Saturday, December 10, 2011

Organizing Centers

I decided that my old system of setting students up for centers wasn't flexible enough.  I needed students to be able to work in more flexible groups, and have this change each and every week.  Enter my latest invention.  I'm not going to lie and say that this is an easy system to create, set up, organize, or maintain each and every week.  I'd be lying if I said I had it mastered so far.  And I would be equally as much of a liar if I said my students understood this.  Although, they are adapting well, given that this is only their third week using it.

It looks like this:
Yeah.  It looks insane, I know.  Basically, there is a section for each student, and 6 center task cards for each student's name.  The 6 centers are still: Flex, Read to Someone, Read to Self, Word Work, Listening, and Writing.  Here's a better look at it close up:

Each student decorated their own business-sized card label.  Each student has a section of the pouch chart (so nicely given to me by another teacher who wasn't using it!) and 6 color coded cards.  After they complete a station, they flip the task card over.

HERE is where I made it complicated.  One of the foundational components of the "Daily 5" which I modified for my classroom is student choice.  I needed to give choice.  AND I needed to pick some of the cards.  So at the start of each center week, I have to set up which cards are "stationary", meaning I pick them and kids don't move them, and which ones I allow for a choice.  The nice part is that I usually split it 50/50.  That way, I can separate kids who shouldn't be working together at certain stations, while at the same time I allow them choice for others.  I am working on a printable that will help me organize it on paper before trying to arrange my cards.  I will post on this soon!! :-)


Katie said...

I just made something similar for my classes. I am actually using a picture of each on of my students and then having the choice cards move. I have 3 classes so I think I am going to put them in groups. I did this for a while this fall, but it wasn't going how I wanted. I am going to start fresh with it this spring. Do you have your kids fill out a tracking sheet or anything?

Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher

Ms. D said...

Hi Katie!
I would love to hear how you do centers with your 6th graders! It has definitely been an adventure. I found that, literally, I can't do the same activity each week. So far, I haven't repeated and I have been planning a bunch more so stay tuned :) I need to figure out how to best have them track their progress. I currently have them usually have a sheet that they keep in their center folders. Word Work is usually a game so I just monitor that, Read to Someone is also usually just monitored. Writing ties to whatever piece of writing they are working on or in their journals so I try to look at that. Read to Self has students answering questions...same with listening. I admit that I haven't been great on grading center stuff because it is just an overwhelming amount of paperwork. Maybe we can brainstorm something!