How Centers Work in My Classroom

Before I even start this post I am going to tell you that I've never been a huge fan of centers.  I've just always felt that they've been a little chaotic and not such a great use of time.  BUT, this year I have *promised* myself that I'm really going to work on this component of my classroom and I've vowed to making the most out of our center time.

In Dual Language, we are required to have 30 minutes of Bilingual Learning Centers.  We must have at least 4 stations:  Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Math.  Other than that, we can pretty much choose which other stations we want to include in our rotation.  Here's a few other MUSTS for us:
1.  Activities in both languages for each center
2.  Partners have to be working together
3.  There should be enough activities in each center so that students can choose which one to work on

With all that being said, I want to show you how I'm making centers work in my classroom this year.  

Here is my center board.  It's actually a cookie sheet...

Underneath the center board are my bilingual partners.  Each partner is assigned a number (thanks to Terri for the free numbers!).  They look for their partner number (I put magnets on the back of the numbers so that I can easily move them around) on the center board to know where to go each morning.  We do centers first thing after they get unpacked for the day.  So, whether their partner has arrived or not, they can still get started on their activity.

If they are in Writing, Science, Social Studies, Math, or Words they pick up their bucket from my "Centers Bookshelf" and take it to a spot on the floor to work.  Right now, each bucket has 2 activities, 1 in English and 1 in Spanish.  If they are in Computers, Library, or Listening, they go to those designated areas around the classroom.

It's really difficult for me to make Spanish activities because I just don't know the language well enough.  But, my teaching partner really helps me out.  I make the English activities and she makes the Spanish ones, and we just share :)  I am using my Back to School Math and Literacy centers right now. I just changed a couple of them to Spanish so that I could fulfill my language requirements!  (As of right now, I do not have these activities available in Spanish, but they are in English in my store)  My camera died before I could take pictures of the other activities, darn it!

Within that 30 minutes of time, they can normally finish 1 activity and maybe get started on the other activity in their bucket.  But, they are not able to finish both.  If we get a chance, they finish their "unfinished" work during their free time or on Fridays.  I do not grade center work, or really even keep up with it much.  It's more of an enrichment time to review concepts that we are working on in class.  

We've been doing centers for 3 days now, and they have been very successful!  I think the time that you put into preparing and organizing can really pay off!

In other news, we did the same writing assignment that my class did last year.  Here's how those turned out...

 This week we will be doing a Henry and Mudge unit (that I hope to make into a pack soon!), 3 Types of Sentences during English, and Place Value for Math!  I have lots of fun things ready for the week, so I'm pretty excited about it!

Not that I have much of a personal life right now (but what teacher does at the beginning of the year?!) but, the Mr. and I have really been enjoying riding in our new dune buggy.  It's lots of fun, and we get quite a few stares :)
 And, I've gotten into the habit of always checking Pinterest before putting an outfit together!  It's like my go-to for Fashion advice!

Hope that wasn't information overload for you!  Hoping you all have a fabulous week!


Tales of a First Grade Teacher said...

I used to feel the same way about Centers until I read Daily 5. It totally calmed me down and slowed me down. I don't know how it would work with science and social studies, but it's definitely worth reading the chapter on muscle memory and training your class.
Stop by my little blog--I'm hosting a giveaway from REally Good Stuff--it's a REally awesome Modular Pocket Chart. great for all the different centers.

Shanyn said...

Thanks for sharing how you work your centres! It's always nice to see how other people run them :)

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amy.lemons said...

I used to do the Daily 5 also in my classroom before I started teaching DL and I loved it. I just can't figure out how to make it work now. However, I still use a lot of the techniques that I learned from reading the book :)

Amy said...

Can't wait for your Henry and Mudge pack... that was our basal story last week, but I have lower readers and may come back to it later.

stephf54 said...

Oh centers! How you get the better of me! That is my goal this year also. Plus we have a new principal who says she expects to see them in K-2. I really want to use them and they must be of value so I appreciate any help I can find!

RealOCteachers said...

Thanks for sharing your centers. I always enjoy seeing how other people organize them. I do Daily 5 for language arts and centers for math. I found that when introducing my math centers I took it slow and really focused on procedures as they teach in the Daily 5 books. My kiddos last school year were pros at math centers. People that came in my room couldn't believe that they were actually playing the math games the way they were intended to be played. I really think focusing on the procedures helps the centers run smoothly.

The REAL Teachers of Orange County

Leanne said...

I too am WAY more fashionable now thanks to Pinterest!!! :)


Mrs. Cupcake said...

I love those personal narratives!! Looks like your kiddos did a great job!! :) {Thank you for the shout-out!}
A Cupcake for the Teacher

Elisabeth said...

Thanks for sharing how your centers work! I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way about centers. I love centers... but always feel like I don't do them justice. Every year I always say/think I'm going to do better. Maybe this will be the year! haha I would love to try the Daily 5! Do you have the cutie cards for your center board? I love that idea with the cookie sheet. Too cute! THANKS for your wonderful ideas gal! :)


Shannon Kirby said...

We read that story this past week, stop by Sweet n Sassy in 2nd and you can pick up my free Henry and Mudge craftivity that we did this week. Thanks for sharing your math centers, it's always interesting to me to know how others do things.

Sweet n Sassy in 2nd

Tammy said...

Well, I am a Daily 5 user also and I applied it to my Math Work Stations this year and it went fabulous. I love it. My students are so engaged. I actually just posted about it tonight.

Mrs. Flickinger's Butterfly Oasis

Suzy Q said...

I am also one of those who isn't a big center fan. Yet. Our biggest problem is time...which is in short supply everywhere!

Kimberly Santana said...

I love seeing how teachers organize their centers! Thanks for sharing!!

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Jessica Sobral (Devlin) said...

Hi Amy! My name is Jessica and I am a student at the Richard Stockton College here in Galloway, NJ. I am working on my undergraduate degree for teacher education. This semester my Instructional Tech K-12 class asks us to follow a blog site. My cousin, Tara who is a 2nd grade teacher, referred me to your site. She loves it! I have been reading your blog site and it is very fun, interesting and helpful. This is my first blog ever by the way. Oh and bonus! are a Texan. I was born and raised in Austin, TX. Go Longhorns!!

Although I am not a teacher yet I will be observing a 2nd grade class this semester and I will be able to teach a few lessons at the end. Also I am on the substitue list. This is very exciting I cannot wait to be in a class with the students! Would you be able to guide me and have some helpful advice from time to time? Hopefully you can and I will continue to follow your site!

Thank you! Jessica

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy!
My name is Wendy. I see that you're a dual language teacher and so am I. From what I can tell from your pictures and reading your blog, I figure you're doing the Gomez and Gomez dual language and you use Reading Street, am I correct?? Well, I'm a 2nd grade dual language teacher in Fort Worth ISD, I too do Gomez and Gomez and both Reading Street and Calle de la Lectura (since I am self contained and have to do both English and Spanish). I was wondering if you had any Spanish center activities to do?? I love your fab activities in English, does your team teacher have some in Spanish ya'll can share?? Any info you can give me would really be great. Thanks.


Jenna Stuckert said...

I also use reading street and calle de lectura! Love your centers! Will you be selling any Spanish versions in your TpT store? I bet there is a huge market for it!!! Would love to see it! Thanks!