Sunday, February 17, 2013


Do you need a little “BAM” in your classroom right now?  Every day this coming week on my blog you’ll find simple (and inexpensive) learning centers that you can create.   My goal was to come up with centers that would engage children and that teachers could make in less than 15 minutes.  

One of the best things about learning centers is that you can integrate Core Standards with 21st Century Skills.  As children practice cognitive skills they will also be collaborating, communicating, problem-solving - and developing the executive function (task initiation, self-regulation, delayed gratification)!  Win!  Win! Win!

*Use these centers for independent, small group, or take home activities.
These could also be available for students who finish their work early.

*Store centers in zip bags, manila envelopes, pencil boxes, plastic tubs, baskets, etc.
Hint!  Color code with stickers to indicate content area and standard.

*”Invite” parents to be game makers and collect the materials and put the centers together for you.

*Share centers and rotate them with other teachers.  If there are 4 teachers on your grade level and you each made five, then you could rotate them a week in each class.  You’ve got centers for a month!

*Number centers 1-5 and ask children to do one each day.  You could also put a checklist with each center so children could cross through their name when they complete an activity.

*Adapt these games to specific skills and the needs of your students.  For example, with “In the News” pre-k children could highlight letters.  Kindergarten children could highlight word wall words.  First graders could find nouns or verbs.  Second graders could find a word for each letter of the alphabet and write them in alphabetical order.
In the News
Standard:    RF 3c, RF 1d
Materials:    newspaper, highlighter, paper, pencils
Directions:   Each child takes a section of the newspaper and highlights ten
                  words (or letters) they can read.  Next, ask them to write
                  the words (or letters)  on a sheet of paper.

Secret Code
Standard:    Counting, Operations
Materials:    old cell phone, paper, pencil, envelopes, index cards
Directions:   Write “secret codes” (words) on index cards and place them
                  in the envelopes.  Children choose an envelope and find the
                  numbers on the key pad that match the letters. 
                  Children write down the numbers and then add them up.
                  Hint!  Write the answer under the lid of the envelope.
                  *Use a single letter for pre-K, a two letter word for K, a three
                  or four letter word for first, and so forth.
Magazine Puppets
Standard:    SL 4, W 3
Materials:    magazines (sports), newspapers, catalogs, scissors, tape, straws
Directions:   Let children cut sports figures and other famous people out of
newspapers or magazines.  Tape to a straw to make a puppet.  What
would your puppet say if it could talk?  What questions
would you like to ask your puppet?
More!          Have students write a story about their puppets.