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.
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
Sight Word (Word Work) Center
Sight Word (Word Work) 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!!
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!