July 21, 2013

Let's Talk Centers!

Ahh...centers! The children love them, we love to make them, but I struggle with keeping the children accountable for them. I will tell them to make sure they don't go to the same center twice in one week until they have gone to every center, but they still go back to their favorites all the time. I know they are doing it and I let it go most of the time. Not a good strategy, I know.

I have tried the center poster that everyone does and I am not a fan personally. I like to give the children some choice in their center time instead of me telling them what center to go to each day. We always have to make choice and they should learn how to do it when they are young.
So a few members of our team brainstormed another way to keep track of centers. We came up with an idea which I have loved for years. We made center tags for every center that has the child's name on it. Kelly uses the same tags over and over every year and writes the students names on the tags with a sharpie. I print new labels every year with the children's names typed on them.

Depending on where the center is located, the tag is affixed using either magnets or Velcro. In the center is a container for the child to put their center tag in to when they are done with that center. Then the next day when they go to choose a center they know they can not do that one because their tag has already been taken down. It worked really well for the first couple of years. I noticed this past year that my students were not even taking down their tags anymore when they were done with a center, they really weren't using them at all.

So here I am again looking for a new way to work centers and keep children accountable for going to all the centers at least once a week before they repeat a center. I LOVE the tags and I do not want to do a chart.

So my question to  you is: What do you do in your classroom?? How do children choose their centers and how do you hold them accountable for the material in centers?

Thank you for your advice in advance! I am looking forward to hearing from you!


  1. This year, I will be using Fountas and Pinnell's idea of the Work Board. I will post it on my blog whenever I get it created! The tags idea seemed like a great one. It's hard to pick one method and stay with it, because each group changes so much every year!

    1. Thank you for the idea! We will be looking for it on your blog! We agree with you that is hard to find that one great system that will work every year. The tags have worked well up until last year but I do believe that I am to blame for some of it and not following through with the children.

  2. Hi Kim and Kelly,
    I just found your blog and am your newest follower. :) I will be checking back for ideas on centers so I can get one! haha! Many teachers in our school do workboards, too- Fountas and Pinnell- but I find that confusing to me and the kids- and too hectic for me. I have 4 centers that rotate every 15 minutes so I can be sure everyone goes to each one. One is with me, one is reading on the rug( that changes from partner/independent/poetry...), one is iPads ( it was computers but ours were changed with iPads this year) or an independent literacy activity, and one is with out TA who I have in the room for that hour. That works best for me because I know everyone hits all the spots and completes the center. It isn't totally "independent" but if I get there, I'll let you know! :)
    I'd love you to stop over to my blog if you get a chance!
    Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together


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