This is my centers board. In a first and second grade classroom I would have a wide range of abilities, like in any classroom, and I like to build opportunities in the day when students can work with heterogeneous groups or I mix the students by academic abilities, by gender, by age. And what I like to do is make mixed ability groups of first and second grade students, and this is the time of the day when students are working in cooperative groups on independent activities that have been introduced to the class as a whole group. So this week's centers are all related to whole group teaching that has happened in the past. We have a math focus center where students are looking at fractions, we have a writers workshop center which is ongoing throughout the year, we have a center that's about making inferences after reading literature called the big ideas center, and we have a poetry center that is also related to other things we've focused on as a whole group.
So, essentially anything that I'm going to have students do in a center is something that they're already familiar with, that we've worked through as a whole group, and worked through the gradual release of responsibility, because what I'm looking for in these centers is for students to apply what they've learned in an independent context. So it's a time for them to experiment and play with the concepts that we've learned, make it their own, do it their own way, and they have the support of their group that they're working with. What I'm usually doing during centers is not really monitoring closely whats happening in each of the centers but I'm pulling students for guided reading. So that's how I keep my students busy in really engaging, meaningful tasks so that I can call small groups or sometimes individuals for either reading conferences or guided reading.
The goal of Learning Centers: Applying Skills in an Independent Context (Virtual Tour) is to provide students with meaningful independent tasks in order to create time for small group instruction or one-on-one reading conferences.
- The activity at the learning center should be one with which students are already familiar.
- Literacy independence is promoted when students have a clear understanding of the activity expectations.