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Literacy Centers in Our Classroom
In our classroom we use the "Must-Do/Can-Do" center approach. We have 12 literacy centers, but only 6 centers are in a rotation at a given time. Since students sit at tables in our classroom, our center rotation is by tables. Students go to one center per day.
Why use the Must-Do/Can-Do approach?
This type of center provides an activity that students must do at a center. When students finish the "must-do" activity, they can choose between a list of "can-do" activities that reinforce the same skill/concept. Since students only visit one center per day, this allows enough time for all students to finish the "must-do" activity. Students who work quickly can then choose a "can-do" activity (or multiple ones!) This type of approach also ensures that students are completing tasks that the teacher sees as most important, while still allowing students to have a choice in activities.
Where are centers stored?
Centers in our classroom are stored in cubbies in the back of the room. Baskets of the materials needed for each center are kept in bottom cubbies so students can access them easily. The "Must-Do/Can-Do" signs are taped to the top cubby so students can always refer back to their choices. This also allows me to use the top cubby as storage for items I may use in the center in the future, but keeps these items out-of signt at the moment.
When are centers used in our classroom?
In our classroom, we don't have a set center time. If you had time for a set center time each day, that would be great! We use centers during our reading and word study blocks. During these blocks, when students have completed their assignments for the day, they visit literacy centers. Some days not all students may visit the centers during each block.