During my guided reading groups, I run centers, workstations, cooperative learning groups, independent practice, or whatever else you would like to call them.  All teachers have a way that they like to do things in their classroom.  We find a routine that works for us, and we go with it.  Centers are the same way.  Everyone seems to run their centers a different way...what one way is best?  That I'm not sure.  I can only tell you what I have found that works for me.

My centers are ran during my guided reading time, which is about a 45 minute to hour block. During this time, some of my students are pulled to other intervention classes (often leaving me with a small group of children). My centers change each week, and my students go to only one center per day. I only have four centers each week, and the centers are explained (with directions posted) on Mondays (or the first day of that week.)

Center groups are heterogeneous groups.  I divide them up so they can assist each other as needed while I am working with my other students.  I have four work areas where I lay the center materials/directions/etc. in the classroom.  I have those numbered 1-4 (to assist them in the beginning of the year, and to help a substitute if needed).  I write the students names on an index card as the center group they are in.  I also have the numbers 1-4 written on magnets.  I tape the center groups to my board, and place the magnets above it.  At the end of each day, I just slide the magnet down to the next group.

**I tried to include a model, but it became all jumbled when I posted it**

On Tuesday, the center groups stay the same (I change them on an as needed basis---but remember, I group them so I know that there is assistance/peer tutoring since I'm doing reading groups), but the number 1 slides down into the 2 spot, 2 slides to 3, 3 slides to 4, and 4 slides up to the 1's place.  This way the students know the center that they have for that day.  (I hope this is making sense----it's easier to watch or draw an explanation)...this would continue until  Thursday.  Fridays are our assessing days, so I try to play games/review games with the students as a Fun Friday.

Now that you know how my centers are organized, what do they do?  Well, sorts like the ones you've seen posted on the blog, games, science activities, writing, math games, etc.  I ALWAYS have a spelling center, and computers are ALWAYS a center.  I just put a new skill, or a new website up each week for them to practice.  They really enjoy, and poptropica.  Basically, that means I'm only creating 2 new centers each week.  I will be posting more centers/center ideas as the year continues. 

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