Saturday, April 26, 2014

Trying Centers - Part Three

So I finally tried centers with my third graders and I'm getting ready to do it again with second grade. Check out my previous posts, part one and part two in this series to see what mistakes I made in the past and the particulars of each center. Now that I've done a full rotation with all of the third graders I have some thoughts and reflections for using centers again in the future.

Pros of centers:

  • If prepared well, the centers can offer a level of differentiation that you don't get in whole group instruction.
  • We can play games in a whole group but it requires me to make more cards and have more dice and just more of everything. But in small groups it is easier prep for me game-wise and the students get more turns and chances to speak.  
  • Because every student was actively engaged, just walking around and listening in could give me an idea of where each student was at in terms of learning the new vocabulary.

Cons of centers:
  •  I would have liked to have modeled each activity in Spanish but since I have so little time I resorted to English to give them the instructions. This means I was under my 90% target but the students were speaking more Spanish so that was the trade-off. This is a con but I think it's a worthy trade-off at this point.
  • I need to figure out a system to make sure that MY expectations are the ones being observed in groups where the classroom teachers has a looser style.

  • It's a lot of prep beforehand because you're essentially preparing multiple activities for one class. The good news is that once you're ready you're good for several classes. 

Things I will try to remember to do next time:
  •  Make sure I have different levels at each activity so students can pick which level they need.
  • Add some sort of accountability sheet for at least one station so I can get a better idea of where each student is and that they are participating like they should.
  • Try to model in Spanish so I can keep to my 90% target language goal. If I do similar games with different vocabulary this should be possible the next time.

So what have been your experiences with centers/stations/carousel? Please share in the comments below. I love suggestions!

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