I've read quite a few blog posts about centers and how a few teachers dislike them intensely. I can understand what they are saying because I would really dislike working with a small group of children and my other students were playing and making all kinds of noise in another area of my room. I wouldn't like that either. In fact, I couldn't teach with that going on.
I can teach with noise, the kind of noise where you can walk around and hear students talking about their work and what they are learning. I can't teaching with what I call "Noise Pollution." Nope. I will stop my class in a second if I hear talk that isn't related to learning.
There are times when talk is fun and students are just happy murmuring away about whatever strikes their fancy. Those times are usually at recess, the cafeteria or free time during the day. I hear this sometimes when students are reading to a stuffed animal in the room. They are retelling a story and getting sidetracked about their experiences. I usually let this just happily end with the story. I expect centers and carpet time to be learning time. They can talk, but I tell them it has to be "Academic Talk." Yes, Kinders know what that means if you explain it.
I enjoy centers. I like the whole process. Finding center work that is engaging and meaningful, which means my students are having fun learning, is not easy. Once you have your centers in place, and the students know what to do, it is really not work at all. I don't add everything at once. Especially since I started the Daily 5. Word Work is next for my class and I am looking forward to this.
One of my centers for Word Work is my Sight Word Cut And Paste. I have this for Pre-Primer, Primer, and First Grade Words. I also have the 100 Fry Sight Word Word Work product that was requested by a teacher. This does not have as many graphics and the students can focus more on the academics. Either way, all the work is done for you. It is easy for students to understand after the first few days of instruction.
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