Managing Student Centers in the Classroom

Eight elements can assist in developing and implementing an effective classroom management system.

Pre-Planning Activities
Form flexible groups based on assessment Identify appropriate center activities also based on assessment Design Center Management System

attitudes and work ethics of each student Monitor the progress of high risk students more frequently to make instructional changes or small group changes.Guidelines to forming flexible groups: Keep group sizes small (5-7 students maximum) Reduce the group size to 3-5 for students in need of intensive support Base small groups on instructional need with specific instructional strategies in mind Consider behaviors. .

there need not be a lot of fluff. Time must be a consideration. Plan with the learning objective. . not the product in mind.Identify appropriate center activities also based on assessment Students must participate in activities they may either do independently or with help from a peer of higher skill ability. Though activities should engage students.

Time: If you have allotted 20 minutes for the center and the activity only requires 10 minutes. Continuous support materials such as puzzles. . the students will need something else to do. letter stamps. magnetic letters and boards should be available at each center for use when students finish an activity.

During this time the teacher should be roaming the room monitoring students and providing assistance as needed.Implement a Behavior Management System Model. It may take at least six weeks to implement student centers before beginning teacher led centers. . practice and review appropriate classroom procedures to encourage positive classroom behaviors. Don¶t fret.

.Try: Send students to one rotation daily until they get the hang of it before trying two or three rotations daily because: Students need to be on task Teacher needs to focus on students at teacher led center and this isn¶t possible if students are off task.

Before implemention of student centers. students need to know what to do when:  Something does not work  They do not understand the activity at a center  They complete the activity  Whom to go to for help  How to clean up  How to decide who goes first in a pair or group activity .

When behavioral problems arise ask: Did I do an effective job teaching the activity Is the activity interesting to students? Have students mastered the skill and need to move on? Is the center too difficult to do independently? Did I introduce too many new centers at once? .

Checklist:        What should Ms. . Smith hear: Silence as students follow along In text Reading as students reread along With the narrator Listening center: What should Mrs. Smith see? Students sitting in chairs with feet on the floor Students using their pointer fingers to follow along in the text Only one student managing the tape recorder.

.Center Chart Checklist and management board support on task student behavior Teachers are responsible for: o o o o o Holding all students accountable Make consequences meaningful Being consistent when implementing the behavior management system Reviewing the rules and consequences Practicing classroom procedures.

It is important that students practice classroom routines again and again until the classroom centers and transitions are running smoothly. TEACHERS MODEL/REVIEW expected behaviors continuously .

Give Explicit Center Directions Model use of new center materials during whole group lesson or at the teacher led center Format: Teacher models and explains: Some activities need repeated modeling such as completing an open sort. . but some only require modeling once like an alphabet matching game.

Teacher Provides Guided Practice Students practice what the teacher models and the teacher provides prompts and feedback .

Teacher Provides Supported Application Students apply the skill as the teacher scaffolds instruction *Scaffolding instruction: The support that helps the student complete tasks that would be unattainable without assistance. .

Independent Practice Students apply the skill independently .

Organize the Classroom Enables the student to:  Easily locate materials  Focus on academic tasks  Use center time productively .

TEACH Students how to keep materials organized. . replace materials when needed. and clean up in an orderly and timely manner. Modeling behavior results in student cooperation in helping take care of centers and limits classroom disruptions.

nursery rhymes or playing word games while the students are cleaning up.Manage Transitions Variety of signals may be used to indicate to students that it is time to change centers Make every minute count by singing rhyming songs. BE CONSISTENT with all techniques .

Establish Accountability  Important that accountability is established for center activities.  Helps students stay academically engaged and to tell if students can apply what they have been taught  Give feedback in a timely manner    Prevents students from practicing the same errors Instills importance of quality work Shows the importance of the task .

but there does not always have to be a product. . Practice being aware of center activity. Students need to be accountable for work completed. even if you are actively involved with small group activity.Keep in Mind: The process of learning is more important than creating a product at each center.

Finally: Reading centers should provide opportunities for students to practice. and extend previously taught skills. planning appropriate teacher led and independent student center activities. and consistently monitoring progress will help support and manage centers in the classroom . Using assessment data to form groups. demonstrate.


Portland. E. Maine: Stenhouse Publishers. (2003) Literacy work stations: Making stations work. D. R. T.L. (Eds. (1998).: National Academy Press Teacher Resource Guide: Center for Reading Research. Burns.C.S. M. Delaware: International Reading Association Snow.).E. P. (eds.E.References: Diller. (1995) The literacy dictionary: The vocabulary of reading and writing.. Newark. Washington. Florida Department of Education . & Griffin. Harris.). Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children. & Hodges. D.

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