Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to successfully start and implement Literacy Centers (or Stations)

Picture this:
You are in your classroom and students are all working quietly on meaningful tasks. They are working with one another and you are meeting with a small guided reading group. 

You don't have to stop to redirect students. You don't have to shut down something because students are bickering. You are not interrupted every two minutes. 

Why?
Because your students are using Literacy Work Centers or Stations. 

How did this magic happen? Well, it's not really magic at all! It's that you set your students up for success! You might be asking, but how?! How do I do this?! I've heard about it and maybe even tried it, but it didn't work!

I hope to share with you some insights on how you too can have this in your classroom.


First, set you and your students up for success. Organize your materials and teach your students where everything goes. Practice cleaning up. Show them exactly how you want it to look. 


Next, model everything that you want. Don't assume that students will know how to use your pocket charts or magnetic centers. Provide them with visual cues and helpers at your centers. 

In my classroom I use "I can" posters. 



When I am introducing a center I tell and show my students exactly what I expect. We practice how we will use our materials. We practice how we will talk to our friends. We even work through problems that might arise. This ensures that students will know just what to do! 

I also have my students model INCORRECT behaviors. I choose an "active" ;) student and I let them do something wrong.  Then, I stop them and have them model how to correctly use the center. Students then help me identify the incorrect behaviors and then the correct behaviors. This helps everyone see what is not expected and it also shows the "active student" that he or she can be successful at center time. 



I also use student task cards to help remind students what is expected.


Each center that I have has multiple tasks associated with it. 


Students can refer to these during their center or station time. It also helps answer the question, "I'm done, now what do I do?" I keep multiple task cards at each center so students have a choice with what they can do. 


Each center also has a "must do" task. These tasks have to be completed first and then students get to choose.

Another way to set your students up for success is by displaying posters of expected behaviors. Here are some that I use.



So what centers do I use and why? 

To start the year I set up a few centers. These are:  

Pocket Chart Center
Handwriting Center
Reading Center
Sight Word (Word Work) Center
Computer Center
Writing Center
Game Center
Magnetic Center

I use these centers because they are easy to modify and differentiate. Students enjoy these centers. They are engaging and meaningful. 

These centers allow students to practice what you have been teaching and it provides them with independent practice. 


In the above picture you can see students working at each type of center.
As the year progresses you don't have to recreate the wheel and come up with new centers, all you have to do is change the activities. In the pocket chart center you could start your year with having students match capital and lowercase letters; however, as the year progresses you can have students practice blends, diphthongs, contractions, fact and opinion sorts, types of sentences, parts of speech, etc. The possibilities are endless and students already know how to use the centers!

I have created a new pack to help you start your year with centers. In includes all of these posters, activity cards, and centers to help you be successful in your classroom.  The pack includes MULTIPLE activities for each center and it also goes even more into depth as to how I run my centers and the management of my center time. 








Centers or Stations have allowed me to have multiple guided reading groups, small groups and 1-1 time with my students. It also is a time that students look forward to. 

This packet is on sale here! It normally is $15.00 but it is only $12.00 for a limited time!! 

 ...and I will give ONE packet away to someone who comments on this blog post! Make sure you leave your email so I can send you this HUGE packet! The giveaway ends Friday, June 21 at 7:00pm! (comment quickly before time runs out!!) 
Congratulations Karen Rowland!! You will be receiving this packet for free!! :) Thank you everyone for your super sweet comments. I loved reading all of them.

If you want to read more on this topic, may I suggest the book  “Literacy Work Stations"  by Debbie Diller! 

