My Language Arts Centers are one of my favorite parts of my day as a teacher, and the same goes for my students. It is their opportunity to work independently and show their skills, while still having fun!
I recently completed a Donor’s Choose project and was able to get 3 iPad mini’s for my classroom! I am beyond excited to be able to use these iPads in my language arts centers and my students are giving them two thumbs up!
I have downloaded reading, math, and science apps to use during centers. There are specials settings you can to keep students engaged and on kid-friendly apps. Once we received the iPads, I met with small groups of students to teach them how they would use the iPads. Although many of them have tablets at home, they need to learn how we will use them at school.
Once they understand my expectations, I let them explore within the various apps I have purchased. There are tons of free, or low priced, educational apps! Some of my students’ favorites include Starfall, Star Math, and ABCya. I plug headphones into the iPads so that the other centers are not interrupted. The students love the opportunity to independently learn and explore through this amazing technology!
I am beyond grateful for all of the generous donations that were made through Donor’s Choose, and allowed me to purchase these iPads. I recommend that all teachers use Donor’s Choose for any project you can think of – your students will only benefit from it!
Scholastic Magazines are probably one of my favorite things to add to a lesson or activity! They are perfect in so many different ways. The can also be used in all different subject areas – language arts, science, or social studies! And they are also perfect for an extra activity in a sub plan. Below are different ways I use the Scholastic Magazines: Let’s Find Out in my kindergarten classroom.
Whole Group– The most obvious way to use them is as a whole group activity. Each student
gets their own magazine to look at, and you can use the interactive resources online to pull up the magazine (if you have a smartboard). I usually call on one student at a time to read to the class from the magazine. Then on the back they have an independent activity to check for understanding.
Another great part about doing these activities whole group is the videos and games. The scholastic website has videos and interactive games that coincide with the magazine. It is a great wrap up to the lesson.
Small Group – I often have parent helpers come in to work with my students during language arts centers. (Be sure to check out my language arts centers blog post!) One of my favorite ways to use the Scholastic Magazines is to put it in the science center. I then have a parent helper read through it with the students. The small group reading allows for every student to have an opportunity to read, unlike the whole group lesson.
The scholastic website also has printable resources that coincide with the magazines. Rather than watch the video with the magazine, I have the parent help students complete the written activity instead. It switches things up, but the students still love it!
Reading Groups– Every month, the Scholastic Magazines include a rebus reader! I often use these during my small group reading. This really helps individualize my instruction and helps students to have more confidence when reading independently! And it creates a way to connect science and social studies to language arts!
Language arts centers in my classroom are the best way to have students independently working on a variety of reading and writing skills. This time also allows me to meet with individual groups of students for guided reading.
Each week I have ten working centers that students rotate through as the week goes on. Students will do two or three centers, depending on the week. For example, if it is a five-day week, we will complete two centers a day. By the end of the week, students will have completed all ten centers. By having ten centers, students have a variety of working centers and play centers. It also limits the number of students in each group, which I believe helps with their ability to independently work. My centers run about 15-20 minutes each, totaling about 40 minutes of center work a day.
I often have parent helpers come in during center time as well. This is especially helpful in the beginning of the year, when students are still learning the center procedures. I explain a few of the parent led centers below.
Poem Center – In this center, students work on a variety of reading skills through the use of poetry. Each week, students have a different poem to work with. The activity changes, depending on the poem. Students can practice finding sight words, illustrating a picture, or a written response to the poem.
Alphabet/Word Work Center –
This center changes and adapts as the year goes on. In the beginning of the year, students work on learning and using the letters of the alphabet. As the year goes on, this center can be used for working on sight words, or CVC words. This center can be a worksheet or a hands-on game.
Writing Center – This center also changes and adapts at the year goes on. In the beginning of the year, it works on learning sentence structure and inventive spelling. Towards the middle and end of the year, it works on applying that knowledge to independent writing. Students may work on mixed up sentences or “squiggle writing”. Students may have a specific writing prompt, or free write. The writing center can also be a “write the room” activity.
Handwriting Center -The handwriting center is a way to incorporate the handwriting program my school uses – Handwriting Without Tears. Students have their own personal handwriting workbooks that teach the formation of letters and words. These workbooks are used when I have a parent helper in the center. Otherwise, the handwriting center has whiteboards where students can practice writing the alphabet, sight words, or “write the room”.
Listening Center – This center is where students listen to a book on CD and do a written response to it. The book either aligns with the current author study or language arts unit.
Math Center – The math center is my way of connecting different areas of curriculum. The math centers can be a worksheet or a hands-on math game. It aligns with our current math unit.
Science Center – The science center in my way of connecting different areas of curriculum. The science center can be a writing response to a science lesson, or a hands-on science game. I also occasionally use the weekly Scholastic Let’s Find Out readers in the science center. This would be when I have a parent helper in the center.
Computers – Students use the classroom computers to practice language arts skills. Two common kid-friendly websites I use include starfall.com and abcya.com.
Library Center – The library center is where students can do free reading in our classroom library. I have pillows and stuffed animals in the library as well to create a comfortable, safe reading environment.
Puzzles Center – The puzzles center is one of the play centers I incorporate into my language arts centers. I have a variety of learning puzzles that practice reading, rhyming, and spelling. Students can choose which puzzles they would like to do.