The question I get the most often is where to get the soft foam dice that I use ALL the time! I have 2 sets of these buggers because I love them so much! I purchased mine (and got one as a gift!) from our local teacher’s store. But, I have found them at Amazon.com
Here is another language arts version:
I’ve seen them in packs of three too. I just file the cards that come with them away and pull them out as I need them.
When you make the centers for your child to use at the tables do you make more than one center or do they share?
It depends on the center. USUALLY, I just make one. I teach them how to pass them around and take turns at the beginning of the year. My children sit at tables (some round, some rectangle), and I think it’s a super important skill for them to learn. As we know, many children come to school not ever having played a board game at home, so there is a learning curve for some!
How you incorporate the centers into your daily schedule? Do the kiddos work well independently? Do you collect their work for assessing? Do they pretty much all understand the material presented in the center?
I have a separate time for math centers and literacy centers. The time and length changes as the year goes on. In the beginning of the year, they are exploring with manipulatives, learning how to work quietly, how to read the pocket chart for their assigned center, and so on. I slowly add one or 2 “paper and pencil” centers as they are ready. I think it’s important for kindergarten kids to be writing during center time – they need to build up their hand strength, and practice writing letters. Again, as you know, many kiddos come in not knowing how to even hold a pencil let a lone write a word!
Right now, my literacy centers are scheduled right after recess – the kids come in hang up their coats, and go to their center. They have learned to just grab the “drawer” that the activity is housed in. Math centers are after we come back from specials in the afternoon. I usually do a quick mini-lesson or play a game and sing a song and then the children to their math centers. When they are finished, they are allowed to do “bonus math.” They love this! I’ll make a separate post on that later!
This is the pocket chart for Math – the red chart that you see just above the blue one is for literacy centers. Math centers use the numbers 123…, literacy centers use the ABC… They children go to one center each day, and at the end of centers, I rotate the numbers. The yellow transparency shows who is table captain – that is the person that is responsible for getting the center and putting it away.
The children start to understand pretty quickly how to do each center, the basic ideas for centers stay the same throughout the year, the skills just change. I always introduce the centers at the beginning of the week. Sometimes I do it at the carpet, sometimes I do it at my guided reading table. Just depends on my mood!
The children do become pretty independent after they have gotten the hang of it! There are always the ones that struggle that need my help and guidance. I walk around during centers and help those that really need it. Right now, I am not pulling any groups, but that will change after I go back.
I DO look at every child’s work – it might be AS they are working or it might be at the end. If they have mistakes, I make them go and fix them. I look at it right when they’re done. If I collect them to look at them later, I know I will never get to it, and it will become a mountain of paper! If kids don’t finish, their work (usually because they are messing around!), they have to finish it during play time! NO FUN!
Literacy centers and math centers are my favorite times of the day – they get to practice the skills that were presented to them. The kids have so much fun, and I LOVE being creative and coming up with new centers that I know they will enjoy!
How do use organize your centers? Do your kiddos rotate every 15 min. or so or choose a center?
I use the drawers pictures above. They go to one math center and one literacy center a day.
I'm very interested in doing the calendar books but I'm wondering where you got the pages for the smartboard.
I have a Promethean board in my classroom, and although it is the same as a Smartboard (both interactive white boards), the software is different. I create all of the pages for my Promethean board. I learned a lot on my own through trial and error and my district offered a class on how to create pages. I HIGHLY recommend taking a class if your district can get you to one. I thought I knew a lot, but after taking the class, I learned that there are easier ways to do it, then how I was doing it! I love easier!
So, every month, I create my new pages as well as other pages to use with lessons. I can’t share these however, since I use a lot of clipart, and sharing clipart is a no-no.
Most of the pages that I use for calendar books are from Kim Adsit and Shari Sloane’s calendar packet. Shari also has a lot of pages on her website. If there is a skill that I want to practice that they don’t have, I create it myself. I try to post some monthly skill pages that I have created for each month (you may need to look back at last year to find these). I’ll be working on the new February song and it will be posted soon!
If you have more questions, post them below, and I’ll try to answer them if I can!