Today’s guest blogger is Greta from 9th Inning Teacher. She’s talking about centers survival–that is, making centers work for you!
For the first time in 13 years, I can no longer call myself a second grade teacher. I am now on the intermediate hall as busy as can be with my fourth graders! Each day I find something different to love about fourth grade. Of course, with every new experience, there are always challenges. This year, I have 28 vibrant students who absolutely love learning. Sidebar: I’ve never taught that many children, so at first I was really nervous…especially about how I was going to make my Math and Literacy Centers work – and not just work, but work effectively, while meeting the needs of the one group I would be working with at my teaching table.
I can finally and proudly say that we are off to a good start with our centers. The students are used to their group expectations, they know the rules, and they transition beautifully. Now, I am not saying AT ALL that this happened over night: Remember, with 28 students it took a lot of modeling and practicing, and there are still some things we are working on, but from what I can tell, the students are learning and having a blast working together on their skills and content.
One colleague recently asked me, “How do you make the students accountable for what they are doing in the centers?” A good question indeed for those who are not familiar with center activities. Sometimes, my students have recording sheets. Other times, I have dry erase activities where the students simply flash the work at me while I am working with other students. (Most of the time this is something simple that I can scan over). The students know that a nod from me means “correct” and that if I shake my head, they know to return to try again. Simple enough, right? It works for me, while some teachers might need to concrete proof. You have to find what works for YOU as the teacher!
So, my friends, the bottom line is this: Literacy and Math Centers can be a very effective (and fun) way of assessing student understanding of the concepts you have been teaching…with much modeling and practicing, IT WILL WORK! (Even with 28 kiddos!) 🙂
My name is Greta Cutrell, and I am a fourth grade teacher in Columbia, North Carolina. I am currently in my fourteenth year of teaching and love it just as much as I did the day I began. I am so thrilled to be able to share a success story with you and a big THANKS a million goes out to Rachel for allowing me to be featured. I’d love to hear your center stories! Let’s connect: Visit my blog or follow me on Instagram.