135 comments:

  1. WOW! This is a terrific compilation!! What a great resource this would be!! Thanks for the chance! pcolagal1963@gmail.com

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    1. Oh please, Oh please! This is so AWESOME! I love everything in this pack. You are so creative. Wish I were.
      Annemarie annemarienemeth@aol.com

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  2. MEMEMEMEME!!! I LOVE centers!!! Thanks for doing ALL of the HARD work! wendy 1stgradefireworks@gmail.com 1stgradefireworks

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  3. Wow, this looks fantastic. I wasn't very successful last year when I implemented centers. Fingers crossed you choose me!! Next year I will be teaching 1st grade for the second year, I hope I have learned from my many mistakes this year. Terri flowergirl0584@comcast.net

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  4. As a brand new first grade teacher, this would be fantastic to use in my new classroom!! I am so glad that I found your blog. Thank you!

    Starla

    Starla47@aol.com

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  5. One question - Do your students choose which center they go to? Do they rotate to each center every day? I am just trying to visualize how I will implement this. Thank you!

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    1. Starla- I use a center rotation where I choose where students go. I explain it in the packet and provide cards for a pocket chart or a bulletin board. If you go to my TpT store and click on the preview of the packet you can see it a little closer!

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  6. I am moving to 1st grade (from 3rd) and I have been worried about how to manage my centers because I'm used to the older kids. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and resources. -Carie
    cariejerry@gmail.com

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  7. I am moving to 1st grade (from 3rd) and I have been worried about how to manage my centers because I'm used to the older kids. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and resources. -Carie
    cariejerry@gmail.com

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  8. Those I Can statements look like they came out of a catalog! Love them!

    Jenn
    ChartsNChitChat.com

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  9. I love your description of showing and telling! At the beginning of the year I'm always anxious to get going and forget the importance of doing things right! Sets the tone for the rest of the year!

    Kari Routledge
    Aftershockrut@comcast.net

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  10. This looks awesome! I would love a copy! :)

    breannesimons@gmail.com

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  11. This is brilliant! I love modeling expectations and those "I Can" posters. :D

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  12. These look great. I usually have only one student at a center at a time to keep the noise level down. I love Debbie Dollars books. My new email is bartramsbuccaneers@yahoo.com.

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  13. VERY nice set! justhave2teach@gmail.com

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  14. Wow this is incredible. I would loveeeeee this!!!!!

    Jennifer

    Jennlz53@aol.com

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  15. This looks awesome! I did not successfully use centers in my classroom last year and looking to revamp and make things work better this year. I would love this set to help me achieve that goal.

    Keila
    teacherkeila1@sbcglobal.net

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  16. I love this and have my fingers and toes crossed!
    Mandmyoung@chartermi.net

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  17. this looks great, I hate to always have to redirect, it takes time away from my group.
    Peggy
    meunier27@yahoo.com

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  18. This looks wonderful! Centers are great for kids!
    Kelly :)
    kelly_burnard@hotmail.com

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  19. I LOVE this packet! I especially love the "I Can" charts. Anything that makes them more independent and able to handle a task without interrupting the teacher is wonderful!
    Lisa
    rlelr@verizon.net

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  20. WOW! This is a great packet. You've included everything to make centers successful! Thanks so much.
    smmelton@ccpsd.k12.va.us

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  21. what an awesome pack of ideas. this will be my first year teaching first grade after forever teaching Kindergarten. I'm frantically searching for ideas and tips:) Thanks. pewilliams0214@gmail.com

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  22. I love your 'I Can' posters and the proper behavior posters...very important! I need to do a better job with centers...hopefully I win this so I can start off on the right foot!

    tokyoshoes at hotmail dot com

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  23. Wow! I love how you really organized everything. This is totally me! I've stayed away from centers because I was never quite sure how to get it all together. Thanks! jmcpang78@gmail.com

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  24. Love your work and would love to win this pack! It looks so useful and something I can use day 1 of next school year! rmitchell@asheboro.k12.nc.us

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  25. This looks fabulous! This would be an awesome pack to get the year started! konajazz@shaw.ca

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  26. This would be wonderful as literacy is not my strength and I am going back to teaching all subject after being a support teacher and then teaching math, science, social studies.
    Lisagayle804@gmail.com

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  27. I LOVE those I can statements, it is great to have a visual! Thanks for the fun chance to win this incredible resource!

