Centers are the best. I love being part of the kindergarten team at my school.
Having been in kindergarten the majority of my 25 years in teaching, deciding it was time to move into a Reading Specialist position was hard. Thankfully, the kindergarten teachers at my school have allowed me to be a part of their team.
Each week we plan lessons to be taught, reviewed, assessed and remediated. We also plan an hour for Guided Reading and Literacy Work Stations. Students are expected to complete 10 Independent Literacy Activities a week…with 5 additional activities being open ended.
Some centers might be ABC, 123, Science/Social Studies, Listening, Art, Writing, Sorting, Word Wall Words, 4 Square, Rhyming, Poetry, Pocket Chart, Squiggles, Fab 5, First-Then-Last, and many more.
The key is maintaining your sanity, while building their independence. It can be done!
WHOLE-crazy with HALF-day Kindergarten
My school system has half-day kindergarten for non-Title 1 schools.
We have 3 hours to provide instruction each day.
3 days a week there is a 30 minute resource during that time.
We have snack and recess for 20 minutes each day.
All skills are integrated; therefore, math, science, and social studies skills are woven into this time.
centers Start with Shared Reading
A shared reading poem each week is introduced, recited, read, and reviewed. (Check out 10 Reasons to Use Poem of the Week.)
The shared reading is sent home the following week for homework AND it is in the Art Center and the Poetry Center the following week, as well.
The Poem of the Week could be the springboard for other centers like rime families and sight word centers. Regardless, the literacy block, guided reading and literacy centers, is 1 hour every day.
NO EXCEPTIONS! It’s non-negotiable.
I am a huge proponent of TEACH THE PROCESS…CHANGE THE PRODUCT!
The process for Listening Center, Poetry Center, Squiggle Center (which doesn’t start until Week 10) and Sort Center, never changes.
The writing requirement might be increased each nine weeks, but the process is the same.
Some activities may repeat the process for several weeks, before the center is changed. At the beginning of the year, when trying to establish routines, the Math Center is the same for 3 weeks.
The first week, students sort a mixed bag of shapes by shape. The next week, students sort the same bag by color. Finally, the students sort the same bag by size.
This establishes independence and encourages success.
Believe it or not, it only takes about 20 minutes to plan for this portion each week.
When centers are consistent, strategic and meaningful, planning isn’t hard.
The ABC Center will house Read It, Write It for a few weeks…then it will become its own center and replace the rhyming center.
Read it, Write it is custom-made each week to include the word wall word introduced the previous week.
The math, science, and social studies centers are the only centers that might change each week…because it is based on the math lesson from the week before.
If you would like the a Centers Sample, click the link or the picture.
The key to centers is consistency, routine, and respect (what your student needs and what they can do.).