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Monday, July 10, 2017

All About Centers!

  Today I am talking all about Centers! Do you use Centers in your classroom? I have done Centers in many different ways over the years. But there was a brief time when I did not use Centers at all. (What was I thinking?!) Centers are awesome and totally help students stay engaged.

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    Most recently I have been using a Weekly Passport System. This is great because the students work at their own pace and I am also able to differentiate the work for all of my students’ levels.

    Each week the students had different activities that they completed on their Passport. I would differentiate the activities so the students’ needs were being met. All of the students did similar activities at their own level. The students could also pick and choose the order they wanted to do the different activities, as long as the work was done by the end of the week.

    For Math, I did things a little differently at the start of the year. The students completed the various activities for each day of the week. This worked out well at the start of the year because the students were not always able to keep themselves organized to get all the work done. As you can see in the picture below, I set up the Math Passport by Day instead of by Activity on the ELA passport.


    As the year went on and the students got better with their organization, I gave the students more choice with how they accomplished things. They eventually got the hang of getting their work done, so I was able to give them more choice.


    One thing that I really liked about the Passports I used was the self reflection component. The students had to tell me how they thought they did for the week. They also had to tell me if they were able to finish everything and if they stayed on task during work time.
The students really enjoyed working on the Passports and getting to choose what they wanted to work on and when they wanted to work on it.

   It was also really great knowing what my students were working on each day and making sure they were getting through the Passport. I’d monitor their progress using a pocket chart and clothespins. I’d put all the different Centers that we were working on each week in the pocket chart, and then I had the students put a clothespin with their number next to their activity. This way not everyone was working on the same thing at one time and I was able to see what the students were working on. It also let me know if a student was spending too much time on one activity. (Which happened when they really liked one particular activity and did not like something else.)

    I used pocket charts like these. The ones you can find at the beginning of the year in the Dollar Spot at Target work great!

   What do you do for Centers? Share your ideas with me!

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