    Angie
    ahenry4443ah@gmail.com

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  28. Love this packet. The I Can statements are great. Would love to win this.

    G8tr410@yahoo.com

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  29. VERY impressive!!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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  30. This is amazing! Everything I need! I would love to win it!
    jillaysenne@gmail.com

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  31. I love everything this pack has I also love how organized this will keep everyone!
    Ammiebh@att.net

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  32. Your packet looks amazing. I am trying to find a way to make centers run smoothly and your packet is just what I'm looking for.
    ~Tonya
    the3shores@msn.com

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  33. I would love to use these for my existing literacy centers! What a great resource! Kristi keekeelee13@yahoo.com

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  34. I am just starting to implement these centers in my room this upcoming school year. It would be such a blessing to be able to win it! Thanks for making it and the graphics are so cute! bsdobner@earthlink.net

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  35. Unreal - this will be my first year using centers because I will have a self contained classroom. This would help beyond belief. It would give me a great start and a feeling of success. Thanks for all of your hard work!!!!

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  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  37. This looks fantastic! I am a second year teacher teaching first grade. this would be an awesome resource to have in my classroom. aunlea@yahoo.com

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  38. Thanks for the great inspiration! Love the organization!
    Ellen556@aol.com

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  39. I am always looking for new and exciting ideas for centers! Thanks for sharing! cynthia.arki@gmail.com

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  40. This looks amazing! This could help me for the upcoming school year.
    Thank you for the chance to win!
    Marcy
    marcy_sundling@hotmail.com

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  41. I do something very similar and would love this to go with it! s1nykamp@yahoo.com

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  42. This is an awesome way to set up centers, one of the best I have ever seen! Thank you for sharing!
    Baylee
    bkovacsics@aol.com

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  43. This looks like an awesome packet! I love the "I can" charts and the examples that you provide so that the students know what is expected of them. I would love to win this pack!
    Vicki
    sheltonvicki@yahoo.com

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  44. What a great packet! You have obviously put a ton of time into it! I am still learning the best stations for my students and would love the opportunity to get this bundle~thanks for the chance and all of your hard work!

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  45. I am always looking for different activities for my literacy centers! Thanks for sharing your ideas with us! My students would benefit from the activities in this packet! I would love love love to win this amazing packet!!!

    jables@calico.k12.ar.us

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  46. Your centers look amazing! I teach first grade and would love, LOVE, LOVE this packet.

    Courtney
    clb0210@yahoo.com

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  47. Oh, this makes me want to start school tomorrow! No, really!! I love your work:) lcarter84@hotmail.com

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  48. Phenomenal packet!! I love your organization as well as the multiple activities for each station. This will make life so much easier for me and more independent for my students! chappellteach@gmail.com

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  49. I love the "I can" statements for the centers! I like how you set up your centers.

    Jessica
    jessc63@hotmail.com

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  50. Oh my! This is a wonderful packet!

    cheriemae@gmail.com

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  51. Holy moly! I love love love these! This would be a perfect addition to my daily rounds with my students.
    Michelle
    Mjaquillard@oregoncs.org

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  52. This is a wonderful packet! I am in desperate need of something like this to help me teach my students how to do centers!
    mcreynolds.sarah@gmail.com

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  53. What a great giveaway! Thank you very much!

    mkkalina@outlook.com

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  54. This is a wonderful literacy center packet. Congratulations on a job well done. I would love to win it for my first grade class.

    Barbara
    bcbarnes@harding.edu

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  55. This is what I've been looking for!! I am a beginning teacher and my centers were a challenge for me this year. I had issues with "I'm done, now what?!" and issues with independence. This looks like it could be my answer!!
    Sam

    culvers08@gmail.com

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  56. I enjoyed your simplified explanation of your literacy centers. Sometimes I have to remind myself to keep things simple in the classroom. I look forward to hearing what other types of lit center activities you implement throughout the school year. Thanks for sharing!

