Centers are valuable educational tools that teachers can incorporate into their classroom. An effective center provides an educational activity to supplement classroom instruction. Centers allow students to work independently or together in small groups at various stations set up around the classroom. Here are some guidelines to help these centers function smoothly in your classroom.
- Establish rules Set time limits for the centers. Decide how many people will be allowed at each center. Show students how to behave, properly use and pick up the centers.
- Rotate assignments Decide if certain centers will be available on certain days or create a chart to decide who attends what center and when.
- Schedule Decide how to incorporate centers into the classroom schedule, and decide what kind of center best complements the current instruction being taught.
- Math center A math center could include math links to make patterns, dominos to count or peg boards to create shapes.
- Bank center The bank center could include a cash register, various coins, or pretend blank checks. Students can use the money center to add together coins, make change or balance pretend checkbooks.
- Computer center The computer center can be used for many things. Students can learn to type. Various software can be installed to supplement reading or math curriculums. The computer center can also offer games.
- Library Create a comfortable atmosphere with a large floor mat, bean bag or chair. Fill a small bookshelf with a variety of books. Students can use the library center to read to themselves or to each other.
- Art Paint, colors, markers and paper will keep students occupied at the art center.
- Audio Set up a tape recorder or headphones for students to listen to school-approved tapes. Students can follow along with a story while listening to tapes or students can sample music.
- Editor An editor's center gives students the opportunity to practice writing or using a typewriter. Students can also create their own newsletter using a template.
- Architecture Using modeling clay or blocks, students can use the architecture center to build towers or sculptures.
- Puzzle Use a desk or table that students can reserve to begin and complete different puzzles. The puzzle center can include 10-500 piece puzzles.
There are lots of different activities that can be incorporated into center time. Well structured centers can be very beneficial to a classroom's environment because they provide students with fun enrichment and variety.