Happy Sunday friends!! I know that many of you have the week off for Thanksgiving, lucky ducks! We have to go through Wednesday, so we are patiently waiting to go into vacation mode 🙂
Today, I wanted to share with you how I differentiate my literacy centers and run them in my room. For a long time, literacy centers were not my friend! I hated prepping them and the kiddos would run through them so fast and be bored because the centers could really only be used once. Then, once the kiddos had done them, I would have to cycle another center through. Oh the prep! No thanks!! That all changed when I went to a professional development with Margo Southall. Her differentiated center ideas changed my whole classroom! I’m excited to share it with you!
I have three centers: comprehension, fluency and work work. I keep them in dishwashing tubs that I got at Walmart! I really like the size on the tubs. I can move them around to different spots in my room pretty easily and they fit in all the components of the center.
Let’s take a look at each center.
Every Monday, I give my students a spelling pre-test. The tests tiered. It starts with easier words that fit our pattern for the week and then get progressively difficult. I have three separate spelling lists, that increase in difficulty, and depending on how they do on the pretest determines which list they get. This station will stay the same the entire year and they will keep doing the same activities with their current lists. I have smelly markers, stamps, colored pencils and different spelling activity cards that I got from Amy Lemons (get them HERE) that they can choose from. They do all their work in their reading spiral and keep it in their folders so I can check them.
The students have a menu where they write their center for the day. They start at a center that I assign, and rotate daily. They complete the center and write what they did on this menu. Then if there is still time, they can move to a center of their choice.
We have an hour a day for our reading groups. I don’t like having students trying to do their read to self time when there are other students on centers. I feel like it’s too distracting. So, I break my hour into three chunks. Students are working on the same thing at the same time which helps to minimize distractions and off task behaviors.
This is what I put on the board while they are working. I have students names listed under each center. I rotate these each day so they they are at least completing one of each center a week, almost twice a week. But, for most of my students, they get done with at least two centers a day. I also have students who like to do all three centers in one day, so when we move onto partner reading, iPads and computers, they can choose to keep working on their center.
Finally, in each folder I put a sticky note. This tells the student what level of fluency phrases or poem they should be working on and what level of quick read. This helps to ensure that they are working at their independent level.
So there you have it! While it seems like a lot, once you have everything organized, they really run themselves. You also get a lot of engagement because the students aren’t getting frustrated with work that is too hard or too easy. They have a little bit of choice at each center and that also helps to keep students engaged.
I hope that you find this helpful in your classroom as well! You will be amazed at the amount of learning, focus and engagement you will get from your students when you differentiate their centers!
I hope you all have a fabulous week and Thanksgiving break!!