    Megan
    strunk_megan@yahoo.com

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  57. I love this. I do centers in my classroom and I'm always trying to find new ways to manage my centers. I would love to have this in my classroom. Thank you for doing all this work. Clincoln90@gmail.com

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  58. I love this. I do centers in my classroom and I'm always trying to find new ways to manage my centers. I would love to have this in my classroom. Thank you for doing all this work. Clincoln90@gmail.com

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  59. How awesome! I'm a first year teacher and this information is so useful! I look forward to putting you advice into use!

    Michelle
    Miss Hey Miss

    contactmissheymiss@gmail.com

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  60. Wow what a great packet! I love the task cards. It would be awesome to win. adchism@spsmail.org

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  61. I would love to have this great resource!

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  62. this looks really good! i have read the literacy work station book and use a lot out of it. i like what you have done..love the task cards and the I can charts! i wold love to win this for my first grade class!
    thanks! susie
    hatfieldsu@lee.k12.ga.us

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  63. This is awesome! I would love to win! :) lmillercccs@gmail.com

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  64. I'm a big fan of having the "Active" kids show what not to do and then what to do...works like a charm :)
    Juliet
    jresteven@gmail.com

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  65. Thanks so much for the helpful ideas! I am heading into my third year of teaching and am always looking for center organization helps :). ktport330@gmail.com

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  66. What an amazing resource!! I love all the organizational ideas!
    idreamof1@aol.com


    Stacy
    Live Love Laugh and Teach!

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  67. I would love to win this!! It would really help me get my centers going right this year!

    Ashley
    arclark2012@gmail.com

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  68. I love it! I am a new teacher and I struggle with my centers. I think this would really help!! kimberlypassio@yahoo.com

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  69. Love them. I'm still trying to figure out how to make Literacy Stations work. Your product looks awesome.

    imgoingfirst@gmail.com

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  70. I would love to win this packet! I always have a hard time getting the students to stop interrupting while I am doing groups. Hope I win so I can see how you deal with this.
    Ruthanne rarace81@gmail.com

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  71. Wow! I love the I can posters for the stations. I think those would be helpful to little ones. I love all the pictures and how you share how you set it up.
    Laura
    lnabors@kingwoodchristianschool.com

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  72. I would love love to win this packet. I do centers in my classroom, but still am looking for a way that really works for my students and me. This looks like it would be exactly what I need :)

    Lori
    wrlean@aol.com

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  73. I would love to win this packet so that I organize my cemters better so that my students benefit from them.
    Shyra
    shyrayoung@yahoo.com

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  74. Your center pack looks great!! Some years my centers work well and some years they don't work at all. It looks like you have a great plan!!

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  75. Wow, what a great pack. I would love to start this with my kiddos next year. Last year was my first year in 1st grade and this year I want to start the year off with a bang. This pack would put in the right direction! Great share!
    :) Tara
    tarayoung96@yahoo.com

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  76. This would be a big help. It'll be my first year in first grade!
    Anitadmarquez@gmail.com

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  77. This is a great pack! I would love to use it in my classrroom!
    fisherks1@gmail.com

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  78. Wow! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this pack! Pick me! -)

    Ms. Smith
    ksmith3535@gmail.com

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  79. I really love the task cards you place in each center. I have done centers (successfully) now for about 10 years. I always love to try new things and would love to have your task cards. Thanks for the opportunity to win!
    Karen Rowland
    Adventures With Firsties

    karenrowland112677@yahoo.com

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  80. I would love to win this! Looks amazing! Thank you for all you do!
    Diana Garcia
    ndjsgarcia@sbcglobal.net

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  81. This looks like a great product!
    mgnreynolds@yahoo.com

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  82. These look wonderful!!!

    renetowens@sbcglobal.net

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  83. This looks amazing! I think this would be so helpful in making sure my literacy centers were set up/organized well. I've been a little haphazard the last couple years and really need to sit down and plan them out better. Thank you for putting this packet together!

    andrea.m.lee84@gmail.com

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  84. I love this post! I just finished reading this book last week. It is such a great resource to have on hand. This pack looks like it includes everything you will need to implement literacy stations.

