Process/Product Centers are the key to organization, success and sanity.
Independent workstations or centers are essential when teachers need to pull small groups for instruction. These centers provide an opportunity for young learners to engage in independent exploration while developing essential skills through a structured process that changes the product on a weekly basis.
PROCESS/PRODUCT BENEFITS FOR students
Process/product centers empower kindergarteners to take charge of their own learning.
By providing clear instructions on the process, educators allow students to navigate the activity at their own pace, promoting a sense of independence and self-confidence.
At a minimum, Process/Product Centers
- solidify skills. Students are asked to repeat what they know in a controlled environment. We are not teaching a skill “one and done” and we are not providing minimal chances to practice a skill.
- create fluency. When students are allowed multiple opportunities to understand a skill, they create a skill fluency.
- develops independence. If students understand what is expected, independence follows.
- instills pride and success. When students know what to do, how to do it and they can: success follows. And there is an old adage: success begets success. It’s absolutely true.
PROCESS/PRODUCT BENEFITS FOR teachers
When it comes to teachers, process/product centers are just as valuable.
- easily plan for centers. When center processes are repeated, teachers know what to plan quickly.
- easily explain centers on Monday. When the process has been taught and practiced in whole group, students know what to do. The teacher doesn’t need to take a long time every Monday introducing centers.
- create systems for centers. By creating Squiggle books or Poetry folders or Alphabet Journals, teachers can create systems that sustain centers for weeks and weeks.
- easily switch out centers on Fridays. Every Friday, teachers need to clean up that weeks centers and get ready for next weeks centers. If the centers are changing weekly it takes a long time for teacher prep. No one has time for that. If you are simply changing the product, some centers are automatic and some centers just need restocking.
Process/product centers cultivate adaptability in young learners. As they encounter different tasks and materials each week, students learn to be flexible in their thinking, experimenting with various approaches and adapting their strategies based on the specific task at hand.
Teachers can make the Poetry Folders up a 9-weeks at a time, with a folder construction paper cover.
Students are asked each week to complete a specific task, but the task is the same for many weeks at a time.
Students might be asked to circle high frequency words and illustrate. Students might be asked to fill in high frequency words and illustrate. Students might be asked to circle the rhyming words and produce more words words in that rhyming family.
The overriding understanding is that they will do the same thing each week! The process does not change. The product (or the poem) does.
SQUIGGLE CENTER – Students are given a squiggle folder (again covered with construction paper and stapled) and the process is explained and practiced. Check out the blog post link for step-by-step details. They are asked to choose a squiggle each week, different from everyone else at their table, and draw their illustration with a pencil. After drawing, they have to write about it BEFORE they can color the picture. We don’t want them spending too much time drawing and coloring. Teachers are only required to make the folders every 9 weeks, no other supplies are needed. Check out the squiggle center set, already made up.
READ, WRITE, GLUE, DRAW – This center worksheet is pictured in the cover picture. Students will read the sentence, write the sentence, order the words, and illustrate the sentence. Each week the sentence should reflect new high frequency words, new word patterns or have a science or social studies theme. Each week the teacher just replaces the sheet.
LABELING CENTER – This center is taught whole group and students are asked to label parts of a picture.
They can use letter/sound associations to match words to parts.
Once the labels are affixed, they can be given specific directions.
Students can write the words, write a sentence with one of the words, write more than one sentence, you decide.
You can even easily differentiate this center. BUT make sure the process or directions are consistent for a WHILE.
Process/product centers in kindergarten provide a dynamic platform for young learners to develop essential skills, foster independence, and embrace creativity. By balancing structure and autonomy, educators can empower students to take ownership of their learning journey.