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During back to school there is so much paperwork. So many readiness tests and getting into the swing of things with 25 plus little bodies running around that centers are the last thing on your mind! Back to school can be oh so very stressful for teachers. While you are giving Student A. a reading speed test, Student X. is freaking out about not having his mom in the room, Student D. is having a mini-meltdown about forgetting her favorite eraser, and Student P. is shoving a crayon in the electric pencil sharpener. Again.
How can one person wrangle so many kids and keep the engaged while you tend to assessments, sorting the boxes of Kleenex, or fill out paperwork?
I had no clue what centers were when I began teaching (they might have been called something else as a kid) so they were a lifesaver. The key to centers is to treat them like you would any other classroom procedure. Model, model, and model.
Model what each center entails, how they should act, what the purpose of the center is, how they will know when they are done, and what should be done with the center at the end. Next, get down a routine and rotation and the biggest thing….STICK. WITH. IT.
When I first started teaching I changed my center rotations so many times it was no wonder that when transition time came, it was a complete and utter bleepshow! There are many ways to have students adapt to center rotations.
Center Rotation Management Ideas
As a poor new teacher, I made a giant wheel out of posterboard and wrote the centers on it. The idea was to spin it and have a group do a certain center. Here’s a tip. Spring for a real wheel. Like any kind of wheel. Heck, it could even be a hamster wheel. The poster board method rarely if ever worked, and the groups would always land on the same one.
Another easy method is to use a pocket chart and just manually change the rotation. I know it’s not as fun and engaging, but it serves its purpose and is cheap!
For more center management ideas, check out this Amazon List!
When I was teaching there were many books with centers that could be laminated and cut out, but for some reason, I always had trouble finding seasonal ones. I wanted to be able to celebrate different seasons and holidays in the classroom by incorporating centers. When I started making resources for other teachers, I just knew I had to make centers that were seasonal!
All 47ish of my centers are available individually, as seasonal (or monthly) bundles, and as a year long bundle! Take a look at just some favorites of teachers like yourself!
Apple Even or Odd is a fun sorting game where students solve addition or subtraction problems and then sort the apples. This is great for back-to-school, Johnny Appleseed, or apple units!
Candy Corn Fact Families is a fun Halloween center where students put together the fact families using pieces of a candy corn.
Have students practice either addition OR multiplication with Turkey Spinners. After spinning the spinner twice, they will make an equation to solve. This can be made to be even more challenging by having a timer to see who can solve the most in that amount of time!
Build A Gingerbread House is a fun math center for students to practice either repeated addition or multiplication by designing and building a gingerbread house. This is a fun December center that isn’t based on a religion.
Dear Deer is a homophone center where student will match the words to fill in the blanks using the correct homophone.
Snowmen Place Value is a cool (no pun intended) place value center great for students to practice matching numbers with their written form and expanded form.
Snowball Complete and Incomplete Sentences is great for having students practice finding sentence fragments. Using the recording sheet this is also a great time to have practice improving handwriting.
Bugs and Bills Money Center Game is a fun and quick center for students to practice money! To play they simply match the bug that has the dollar amount to the leaf with coins and bills on it. Comes with 24 different bugs and matching leaves as well as a recording sheet! Great for a spring math activity!
Blooming Blends Center Game is a cute spring center game for students of any age! Your kids will love “planting” the words with the correct blends. They will be a pro at L blends ( bl, sl, fl, pl) in no time! Great for springtime and can be used for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade!
As said, all of these centers are available individually or in seasonal bundles! To go to any bundle, click on the image below!
To save the most be sure to snag the Year Long Math and ELA Second Grade Centers Bundle!