Sunday, November 8, 2015

Not-So-Crazy Literacy and Math Center Rotations

Hello Teacher Friends! I bet you are looking at my center rotation board and thinking WHAT IN THE WORLD!???? The first time I saw it, I thought the same thing. Before you think that there is no way, please bear with me.


I began teaching kindergarten four years ago at a pretty small school. At the time, there were only two teachers in kindergarten, and my teaching partner used a system like this. We have tweaked our board over the years as we have grown, but it has mostly stayed the same.

REASONS I LOVE IT
  • We put our centers out on Friday afternoon before we leave and they are set up for the entire next week. This eliminates all of the running around each day for your new material. Additionally, if you happen to be out sick, it is ready to go for your sub and the kids know the routine!
  • Centers are spread across the room. With only 2-3 students max at each center, you will experience a (mostly) quiet literacy and math block. (By the way, we use this for math and literacy. I am only going to show our literacy center activities in this post.)
  • Our first grade team does the Daily 5 and they rave about how the kindergarteners come to first grade knowing how to rotate. I loved the idea of doing the Daily 5, but I also wanted a more routine way for our kindergarteners to participate in certain activities every week (i.e. computer time, writing center, etc.).
  • I have a rotation playlist on my iPod that we play during centers. Specific songs tell students when to rotate. It is so nice to not have to do the talking sometimes! P.S. I tried to make a Spotify playlist to share my center rotation playlists with you, but they don't have an option not to shuffle the songs, and they CANNOT be shuffled. I will post again soon with snapshots of the playlists and where you can purchase the music.


HOW IT WORKS
  • The letters at the top of the chart stand for the days of the week. I move a magnetic eraser over the day to help students easily locate what centers they are going to. I do run through their center numbers quickly before we go to center rotations.
  • The star on the cards stands for the teacher table. Because we are the stars, right?
  • There are 10 centers around the room. These ten centers are marked with large numbers and glued in order around the room. Students will complete all ten centers by the end of the week. Several of the centers are routine, so you are not constantly introducing new centers. You can read more about what we do at each center below.
  • Our class sizes have grown over the past two years, and I can no longer meet with each reading group every day. My two highest reading groups meet with me every other day. On their off days, they go to a Smart Shop (SS) instead of seeing me. Smart Shops are additional activities that students can choose from throughout the week if they are finished with their work. With these groups, I will sometimes gives them something specific to work on. Right now they are working on first grade blends independently. I use Babbling Abby's Blend Books for my advanced kindergarten readers
  • I do not meet with a small group on Friday. Instead, I pull students over for assessments. We do a fun Rainbow Sight Word program that the kids love, and I test that on Friday. Once students have completed the two centers for that day, they have the remaining twenty minutes to complete any unfinished work for the week and turn it in.

BUT WHY DID YOU DO THAT?
  • You'll notice that my group with the star as their second center only has two rows of students. This is on purpose. This should be your group that meets with you every day and may need a smaller setting and extra support.
  • If you look at the bottom two rows you will notice that there are two groups of students who go to the same center as another group at the same time on Friday. This couldn't be avoided with having four groups. I made sure that these center numbers (Center 6 and Center 3) were activities that could be worked on at their seat and were not group activities.

BUT WHAT IF THAT DOESN'T WORK FOR ME?

I know that every classroom looks different. If you have four groups, you may want your students to read independently on days they are not meeting with you instead of doing a Smart Shop. You may only have three reading groups and not four, so you don't need Smart Shops at all! Or you may want to meet on Fridays. Don't you worry. I have included several different options for your board, so you can personalize it. My board actually looks different than my teaching partner's board.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO IMPLEMENT?

Our kindergarten team does complete whole group in reading until Labor Day. After Labor Day we do 1-2 weeks of three center rotations as a whole class. During this time they do not meet with the teacher, but we monitor and help during center rotations. Mid-September they do three rotations and meet with the teacher, but they are still not using the big board. We typically move to the large board around the third week in September.

WHAT DO YOU DO AT YOUR CENTERS?

I will show you pictures of all ten of my centers and example activities that we do at each one.

CENTER 1


I have a little table at center 1, so I like for this activity to be a partner activity or something that needs more space. I am gearing up for Thanksgiving, so students are making a Thanksgiving dinner menu using word cards. I love Having Fun in Primary's Thanksgiving Literacy and Math MEGA Unit.

CENTER 2


I have a pocket chart hanging from the wall under my Smartboard, so I do a lot of pocket chart activities at center 2. Next week, my students will sequence Thanksgiving sentences. Advanced students will record their sentences as well. I laminate file folders and hot glue them to the wall next to some of my numbers when I need to place papers in there for them.

CENTER 3


This student news center is the same ALL YEAR! Woot! Students write about what is going on in their lives. They can choose from several different types of news. We keep their news and put them in a folder and send them home at the end of the year. This a great way to see progress in students' writing throughout the year. It also happens to be one of their favorite center activities! I also choose three students' work to display on our What's the Scoop Board (which I found somewhere out in Pinterest Land).


CENTER 4


Another center that stays the same all year is the listening center. Students listen to a book on tape and then respond to the reading. What's great about this, is that you can change the response over the year to make it harder, but the overall routine stays the same for your students.

CENTER 5


Center 5 is my writing center. Occasionally, I will have students free write, but I absolutely LOVE the emergent readers that are included in Having Fun in Primary's Mega Bundles. Many of them require the student to read each page and then cut and paste the correct illustration for the page. Love this to monitor students' comprehension of a text. The students also love coloring their books afterwards with markers!

CENTER 6


Center 6 is always our dictionary. Students complete the focus letter for the week in their dictionary and turn it in for me to check. There are a few weeks when we are reviewing that I might have a different activity out for them, but it mostly stays the same. We use My First Dictionary which I created last year. A bonus is that it is differentiated. Below the dictionary you can see my Smart Shops and Math Tubs. I will save information on those for another day.

CENTER 7


Center 7 is computers.....always a kindergarten favorite! I love doing ABC Bingo or Sight Word Bingo on www.abcya.com.

CENTER 8


Center 8 is Write the Room. Write the Room is fantastic for getting your students up and moving around. I choose thematic write the rooms to match what we are learning about in science and social studies.

CENTER 9


I change up center 9 throughout the year. At the beginning of the year, I tend to put out a beginning sound sort and have students take it back to their seat. As the year progresses, students spend time in the reading center where they complete a task based off of the book that they choose to read.

CENTER 10


I change up Center 10 each week. Sometimes I put out letter roll dice games. Other times I do silly vs. nonsense word sorts. At this point of the year, I am doing activities where students sound out words and record them on their recording sheet. My little table in the back is great for a partner activity, so I love to have them working together here.

We love how we do math and literacy centers, but there are so many different ways to do them! If you want to implement these in your own classroom, you can check it out HERE.

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