    Erin
    andeair@hotmail.com

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  85. Love the posters!
    ashlynn310@gmail.com

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  86. I love Debbie Diller's Literacy Work Stations. I have read it multiple times. Your pack sure will make implementing stations easier!
    Jennifer
    loularkin@comcast.net

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  87. Great post! Your packet looks awesome!

    davis.ashleyb@gmail.com

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  88. These are wonderful tips for a future teacher that is feeling overwhelmed about everything!!

    Angie
    angie.young2@gmail.com

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  89. Very informative post! Would love to win your packet!

    rachelmd93@gmail.com

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  90. Setting up better small group sessions is my focus for the summer. This will be a huge support. Thanks!

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  91. These look amazing! I did a pretty good job this year with centers but I still need practice. These would be awesome! Crossing my fingers. :) kfetissoff99@gmail.com

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  92. These would be great for my K/1 class next year! I hope I win!
    julia.cestra@gmail.com

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  93. I would love to use these in my 1st grade classroom!
    Lizpodolski@gmail.com

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  94. Love! Please enter me! msmith9456@gmail.com

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  95. I love this pack. I had the worst time this past year organizing my literacy centers. It was also my first year of teaching. I made it through, but next year I really need to change some things and Literacy/math centers are one of the top things. I bought the book literacy work stations recently. Thank you for creating such great things for us.
    tgcrzy4u32@gmail.com

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  96. These look like some great centers!Some are close to what I use, but most are more creative. Thanks!

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  97. This would be perfect for my new position in 1st grade!!!!
    Twinsteachingandtacos@gmail.com

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  98. Your follow your own best practice and modeled the instruction with words and pictures. I would love to win this amazing packet to use in my 2nd grade inclusion classroom.

    Jeanne
    J28ber@gmail.com

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  99. I would love to win this packet. Your work is beautiful.
    Gina
    gmf88@bellsouth.net

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  100. I love the oraganization on this unit! The task cards are perfect to keep the kids engaged. It makes the student expectations very clear and keeps them accountable for their learning. I also love the I Can posters! Thanks for sharing! Hope I'm a winner!

    Melinda
    mkb1553@gmail.com

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  101. I love Debbie Diller! This pack includes it all. Love the I can posters.
    melanievictoria@yahoo.com

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  102. Okay, I am 100th away from being the first to comment, but am finally catching up on some blogging today:) I used to be lucky with your giveaways, so here's hoping! I used Daily 5 last year, and LOVED it, so I'm gonna stick with that system this year, but I think these literacy centers can easily transfer to Daily 5 practices. What a cool packet!
    geteacher@hotmail.com

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  103. I'm a first yeat teacher (starting in August). This post is great at explaining centers (that is something you don't learn in college). I will be teaching special education and the visual instructions would work great.

    laura.day74@yahoo.com

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  104. I am about to download the packet, but I have a question. What do you do if your classroom isn't large enough to have the kids spread out and work at centers? My room fits the 20 student desks plus my guided reading table. I typically have to have my students working at their own seats. Any suggestions? rezelhayley@yahoo.com

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  105. This packet is incredible! I always have trouble with students "forgetting" what they should be doing in a center. This packet will definitely be a great help! Thank you so much for the chance to win!!!

    cvanhorn76@gmail.com

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  106. Nice work, Kristen! I've taught many years and am always looking for fresh ideas. This hit the mark! Thanks
    Lori
    lhunt007@aol.com

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  107. WOW!! This looks fantastic!!

