Tuesday, April 19, 2011
It's a challenge to explain how I manage my centers. It's one of those things where you really have to be there to completely understand how it works. However, I'm not going to let that hold me back from sharing what I can with all of you! Here it goes.....

This is my center board. Students go to the board to see what they need to work on each day. We work on centers Mon.-Thurs. for about 1.5 hours. If needed, Friday is our day to continue working on centers. When students have completed all of their center work, they get to have "Free Friday". This is a time when they can play a math or literacy game of their choice.

As you can see, I have four center group posters above the centers (on the fish). I move the group posters each day. I use push pins to hang them up so I can easily move them around the board. However, I think next year I'm going to use some sort of clip instead!

Students might go to a center more than once a week depending on how many activities are in the center. For example, the red fish on the board is my math/science/social studies center. During the week, students will have 3 opportunities to work on the 3-4 activities in that center.

Here is a list of all of the centers in my classroom:

-Math, Science/Social Studies






-Listening/Reading Response Station

-Pocket Chart

-HOTS (Higher Order Thinking)

I'm very lucky to have these amazing wooden shelves to store my center materials. This shelf is sectioned off by skill, spelling, and math/ social studies/science centers. Did I mention how much I love this shelf?!?!

Here is a picture of my listening station! I actually have two of these to accommodate more students. Nothing spectacular, but does the trick!

Here is a picture of the pocket chart center. Again, very simple-just a pocket chart on a stand!! I have a little basket on the floor beside it that holds the recording sheets. I love using this pocket chart for sorting, making words, and matching games!!!

Here's a pic of one of my kiddos at the computer center. He is working on his math facts using a program my school purchased called "Math Facts in a Flash". It's great for practicing math fact fluency!!

This is my HOTS center!I ran out of room to put things so I made a pocket with a file folder, labeled it, and hot glued it to the side of my desk!! I put activities in the pocket that promote higher order thinking in reading and writing. This week, my students are working on an activity on their "Think Dots" board. A TpT HOTS center packet is on my summer project list!!

Everyone has a center folder to help them stay organized. One side is for completed work and the other is for incomplete work. My little loves keep up with what they've completed using a center checklist. The checklist is a wonderful tool! It keeps everyone on track & allows me to open a folder and immediately see what a student is working on. It did take a good couple of weeks at the beginning of the year to train them to use the checklists, but now they are center checklist pros!!

I meet with my leveled reading groups at this lil' table while everyone's working on their centers. I also have a parapro or parent volunteer working with students at this time.

I stole this idea from my super organized team member...I use labeled expandable file folder pockets to store all of my center cards and recording sheets. L.O.V.E this!

Whew! I know I probably just confused the heck outta ya! If so, I apologize!! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comment section!!


calpers said...

Hi Anna!
You did a GREAT job explaining! I wish I could observe in your classroom! I am such a visual learner but your pictures truly helped me understand! ; )
Question-how many activities do you have for a center for example, math, or spelling and how do you teach them to play a game? I LOVE LOVE LOVE your games for centers but not sure how or when to teach how to play them and have small groups, etc.. Is that where your para or volunteer helps out? Thanks for answering my ??? and thanks for posting this!!! :) P.S. I am drooling over those higher order thinking boards. Just can't wait till you have them for sale! Smiles, Cindy

Anna Brantley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna Brantley said...

I wish you could just come observe for a day!!! The number of activities depends...I usually have 4 in math/science/social studies, 2-3 in skill, 2 in writing, 1 pocket chart activity, 1-2 spelling activities(but they choose what they are), and 1 HOTS. It sounds like a ton, but they should complete at least 3 a day in the 1.5 hours we have centers. I go over and model everything on Monday, which takes sometimes 15-20 minutes to do. When they are working, I have a parent volunteer or parapro facilitating or pulling small groups. During the first two weeks of school, I do not pull groups so I can train the children how to work during center time!!
I hope this helps you understand it a little better!!

Libby said...

Great ideas, I love looking at organizational ideas :)

Melissa said...

Love the pictures. I always get so many ideas from looking at how others organize and arrange things. So when your kids finish an activity they can move on to another one of their choice as long as it's on their checklist?
F is For First Grade

Melissa said...

Also- I'm amazed at how neat your teacher table and the shelf behind it looks (mine is a hot mess!).
F is For First Grade

Anna Brantley said...

Hey Melissa!! Believe me, there are days when my table and shelves are CrAzY!!!

Yes~Once a student finishes a center, they choose another one that is under their name/group poster. I like to give my kiddos structured choices as much as possible:)

Anna Brantley said...

Hey Melissa!! Believe me, there are days when my table and shelves are CrAzY!!!

Yes~Once a student finishes a center, they choose another one that is under their name/group poster. I like to give my kiddos structured choices as much as possible:)

Anonymous said...

Hey Anna! I am loving the pictures...they tell so much with very few words. We also loved incorporating your Hippity Hoppity centers into our own centers (we call them "workshops"). I teach kindergarten, and I am always in need of the extra little things like great visuals. I am in awe of your creativity (and a little jealous!)...I am not crafty or creative by nature, so it's great to borrow from others who are! Thanks so much for must be a wonderful and fun teacher!

Cynthia said...

Do you have a link to your checklist? I would like to alter it to meet my classroom needs. Thanks and I enjoy your blog of fantastic ideas!