Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Super Centers Linky Party!!!!

I love centers in my class! Especially this year with such a huge range of abilities in my little group. Centers time for math and language arts allows me to teach my adorable little kids at their level, while the rest of the group is doing some wonderful hands on learning. Ironically, my new class is actually quieter during centers because they love hands on learning so much!! This has inspired my 2nd linky party! I thought we could all share some of our favorite learning centers.

The Linky Party Rules

1) Show us your favorite centers with a link to where you got them if you didn't make it yourself, so we can get it too!

2) Share some pictures of the center if you have them. We'd love to see kids learning!

3) Put my Linky Party image somewhere on your post with a link back to my blog. Feel free to shrink it down. It can be small, I know I made it big on my page, but I was just so excited for my 2nd linky party!

4) Become a follower for the great blogs you find as you are hopping along looking at great centers!

If you have any kids with autism/asperger's in your class, take a peek at my post from yesterday about meeting their sensory needs in super easy ways.

Here are some of my favorite centers:

Making Words! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Making Words!! I've used this edition for independent learning in centers, and I've also used it for student engagement for spelling. In fact, it's the basis of much of my spelling instruction. I HATE spelling lists! But this makes spelling super fun :) I also have a pocket chart set that I use with giant letter cards. The kids try to make as many words as they can and figure out the "secret word" that is made using all the letters. The "secret word" is by far the best motivator to  keep kids thinking!! They try for the entire lesson to think about what big words they could make with the letters.

Making Words, Grade 1: Lessons for Home or School

Dice/Dominoes: I realize this isn't a center all on it's own, but when you turn it into a game, it totally is. I like to let the kids roll dice and then add/subtract/multiply the numbers. I really like that it can be modified by the skill level. For example, increase to 4 dice to make 2 double-digit numbers. You can also use dominoes because they each have 2 numbers on them. I have sheet with blank dominoes printed on it, then the kids record which dominoes they pick up so they don't do the same one twice, and the added bonus is I can informally assess based on them. Double dice (a second die hidden inside) make it extra fun for them.

Double Dice

Matching games: There are endless possibilities to this strategy. My latest favorite is the set of Color Words matching activities that I bought during the TPT sale created by Doodle Bugs. I'm sure I've posted it before, but I think it's great and I'm about to use them next week.

Color Word Unit: Acitvities & Centers for the 10 Basic Col

Shoebox Centers: I need to revamp these for kindergarten, but I've had them in my class for years. If you look at my classroom pic HERE you can see that I've actually put them in plastic shoe organizers to make them more durable (3rd classroom pic, under the 100 chart). Race to a Dollar is always the most popular and teaches coin swapping/counting. There is a whole series of these books and the centers are super easy to make. They take a bit of time, but last for years and once they are made. All the materials are already sitting right in the box along with instructions taped to the lid. Great for when you have a sub who needs things to do! I think I have 3 different versions of the books and I swap out what is in the boxes based on the skill level of the kids each year.

Shoe Box Learning Centers: Phonics

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