    Jennifer
    jenniferlalsip(at)yahoo(dot)com
    The First Grade Dream

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  108. Wowza! Love all the great center ideas! I would love this packet. Josie Flores masterflores@juon.com

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  109. Josie Flores again: my email is masterflores@juno.com

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  110. Great Ideas and I love the I can posters. I would love this packet. beki_moore@earthlink.net

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  111. Kristen, love, love , love this!!! Thank you for making this kit!
    Jodi.Camp-Chandler@leanderisd.org

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  112. Kristen, love, love , love this!!! Thank you for making this kit!
    Jodi.Camp-Chandler@leanderisd.org

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  113. Love your organization. Love your clear description of the process. Love this unit. Although I teach 2nd grade, I did not have success with centers last year. Thanks to you, I am going to try again!
    piccolal@bellsouth.net

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  114. Thank you for the detailed glimpse into your centers! I have some awesome new ideas now! jkroske@gmail.com

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  115. Thank you for sharing this. I have been in 1st grade for 3 years and I just CANT figure out how to make centers work. I have tried many things and they always fail. I don't know where I am going wrong. Hopefully if I win this packet (or beg for funds to buy it) I can finally do guided reading with my students. I know they have been deprived.

    Sabrina
    shendrix1979@gmail.com

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  116. OMG! what a post! Makes me wish school started tomorrow! Very excited for a 1/2 combo class. Thanks for posting! These are inspiring!
    ms.deborah.skinner@gmail.com

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  117. What a great post! The "I Can" posters are great.
    Colleen :-)
    colleendembs@yahoo.com
    Fun and Fearless in First

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  118. These are great!! Just what I need for my room!! Thanks for sharing these. I hope I'm chosen..barbaracwhite89@gmail.com

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  119. This packet looks great! Every year I try to be more organized with my stations - I love the "I CAN" posters and signs. I also use my active students to model how to/not to do things in the classroom. I would love to add this packet to my resources. Thanks for the chance. veronicam81000@yahoo.com

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  120. I want to use centers more this year. I have read Debbie Diller's book before but I need to review. I love your posters. This would be great to win!

    Cindy
    CL14mentor@oh.rr.com

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  121. I wouGd love your pack. I enjoyed my start at literacy centers this year-but want to do much more. Gretchen gmartindale@ejesd.net

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  122. Very impressive - I'd love to win it - I teach 1st grade in California and my kiddos would certainly love this -

    Jenni
    taylors4md@yahoo.com

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  123. You have inspired me to do more lit centers!!! rfeld@tbala.org

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  124. Looks like a wonderful packet. I'm very impressed.
    missnelsonattpt@yahoo.com

    PICK ME ! Pick me ....

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  125. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  126. WOnderful idea to stay focused on the positive with the "I Can" instructions. Letting students know right from the start what you expect from them is very important. Oh and pick me! lol
    tanskydoll20@yahoo.com

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  127. This looks great! I am going to 1st grade for the 1st time and this packet would be really helpful! tslumpkin@juno.com

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  128. What a wonderful resource! Expectations are clear, activities are fun and engaging, students and teacher are happy! I'd <3 love <3 this! amygonz@gmail.com

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  129. I love the resource! I purchased the book last summer with the intention of doing a better job with my centers/guided reading. Never got very far but not I am rejuvenated to try setting this up from the beginning. Thanks for sharing and I just put the packet in my shopping cart. I told myself I wasn't going to go crazy buying this summer but this looks like a must have! Thanks

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  130. I am so excited for you. I AM YOUR 1,000 follower! I am so glad to have found you! YAHHH YOU - Congrats :)!!!!!

    Kathleen
    K-3 Kathleen

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  131. Great Blog!! Great post. I love Deb Diller's resources.

    Mrs Balius

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  132. I attempted to use literacy centers in my classroom last year. I think they will run so much smoother with this pack. I found you on Pinterest...so glad I did! I just started my blog a week ago. Hoping to have a following like yours one day. Teaching with Giggles

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  133. I would like to make a purchase! commitment511@gmail.com

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