Sunday, February 3, 2013

Centers in upper elementary?

Do you use centers in your classroom? How do they work? When I worked as a student teacher, in a first grade classroom, we had parent volunteers help out, a few times a week, so there was supervision and assistance at every center. It worked out quite nice since the whole first grade team did the same centers and my job was to copy and fill the centers for ALL the teachers each week.

Now that we teach fourth we were playing with the idea of incorporating centers. One reason is that the CCSS stresses group work and collaboration. I feel in order for this to happen students need to LEARN how to work together and communicate appropriately. They need to learn to take responsibility for their actions and thinking and not just be a bystander in their education. Ms. G and I have very similar classes and beliefs. We have both been using collaboration rubrics to teach students how to act in groups. It has definitely helped students know what they are being held responsible for.

We wanted to start with fluency centers a few times a week for just 10-15 minutes. I saw another blog post that really inspired me. The trick is we wanted low maintenance centers that didn't require a ton of copying or correcting on our part each week. We wanted the students to enjoy themselves and be able to manage each center themselves. So far for centers, we have a Fry Fluency Game (called "I'm Fluent and I Know it!") using the first 100 Fry Phrases, a Cloze reading center (w/ teacher support), fluency poems for partners, a really fun writing center (stay tuned for a post on this), and a digital listening station (I was lucky enough to receive from a Donors Choose grant!).  Since our class make ups both have intervention students receiving Tier Three support as well as push in support three times a week for other students, we really feel this will be helpful to all of our students. We plan on testing this out this week.

Any tips, tricks, or ideas for centers in your classroom would be GREATLY appreciated!! We will take pictures of the centers in use this week and post later on!


  1. Hi! I tried to reply to a comment from you via email but realized you are a 'no reply blogger' so it didn't get to you. You asked about making fonts. I use an app called iFontMaker to make fonts and I use artstudio for some clipart. I hope that helps. :)
    Surfing to Success

    1. Thanks for the reply, Mercedes! I will have to check my settings to figure out why I am a "no reply blogger". I bought the clip art app, but I stink so bad at drawing that the images are turning out pretty silly! Thanks for your advice about the font too, how neat! I'll have to check out that app!
      Have a great week! :)

  2. I have been mulling the idea of centers in conjunction with Daily 5 over in my mind for months. Thanks for a great resource! I was lucky enough to be given some raffle money that I used to purchase fluency and comprehension activities from Lakeshore. The partner reading scripts are a favorite.


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