Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Center Rotation System

Holy.  Tired.  Batman.  Ouch.  Are you as exhausted as I am?!  My body is not liking this working thing.  It is begging for another 2.5 week break and daily naps.  I keep telling the begging body that it ain't getting a break but ya know how pushy those tired bodies can be...

Today I want to share something that I mentioned in a poster earlier in the week!  I am going to show you how I manage my literacy centers.  It's a simple system that I have been using since my first year teaching kindergarten.  It works very well.  It's visual.  It's low maintenance.  What more could you ask for!?!


I use a center wheel for my literacy centers.  It's simple to create the wheel.  The white background is a circle cut from poster board  The smaller circle is a piece of poster board that is divided into four sections.  The four colors coordinate with the colors of my groups.  Around the circle I have listed my  centers.  My centers/stations are:
Read to Self (library)
Listen to Reading
Pocket chart
Teacher (guided reading)
Literacy tubs (more on that in a minute)
Write the room
Computer
Read To Someone (library/puppets)



Below the center wheel are my groups.  I use post it notes (um, hello, I have a post it note fetish!) that are the same color as the wheel.  Students can very easily see what color their group is and then easily check to see what centers they can work on that day. 

The wheel is desgined so that each group has two centers to choose from.  This keeps them working the entire duration of centers and spreads them out so the centers are not overcrowded.  Within those centers are several choices for students to work with.  For example:  in the listening center, there are 4 individual CD players for students to choose from.  Again, the choice keeps students engaged and limits some behavior issues.


One of my centers that is the most versatile is our "tub."  It's called a tub because that's what it is.  I have four plastic tubs from Target.  They are labeled with post it notes to coordinate with the groups.  These tubs are differentiated and the activities in each tub are selected specifically for the skills that each particular group needs to work on.  The tubs contain many activities (usually 5-8) different activiies.  These activities are focused on word work, writing and sounds.  This is where my children spend a majority of their time (they LOVE this center) and where they do a bulk of their word work.


What I love about these tubs is that they are so easy to maintain and introduce.  I can easily switch activities by moving them from one tub to the next or removing and adding new activities.  These are also great for when you have a sub.  When I write sub plans, I write in that students can only to their tubs during center time.  Some of the activities in my tubs are:
sound stamping, beginning sound trains, beginning sound clip, beginning sound puzzles, sight word roll and graph, sight word read, make and write, word building, rhyming word puzzles, compound word puzzles, silly sentence writing, sound sorts, and many more!  And yes, these activities are common core aligned!  Of course!

Of course my groups are fluid and change frequently based on data and the needs of my monsters.  Yes, data.  If they make us take all the data we might as well use it.  But some of my decisions are based on what I see my students need.  Sometimes I will even have students choose an activity in a tub that is not their own so they can focus on a skill that might be a weakness for them.  This system makes those changes simple.  I just print off new post it notes with names on the new color and move the labels.  I love this system because it works so well in my class.   It's teacher and student friendly and allows for lots of choice but still ensures students get the skills THEY need!



Are you getting ready for the 100th day?  Check out my newest creation!  Make you 100th day a FIESTA!  





8 comments:

  1. Looks like so much fun!!! How long is center time in your classroom????

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  2. I always look forward to your posts! Thank you for sharing your fabulous ideas!

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  3. I have never used a center wheel in my classroom. I have seen them in a lot of rooms and they always seem complicated to me. Yours is suuuuper easy to understand, especially for the kids! I love how you set it up. I may be rethinking my center rotations next year! And love the new Fiesta pack, what a cutey cute idea!

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  4. Love your ideas! Especially the differentiated tubs!

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  5. Oh Em Gee Greg... I made myself a center wheel about 4 years ago! I love it because I can teach a responsible kid to turn the wheel and not have to get up from my table.

    I am not using it this year. I was off for the first good portion of the year now I am trying something new... Centers Journals. I will let you know how it goes! =)

    Excited for your 100 Day Unit!

    Jen from Simply Kinder

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  6. Greg, I love the system even though mine is different and I love mine I can so appreciate yours. :) Looks like everything runs smoothly. I love printing on post it's. :D
    Melissa

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  7. Wow this system is so great. I've been struggling with a pocket chart and it always always gets messed up. I love your tub ideas too. Awesome and thanks for sharing. I've been off for 8 yrs on mommy leave and coming back to K has been really hard. We have no curriculum to support common core and since I was a last minute add on I've had to scramble for everything.

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  8. Do you have instructions about how to make the rotation wheel? Also, does your rotation differ with math centers? What do you do for math if it differs? Thanks!

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