Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Guest Blogger: Reusable Centers

Hello Special Sparkle Readers! Lisa here! Many of our regular authors are off on fabulous vacation adventures during their final weeks of summer before school starts. Please welcome our guest blogger Pam!
Hi everyone! I am Pam from Mrs. P's Specialties here to talk to you about creating a re-usable centers system that allows your kiddos to become more independent when using it. The first thing I did was make a board by laminating a long piece of tag board. To be able to fit all of my students, I had to attach two pieces of tag board together before laminating. Next attach Velcro (I use the hard portion on this part) in two rows. Here is a picture of what it is going to look like...

Next, I make up a name card for each of my students, mount it on tag board and laminate them. Attach velcro (I use soft here) to the back side of each. I have 3 main centers, so I use three basic shapes to indicate which center the student should go to. Follow the same basic rules for making the shapes as the name cards. Next, I them make large cards to go at each of the centers with one shape on it. Here is an example of a centers card that a student has already matched:

The student simply has to find his/her name, take the shape next to his/her name and find the matching center. Once at the center, the student velcros his/her shape onto the large center card and completes the activity that is at that area. 

The benefits of creating a system like this are:
  • Gives more opportunities for students to practice reading and discriminating their name.
  • Incorporates shape identification and matching skills.
  • Is reusable and expandable. I always have an extra row on the main board in case I get a new student mid-year. I can quickly add them to the centers system. There is limited need to remake anything year to year, so it saves you time and materials!
  • Students are able to become independent in finding their center. 
  • You are able to mix things up and change where centers are located. Many of my students have a hard time dealing with change. This is a great way to teach flexibility....by not always having the listening center in the back of the room, the big book at the carpet, etc. 
You can read more about this and more topics on my blog Mrs. P's Specialties. Download the materials needed for creating the Centers Match Up System by click HERE.


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