Thursday, September 25, 2014

Go Ahead and Try Centers, a Free Planning Template and Why I LOVE BINGO Chips!

We have been in school exactly one month today. So this past summer, I've helped my son finish chemotherapy,  I've moved a daughter to college, gotten a classroom ready, started school, helped my son through surgery and completed several weeks of DIBELS and TRC testing.  Things are finally beginning to settle my son is now CANCER FREE!!!  He has battled osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, for the last four years.  He has been so brave!  September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month so if you have a chance to do something to help the fight, please do!  Hopefully now my son can go on with his 16 year old life now and we can be "normal" again! Feeling thankful and blessed!
So,  I am having a great year so far in my classroom. My students are hardworking, sweet to each other and well behaved....more blessings!!! Since it seems to be a great group to work with, I'm excited about what I will be able to do with them this year.  So far we have been busy learning how to be in second grade.  We have learned how to work quietly in centers.  We review center rules every day.  The only thing they need to remember is 1.  STAY in your center....2. Ask 3 then me, and 3. Use a whisper or very quiet voice when you need to ask a team member something.  If you are anti-center, let me tell you a very easy way to implement centers.  You need to plan four center activities for reading centers each week.  Plan four math centers too if you want to do math centers...I personally love math centers because students can practice tons of math skills with games and fun activities.  So, plan four centers.  Divide your class into heterogeneous groups.  This way, the smarter ones can help students who may struggle with something.  While these four centers are going on, I'm pulling kids back to my table to work on reading skills on their level. (Guided Reading Groups)  The kids go to only one center a day for four days.  There is an assigned activity in the center and then I have a basket of other valuable activities that I call "The Finish Line" .  So, for 45-50 minutes, the student is in one center.  They complete their assigned activity, come to my center for a differentiated reading lesson and then go back to the same center to complete some "Finish Line" activities.  Some things I've put in the Finish Line are vocabulary matching games, spelling activities, partner reading, grammar games and books on cd/tape.  One center today....tomorrow they go to the next center.  By Thursday, they will have gone to all four centers.  I find that less movement between centers makes for a more calm learning environment and it allows me to work with small groups.  So, if you have been avoiding centers, give it a try!  I looks like this:
You can get a free copy by clicking HERE! Let me know how you like it!

Now, let me tell you why I LOVE using BINGO chips.  I have found that little kids,....I think second graders are still little kids.... I think that most of them still need practice with one to one correspondence, especially when counting on a 100's board.  I made a game a few years ago.  The kids tossed a small pom pom onto a 100's board.  They draw a card from their stack,  It may say, add 12 to your number, subtract 33 from your number, etc.  They had a very hard time counting on the 100's board with their finger, so I ordered these transparent BINGO chips.  Now we use these for EVERYTHING!  They can add and subtract using 100's boards all the way to 1000.  They use them when playing any math game.  During math warm up time, we take out our hundreds board and a chip.  I tell them to find a number.  Then I may ask them to find the first even number after that number, the 10th number after that number, etc. You can use them in reading too. Yesterday, I had a little boy who was having trouble with the center activity on ABC order.  I got out an ABC strip and a BINGO chip.   I showed him how to put the chip on one letter, look through his cards to see if he had anything that started with that letter, and then he would move the chip to the next letter.  It worked wonderfully.  I've also used BINGO chips when reading with students.  It's small and slides easily on the page.  I've also asked students to "highlight" a word in the story with their BINGO chip.  The uses are endless and they are very, very inexpensive.  I got mine on Amazon for just a few dollars.  300 chips for a few dollars!  Click HERE to see the chips.  They look like this:
The kids LOVE these.  If I still taught Kindergarten, I could think of a million uses for these...if they didn't put them in their mouth. Here is how the boy used the BINGO chip in  the ABC order activity that I mentioned.
You should definitely get some.  And I know, only a teacher would get so excited over BINGO chips.
Another thing that excites me is foam dice but I'll save that for the next post.  Let me know how you use or how you would use BINGO chips in your classroom!  I would love to hear from you.  AND let me know what you think of the workstations or centers planning sheet!
Have fun and teach on!!!


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