I was struggling with changing centers every week. It was overwhelming and took too much time, so I was sitting on the couch one night playing on my laptop looking for some answers. I was committed to small group instruction, but how was I going to find the time? What I found was this quote:
So much of our time is preparation, so much is routine, and so much retrospect, that the path of each man’s genius contracts itself to a very few hours. ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
What? I needed more genius time! Where was that going to come from?
Start Centers Now?
- Prepare the plastic milk crates with 36 hanging folders. Label the folders 1 -36.
- File the activities into the folders. Yes, I file all 36 weeks into the crate. I have used this method in 2nd and in 5th grade. I also just helped my son’s kindergarten teacher set up some centers. We started slow with two crates, but she finds them so valuable that she is going to add more next year.
- Place the crates around the room to assist in traffic control.
What do I put in the centers?
Folder centers have three parts:
- Folder: It stores all the contents. I add a fun title page to the front, and I like to add the answer key to the inside. Did you notice the blue dot in the right-hand corner of the front of the folder? I write the week number on it. Also, the color tells me which center it is. Th above picture shows a few Grammar/Convention centers.
- Task Page or Task Cards: I print this part in grayscale on colored paper. I do not have access to a colored printer at school.
- Recording Sheet: You can differentiate the center by changing the recording sheet. I like to copy the recording sheets on different colored paper. Students know what color sheet they should use by adding a colored dot by their name on the center rotation chart.