For the past five years, I’ve been using the same “menu” format for Literacy Centers and have modified it as I’ve taught first, second, and third grade. Prior to that, I’d tried every system in the book…stations in the classroom, mobile tubs, wheels, rotated charts, assigned centers…all of which “worked” for the most part, BUT left me with the same PROBLEMS:
1) I felt as if I was CONSTANTLY changing centers and having to search for new ones.
(Ain’t nobody got time for that!!)
2) When centers were “assigned,” lower kids had trouble keeping up and finishing in their allotted “time slot.” Either that or my high kids finished in no time and got bored.
3) The quality of work that students completed was substandard.
After being exposed to Balanced Literacy and the “menu” center system during my fifth year of teaching by my mentor and literacy trainer, Julie Winchester, I decided to give it my own spin and give it a try with my first graders. I’m now in my tenth year of teaching AND I’VE NEVER LOOKED BACK!!
All you’ll need to purchase/find is one pocket folder per child and a large pocket chart similar to the following:
(Click for Amazon affiliate link.)
Here is one of my kid’s Center folders set up with the tracking chart/rubric inside:
Here are some of the MANY BENEFITS of this center system:
1) Centers stay the same but TOPICS within each center change. This sets students up to be engaged and SUCCESSFUL because they know and practice the formats on a regular basis!
2) Students complete the centers AT THEIR OWN PACE and in WHATEVER ORDER THEY CHOOSE! Say what?!! It works beautifully…Since there is a variety of choices, your lower kids can take as much time as they need and higher kids can complete as many as they choose.
3) Most centers are open-ended, so students can take it as far as they’d like.
4) Since there are two options provided per center, each one can be completed twice.
5) Centers need to be changed every 3-4 WEEKS as opposed to every 1-2 weeks! This is my favorite part of this system because it makes teacher management a snap.
6) Centers are graded as a whole (according to rubric) instead of individually.
I showcase “example centers” for kids’ best quality work inside this binder in page protectors and try to add several centers each month.
If you’re interested in purchasing one of my center systems for Kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, or fifth grade, visit my following links to purchase from my TpT store!
Centers for individual purchase:
Each center package includes:
*Detailed Center Instructions, Management, and Display Suggestions
*”Headers” for pocket chart
*2 EDITABLE headers for you to add your own centers
*Student black-lined masters
*Student tracking chart