Sunday, October 13, 2013

Literacy and Math CentersThat Really Work and a Free Math Center Game

I love October.  It seems like it takes me until October to get settled with my new group of kids and get into a good routine.  I also love cute Halloween activities.  I love cute ghosts, witches and bats.  And I love purple and orange with a little green thrown in.  I don't know how many of you have Literacy and Math Centers but I love them and my kids love them too!  After tons of years of teaching and lots of ways of trying to make them work, I finally found a way to implement centers that seems to work well.  When I first began having centers, I would have students go to 4 literacy centers each day and then later 4 math centers.  The problem was that I felt like I rushed them through the centers so that we could be finished in time.  I felt like I was not getting quality work because of the rush and then after centers were over, we were all frazzled!  So the solution to my problem was this:  I still have centers every day except Friday. I ability group my students so that differentiation in centers is easier.  Groups may change as needs change. We have a 40-45 minute reading block of instruction every day.  After this, students go to ONE center.  They stay here 25-30 minutes.  They have PLENTY of time to finish ONE quality activity and there isn't a rush to get to the next center. Having one group also helps with behavior.  I found that behavior became an issue if students rotated through four centers in one day.   I have four groups and four centers.  By Thursday, each group has visited each center.  One center is my teacher center.  Another center is my assistant's center and the other two are independent centers.  It works very well so I'm sticking with it.  I still get small group instruction with every student every week.  If for some reason we miss centers, I DON'T SWEAT IT!  Most weeks, for the most part, centers go smoothly and I feel like students are able to experience four great literacy and math activities plus my assistant and I both get small group time with them.  Twenty-five minutes is an ideal time frame...just enough time to finish one activity and not enough time to be distracted and get off task.  So now that you know HOW I have centers, I'll show you what we had in centers last week.  I believe that center activities should reinforce what I have already taught in class and it is a great time to practice what we know.  Last week in Math Centers, I had these activities:  In center 1, students completed this Odd/Even Number sort. 

These are the even/odd charts that we glued into our journals last week.  We colored even numbers orange and odd numbers green.  Some kids used their journal to do their center activity and some did not need to.  So, they had their sorting mats and put the numbers on the correct mat.

Our school has colored copy paper so I copy each set in a different color so that they don't get mixed up.  After students sorted the cards, they completed the activity sheet.  Students would choose 5 even cards and put them in order from least to greatest, or greatest to least and the same with odd numbers.  So they got practice with even/odd as well as number sequencing.  This game is part of my September Literacy and Math Centers unit.  You can see the entire unit by clicking HERE!!! Even though it is called September Centers, they are fall themed so you can use them until Christmas if you want. 
Another center was a number sequencing center.  Since we have to go to 1000 in second grade common core math and first graders only go to 120, I think students need tons of practice working with numbers to 1000.....all year long!  So, students sorted their cards by picture and then put them in order from least to greatest.  I got this game from Holly Rachel's tpt store.  It's called Halloween Spooktacular Math and Literacy Centers.  The kids loved this activity.

Another center was called "Bubbling Number Fun" and is from my October Literacy and Math Centers unit.  Kids choose a card and then write the number in number form, expanded form and word form. 

You can download this game for FREE by clicking HERE!!!!  If you download, please leave me some feedback!  This entire unit turned out great.  Here is what you get:

There are four Literacy and four Math center activities.  Click HERE!! to go to this unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.    I'm having a 15% off sale until tomorrow at midnight so hurry! 

I hope you are all having a great year so far!  Enjoy the freebie! Leave some feedback!


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