KinderGals: Classroom Set Up Literacy Centers-Free File

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Classroom Set Up Literacy Centers-Free File

There are as many different ways to set up centers as there are teachers. Each teacher has to find her own way. The way we use is a combination of things that I have learned by watching both my kids and other teachers.
So today I am going to share the way that we organize our centers:
This chart is the central organization for literacy centers. The one on the left is Megan’s chart before the first day of school. The one on the right is my friend’s chart after everything has been introduced.
So how do we build this chart?
*The first thing we did was to decide which of our centers helped our kids to read, to write, to work with words and letters, and to PLAY.
  • *These are the centers to help our children become writers.
(mail center, wipe off books, writing center, ask a question, write the room)
  • *These are the centers to help our children become readers.
(read the room, games, computers, music books, listening centers)
  • *These are the centers to help our children become word builders.
(pocket chart, overhead, abc puzzles/playdough, stamps and stencils, magnetic letters)
  • *These are the centers to help our children become productive members of a team.
(blocks, housekeeping, doll house, manipulatives/toys, art)
  • *And this is how we divided our classroom library.
(fiction, non fiction, big books, unit of study, concepts)
*The next thing we did was to take one center from each of these 5 categories above and set them up so that they would be in one corner of the room. We did this to make each of the 5 areas below. This is the biggest deciding factor when setting up our room!!!!
  • Area 1-Giraffe
(mail center, read the room, pocket chart, concept books, housekeeping)
  • Area 2-Monkey
(abc puzzles and playdough letters and words, art center and writing center share the same table, non fiction books, computers (not pictured))
  • Area 3-Lion
(doll house, listening, wipe off books, unit of study books, overhead projector)
  • Area 4-Tiger
(stamps and stencils, big books, games, toys, ask a question (not pictured))
  • Area 5-Elephant
(fiction books, magnetic letters, write the room, blocks, music books)
So it looks like this:
You can grab this spreadsheet below as a FREE download.
*Then, we took a picture of each of the center choices in each area.
*As we introduce each of the individual centers in each area, we will add the picture of that center to the board under the correct animal.
*The kids know to look on the board to see which centers have been opened.
Now how do we manage this?
*The kids are put into “family” groups. Each family is 1/5 of your class. This group should be all abilities, all personalities, etc. They get along. They work well together.
*They go to centers with their family.
*Each day, each family is assigned one center area. They may select any of the centers in that area that have been introduced.
*The next day, you rotate to the next area.
*In 5 days, they have been to all 5 areas.
*We don’t keep record of which centers they are choosing in their area. We feel that all of the centers help to develop readers and writers and that they all have different learning styles.
*The play centers are not opened during literacy centers. We have a special time at the end of the day for those centers. During that segment of the day, the kids can choose any of their literacy centers or their “play” center. This is when I do my interventions.
Everything that I have described so far are what we call “can do” centers. But, we also have “have to” centers. The have to centers are stored in these tubs and are moved to the center areas during centers. There are two sets of tubs,  one is for math and one is for literacy.
What is a have to?
  • *It is something that they have to do. It is not a choice.
  • *They are activities that usually end with a product.
  • *They are activities that the children have done something similar before.
  • *The activities cover previously taught standards and most of the children have mastered those standards. They are review.
  • *When center time starts, the children do the have to first and then they can pick from the can-dos.
What am I doing during that time?
  • *During that time I am pulling small group. Either for literacy activities or guided reading.
  • * I pull from all 5 center areas. Once they finish with me they go back to their area to finish their have to and to pick can dos.
  • *I pull based on formative assessments so these groupings are always changing.
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Bonnie Silver said...

Thanks so much for sharing. I love it and I am always trying to figure out a more organized way to do centers. Is there any reason that there is a blank row at the top of the filled in chart and a different color empty row on the "new" chart?

Kim and Megan said...

We did a post to answer all of the questions. You can find that post here:

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