Ways To Work Centers

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by teach12, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. teach12

    teach12 Companion

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    Jul 23, 2009

    I have worked centers in my classroom in many different ways. I have had it more structured so each student went to a specific center at a specific time and eventually went to each center. I have also done it a little more free where the students can choose a center to work at as long as there is no more than 4 students at one center at a time.

    However, I am looking for a way that might kind of be a bit of both....not quite so structured, but not quite so free. It just gets to be too much to have 25 students switching centers at their leisure all the time!! So, please share how you run centers in your first grade classroom. Also, how often do you use centers?
     
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  3. dcalhoun

    dcalhoun Companion

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    Jul 23, 2009

    I had a chart last year with library envelopes in it and each child had a name on a crayon. They were in one center each day. I would switch it everyday.
     
  4. Ilovefirst

    Ilovefirst Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2009

    I had a pocket chart with pairs of students down the left. Next to the pairs I had 3 stations they went to (we had 3 rotations). The choice was at a station - they could choose how they responded to the listening station (from what I put out), they could choose which building words activity they did, etc. But they stayed at the station until it was time for everyone to switch (when my reading group was over).
    Check out Debbie Diller for more literacy station ideas.
     
  5. Ms.Frizzle

    Ms.Frizzle Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2009

    I use a wheel system with a small sign glued onto each group clothespin. If I have 6 stations then I make 6 heterogenous groups. I separate behavior problems and balance boys/girls. I purposely have children from diff. reading groups in the groups. This way when I am teaching a small group the students are completing their independent work and when they are done they go to the center that their "center group" is clipped on. Also, then not too many are at any center because they finish their work at diff. paces or are with me in a small group.
     
  6. love_reading

    love_reading Comrade

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    Jul 24, 2009

    That sounds just about exactly how mine is set up. I did make it to where buddy reading is one station that every kid goes to every day. That way I didn't have as many stations to plan for. My rotation lasts 15 minutes or so, although I keep my reading groups with me if we are not done. When I tried doing 20 minute rotations I found that it was a tad too long for some. For the ones that take longer than 15, like art, they stay there for two rotations so they are really getting 30 minutes.
     
  7. love_reading

    love_reading Comrade

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    Jul 24, 2009

    I also forgot to add that at each station there is a MUST DO and then when that assignment is finished if they have more time they can choose a MAY DO activity.
     
  8. luv2teach1st

    luv2teach1st Rookie

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    Jul 24, 2009

    I use the same type of setup. I also had a chart with a list of centers on one side and the students names on the other. My centers were computer, writing, listening, classroom library, Spelling, and small group with me. The students changed centers everyday, which was easier for me because I only had to plan for centers once a week instead of everyday.
     
  9. Ilovefirst

    Ilovefirst Comrade

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    Jul 24, 2009

    Oooooo I like the sounds of that. Could you give an example of a station with a have to and then may dos that were available?
     
  10. love_reading

    love_reading Comrade

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    Jul 24, 2009

    For example, at the math station the children MUST complete a worksheet (I know, I know, but this is just about the only time I do worksheets) that focuses on a skill we have learned. Then they MAY play a math game that corresponds with that skill. Poetry station, they MUST fix the poem in the pocket chart, then they MAY work another poem or sort the words in the poem. I don't make it too difficult. My MUST DO's always stay the same but I switch up the MAY DO's. This makes for easier planning.
     
  11. princessa48

    princessa48 Companion

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    Jul 25, 2009

    This is a great post! I'm really nervous about centers this year, as we do them during guided reading, and our guided reading time has been increased to an hour and a half...that is a lot of time for independent work for the kiddos when their not meeting with me. We're also losing the support of our reading specialists, so classroom teachers will need to do all their guided reading groups everyday on their own. No clue how we'll fit it all in :)
     
  12. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aug 1, 2009

    I'm looking forward to reading even more posts!
     
  13. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Aug 1, 2009

    Our school has a certain 10 stations every class must do (don't get me started on my feelings toward this...). For now, I'll call those stations the mandatory stations.
    Last year I met with 2 guided reading groups a day. The class would go to 2 stations during this time. So everyday, we went through two station rotations. My lowest reading group met with me 4 times/week and would miss out on stations 4 times/week. It wouldn't be a problem except in the Science station there was stuff that had to be completed and turned in and nobody ever wanted to miss computer and blah blah blah.
    So...this year I am changing a bit. I will still meet with 2 guided reading groups each day. During the first guided reading group, everyone must go to their designated mandatory station (the ones required by my school: poetry, listening, library, computer, science, word work..etc). Then, after that station we will have a 5 minute share time and then students will pick the next activity, either read to self, read to someone, listening, writing, word work. The kids that met with me in the first guided reading group will go do their mandatory station, the kids who did not meet with me will choose one of those 5 activities (from The Daily 5).
    I am sure this sounds very confusing. Sorry. But it works in my head!
     
  14. Ilovefirst

    Ilovefirst Comrade

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    Aug 1, 2009

    Actually, I get it. I spent a lot of time last year working it out so that my lowest group (who met with me every day) still got to do the fun stations that everyone else got to do. Glad you found a way around it!
     
  15. princessa48

    princessa48 Companion

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    Aug 4, 2009


    At least your school is realistic about only meeting with two groups per day. My school is demanding that we meet with every group...everyday! I think it generates from 2 out of our 3 reading specialists have never been classroom teachers. They just don't understand how unrealistic it is to be able to meet with 5-6 groups in an hour and a half. Our one reading specialist who has classroom teaching experience is speaking up for us, but since she is the newest on the block they are not heading to her advice:help:
     
  16. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Oh my! I was so comforted when I read Making the most of small groups by Deb Diller and she recommends two groups. I remember breaking my back and dreading guided reading when I tried to meet with 3. I am so sorry you have to meet with all of them!
     
  17. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I tend to work best with 3 groups - low, medium & high (although I don't call them that). I tried it with four and with five groups, and was a basket case!
     
  18. ilovetoread

    ilovetoread Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2009

    My school (reading specialists) also require meeting with all guided reading groups every single day. I feel that I eventually focus on the quantity (getting the groups done) rather than the quality of each group.
     
  19. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Aug 8, 2009

    I could totally see this happening! It starts becoming a chore on a check list. I can't imagine having to strategically plan for that many groups EVERY day.
     

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