First Week of Centers - How We Do Them

Last week, I showed you my plan for centers.

In the midst of our first week, I decided to introduced centers to my kids.

I know. I'm crazy. But I wanted to get them started so I could do my assessments starting the next week.

I was expecting total chaos.

But I was pleasantly surprised. It went pretty well! The first day I had to just keep walking around making sure that everyone went to where tehy were supposed to go, doing what they were supposed to be doing, all the fun stuff.

The 2nd day went much better.

The 3rd day? I was able to actually sit and start assessing some kids!

Are we doing them full-blown yet? No. But we are off to a great start!

Here's how it went.

I taught them how to pick centers. That was like a 30 minute session. THEN, I walked each one through the process AND then I walked around to make sure they wrote the date on the correct center. So the whole process took about 45-60 minutes.

Here is how they picked their centers. They put their number cards next to the center number. Right now I'm only allowing up to 2 people to a center. BUT, eventually, we'll be doing 2 centers each day (they will have a green number card to show the 2nd center they choose), but right now, we're just working on one center a day.

Sorry about the lighting... the pocket chart is in a corner with bad lighting!


I gave them their seatwork (right now it was just the activities from my First Days of First Grade Freebie).



After they filed their seatwork, they were allowed to get their buckets for the their centers.  This set up looks a little different now (I've changed it up after we started using it), but the buckets are the ones on the bottom. they correspond with the center numbers in the pocket chart.  When they are ready, they grab their bucket and head to a spot in the room to do their center. Eventually, their partner will meet up with them and they can work together. 



Here they are at work at a few of our centers.

Poetry center.


Reading the clues.



Sentence scrambles.

Pocket chart center.


Sight word play-doh (a quick favorite!)



Um....I was SUPER impressed with one of my girls who loves to use resources already! I passed out their Spelling Journals last week and explained how to use them because this week we're going to dive into them. so when she didn't know how to spell a word, she got out her journal! Say what!?



Following directions center to make a book.


The centers this first time takes a LOT longer than they should... and they probably will for a while, which is why I'm only doing 1 center a day instead of 2 centers a day. 

When my timer goes off (yes, I have a timer set, otherwise I would go FOREVER!)  It's the best timer in the world. I got it when I took a training over the summer. It's the Kagan Mega Timer. Best thing EVER. Not only is it a timer, but it's also a team selector, student selector, stop watch....the list goes on! AND it gives warnings when time is almost up. 


Anyway, sorry, I get side tracked easily.

The timer goes off, and they clean up their centers and return their buckets. They go to their seats and put their menu on their desk and if their center had a paper to go with it, they put that out too. I come around and check off their centers. If they finished it (most of it) and did it correctly with their best efforts, they get a star, sticker, whatever. If they didn't? I circle the box where it says T.S. (teacher signature). They will keep them all in their centers folder until we are done with the round, and then I'll staple them all together and send it home. This is the same format I've use in 2nd and 3rd grade too; it just works for me! But I've even had a Kinder teacher friend adapt this format for her classroom (I'm pretty sure using pictures instead of words).


I didn't get a picture of all the centers they were doing this week, so here is my "visual plan" for centers.



And the links of where to find them all....

2.  Label a Picture (these come from my Label It! pack and my August Center Menu for 1st grade)
3. Read the Clues from my August Centers
4. Lori's Sentence Puzzles
5. Lori's Walk the Room
6. Poetry Center from my August Centers
7. Sentence Scramble from my August Centers. I'm only using 3 of the 6 sentences, and the other 3 will be next round of centers.
8. Pocket Chart Names. This is a center I just came up with. I wanted them to get to know their classmates' names, so maybe this will help? It's a freebie if you want it. Click {HERE}
9. Follow the Directions - I wrote steps of directions on sentences strips, and I'm using Teeny's Back to School Foldable Books
10. Big Book - writing an evaluation on the book from my August Centers.


I hope you are enjoying your weekend - especially if it's the first weekend of back to school for you! I now must go finish my plans for this week.... figure out how to teach 1st grade - ha!



16 comments

tara tw said...

Centers at the beginning of the year is always nerve-wracking! Kudos to you and your kids and thank you for a detailed how to!

Teaching Eternity said...

Congrats on an excellent start to centers! I am impressed that you have so many going on at once!
Michelle

Paige said...

Thank you so much for sharing how centers work in your classroom at the beginning of the year! I need to start teaching my firsties our center routines and was a bit nervous about everything I need to cover. Thanks for sharing this post - it definitely helped calm my nerves!

Paige
Paiges of Learning

Lisette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisette said...

Wow, I love your setup! You're super organized! Thanks for sharing. Do you have your center menu available anywhere? I like it! :)

learningmyself said...

Thanks for sharing! I have a name station too w/ pics and names laminated together. The kids can pic some classmates and write their names and draw a pic of what they look like. Thanks again!

Vickie said...

Your first link "showed you my plan for centers" doesn't link back to a previous post, it links back to your google doc for The Groovy Cat (a unit you sell on TPT), I just wanted to let you know!

Jen R said...

Ugh! Thank you Vickie!

Vickie said...

You're more than welcome! :)

Sarah said...

Oh my gosh---I want to teach with you!!! So organized and nicely planned!!! Trying to decide if I could switch my center routine before tomorrow morning when I teach it to my kids! Ha! How often do you change the center, not the content? For example, will sight word play dough be a choice all year long or do those change?
Sarah

Jen R said...

These centers will change after we're finished with them (right now, it's a 2 week rotation). Some of the content will change and the center will stay the same and some of the centers will change entirely. Until I figure out what works with this group of kids, then I will make it to where it's always "this center" but the content will change.

Teach and Tell said...

I love how you have your centers set up! I think I might have to try it your way this year... when do you include time with the teacher? is it one of the centers? or do you just call them and students would skip the assigned center for the day?

Sarah said...

Thanks Jen! That makes sense. I started Daily Five last year and it worked well, except I felt like they were a little bored by the end of the year, even though I tried changing things up a bit within the framework. I really like how you set your centers up.

Margaret Cofield said...

I love your centers and organization. I have 30 students and I'm not sure I could manage writing on all their center papers without taking too much working time. Any tips for large classes?

Jen R said...

Margaret - What I like to do sometimes is have their silent reading time right after centers. I'll do the checking at that time and when they get back to their seats, that's when they put everything away and clean up. Maybe that will work for you?

Margaret Cofield said...

Thank you for the tip! I love your blog!

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