Learn how to create engaging, easy-to-maintain classroom center activities that boost independent learning while increasing small-group instruction time.
In this course, you will learn how to create and implement center activities that boost independent learning in the classroom. You will start out by learning what a center is, what benefits it offers, and how to make the most of it. Next, you will explore some very common mistakes teachers make with centers and gain tips for keeping your planning time to a minimum. You will receive step-by-step instructions for creating a center schedule that students at every reading level can use independently.
Short on classroom space? You will get great ideas for storing your center and explore some alternatives to having a permanent spot for every center. You will master an easy, effective process for introducing centers and their materials to your students and develop strategies for what to do when things don't go quite as planned. The insights you will gain will show you how to adjust your centers routine for both your fastest learners and those who need more time.
Think centers can only be used for reading and language arts? Think again. You will discover effective ways to use centers to support math, science, and social studies instruction. You will also see how you can use technology - such as virtual bulletin boards, apps, and interactive white boards - in your center activities to help keep your students engaged. By the time you finish, you will have a wealth of resources and center ideas you can try out in your classroom immediately.
- This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac device. A few Windows-specific examples are included. Mac students are welcome, but may not be able to duplicate all examples.
- PC: Windows XP or later.
- Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
- Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
- Adobe Flash Player. Click here to download the Flash Player.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
- Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
- Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
1 Getting Started With Centers
In your first lesson, you will gain a clear understanding of what centers are by looking into three components that will make your centers effective and beneficial for you and your students. You will discover the reasons center activities are a valuable part of your daily routine—from increased success with core concepts for your students to additional small group instruction time for you.
2 Mistakes People Make
In this lesson, you will learn about some of the common mistakes that teachers make when creating centers and discover some ideas for centers that will help you avoid these pitfalls. You will also examine the importance of consistency and some benefits of creating durable and open-ended centers.
3 Planning for Centers
This lesson teaches you how to pare down your center planning and keep it that way, even as you add more centers for your students to complete each week. You will examine your daily schedule to determine the number of centers you will need and how long your centers session should last each day.
4 Helping Students Manage Centers
Wouldn't it be great to have a simple way to set up a centers schedule that all of your students could follow independently? That's what you will gain in this lesson. You will discover center grouping strategy and how to rotate your students to ensure that every child visits every center every week.
5 Managing the Papers, Places, and Materials
When you're planning your centers, you can save time storing the materials you will need as you go. In this lesson, you will learn a great method for doing this. You will also discover an effective way to track student progress, give feedback, and put students in charge of their work for the week.
6 Practice Makes Permanent
This lesson navigates the ins and outs of center introductions. You will learn the different parts of an introduction. You will also learn how strategies for achieving great results when helping your students use the schedule board and centers materials independently.
7 Launching the First Week of Centers
There are always last-minute, not-to-be-forgotten details that you need to have in place when you're getting ready to have your students start center activities. In this lesson, you will learn about your role in the first week of centers: watching and adjusting.
8 Moving Forward With Centers
This lesson will walk through the simple but purposeful process of changing centers each week. You will examine how “every-weekers” are important for keeping planning under control. Finally, you will see how you can use the data about your students' progress to create new centers.
9 Small-Group Instruction
One of the biggest benefits of doing centers is that it buys you time for small-group instruction. In this lesson, you will explore different grouping strategies for three types of small-group instruction using data. You will also see examples of questions, conversations, and activities from each type.
10 Taking Choice Activities Outside of Centers
Did you know that you can use the choice activities introduced as part of the centers’ routine? In this lesson, you will learn how choice activities in other subject areas are the same and different from those used at center time.
11 Bringing Variety to Your Centers
In this lesson, you will branch out from more traditional literacy and math centers to include centers that revolve around different subject areas. You will explore center possibilities in science and social studies that include art, literature, and vocabulary practice.
12 Center Ideas to Take and Try
Do you feel like you need some more center ideas to get your brain juicing? Well, this is the lesson for you. You will explore center ideas for literacy and math centers that will boost your students' bottom line and discover some new ideas and activities to supplement your “every-weekers.”