in it. It only takes one child to make the best planned system fall apart.
     
  7. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    May 30, 2009

    I start the year with the centers directed and end the year with the kids being able choose.
     

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