Classroom Center Time by Julie Hartley, First Grade Teacher
In a recent staff email, we received notice of a potential upcoming meeting. Knowing that typical meetings include lots of sitting and listening, we were surprised and delighted when we found the agenda to include the following activities: #1- Wine and Coffee tasting Station #2-Positive Affirmation Station (with praise from a former student who is happy and well-adjusted); #3- Nature-Sounds Station with Noise-Canceling Headphones (for being still and relaxed); # 4- Nap Station (to catch up on sleep after late-night hours of planning and grading papers); #5- Pictures/Videos of Cute Animals (squealing encouraged) and #6- Cupcake Station (because after a long day, who can’t use a sugary pick-me-up?) While it turned out to be a humorous article a fellow teacher found on the internet, we all wanted to be a part of a staff meeting like that and it sparked a fun question: What if there were centers for teachers? The ideas are endless because centers open up a world of possibilities.
In first grade, we use learning centers as an essential part of our day, especially for math and literacy time. We also use them occasionally in other subject areas like science and social studies. No matter the subject area, learning centers can help meet the diverse learning styles and varied skill levels of our learners. In our class, we usually do 4 math and/or literacy centers each day, rotating after 10-12 minutes at each station. Each center approaches a particular academic objective in a different way, and when used together, this format can be a powerful tool for reaching kids at all levels with varying learning styles.
The most important center in our classroom is Teacher Table, where students meet with me for small group or sometimes one-on-one direct, focused instruction. Groups may be formed based on a particular skill that needs reinforcing, or introducing a new strategy in a targeted way, or to give support or enrichment opportunities to students. Groups can be flexible and change depending on the challenges and strengths of each child, keeping in mind that academic objectives can be met in various ways.
Another important center is Math Games/Word Work, which involves hands-on activities that reinforce whatever concept or content the class is working on. For math, that may look like a dice game where adding and subtracting or place value is being practiced, or for literacy it might be working with word or letter tiles to practice spelling and writing skills. Collaborating and sharing ideas takes place in this activity-based center, and it is amazing to see them teaching each other. Experts say that more learning takes place when you do something yourself, and even more so when you teach a skill or new understanding to someone else; Math Games and Word Work Center provides practice with both of these.
Learning with peers is important, but it is also crucial to have independent time to practice what’s being taught in whole class or small group lessons. For this we use Read to Self or Math Work Centers, where kids are working on their own to improve and solidify their learning. They are reading books at their own individual level and are working on assignments independently. They may have their own personal list of sight words or math facts to master, and this center provides a dedicated time to focus on individualized educational goals.
Our last center is Technology and with the use of our Smartboards and classroom iPads, the world is at their fingertips. Students can explore concepts and practice skills using a multitude of apps specifically designed to enhance learning. There are many wonderful educational apps that save a personal account for each student, allowing them to customize their levels and speed of progression. Incorporating iPads in center time is important to get our kids learning concepts in yet another way that is particularly relevant given today’s societal emphasis on technology.
When you ask my first graders why they love center time so much, I suspect they won’t tell you it’s because they are practicing skills in many different ways, or that their individual needs are being met- because that’s the teacher’s secret. They will say they like center time because it’s fun, and when you want to truly engage kids, if they can have fun while learning you have hit the jackpot. So for that reason above all others, learning centers will always have a place in my classroom.
Calendar of Events – Click Here
Wed. 2/1: 8:40 AM Chapel led by Grade 4 – Jairus’ Daughter, Luke 8 / 6:00 PM PTH General Meeting
Fri. 2/3: Free Dress Day / 3:00 PM Hope Cheer Bake Sale
Wed. 2/8: 8:40 AM Chapel led by Grade 2 – Birds and the Flowers, Matt. 6:25-33
Fri. 2/10: Deadline for 2nd Half Teriyaki/Pizza Orders / 6:00 PM Daddy Daughter Dance
Registration for Fall 2017
Just a reminder that our registration for the fall of 2017 is open. If you have not registered yet, please do so as soon as possible. Access keys for each student were sent home in the Tuesday envelope last week. Please call the office if you did not receive it or have misplaced it. To register visit: https://secure.k12online.us/hope-lutheran-school
PIP Opportunities – Click Here
Don’t forget to check out SignUpGenius for PIP Opportunities! Just go to http://www.signupgenius.com/ and search by email@example.com. PTH has many of volunteer needs during the evenings and weekends coming up in the next 2 months.
Father/Daughter Dance 2/10, Middle School Dance, and much more!
Save the Date – March 15 – Donuts with Dad
Clothing Drive Results – Congratulations 4th Grade!
Congratulations to Ms. Kuhn’s class who collected the most clothing per student for PTH’s Schoola Clothing Drive. Prize information is forthcoming!
PTH General Meeting – February 1 @ 6:00 PM – Earn Double PIP Hours!
Come join your PTH Board and learn of the exciting things planned for the 2nd trimester and beyond, as well as upcoming PIP opportunities, how you can make a difference, and more! The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm in the Church Commons followed by dessert (please bring your favorite dessert to share) & social time after our meeting. For those with younger children, childcare will be available from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Street side parking may be available as well as in the lot just southwest of the school on 42nd Ave. SW and Oregon. Double PIP hours apply and your students name will be entered into a drawing for a free dress pass!
Support Hope Cheerleaders! Bake Sale February 3
On Friday, February 3rd, Hope cheerleaders will host a bake sale after school to raise funds towards their LEST competition! Please send your child with a dollar or two to help us make this year a big one for Hope cheerleaders at LEST!
2nd Half of WA D.C. Teriyaki & Pizza Hot Lunch Program – Order Deadline February 10
You can now renew or sign up for the 2nd half of the school year for either pizza or teriyaki/gyoza or both for your child to enjoy on Monday’s and Friday’s. Order forms are being can also be found on our website under “Parents” link here. Order forms are due Friday, February 10th and please note we are unable to process late orders. Pizza for the 2nd half will start Friday, February 24th and teriyaki/gyoza begins on Monday, February 27th. Contact Kevin McFeely at 206-715-2072 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Daddy Daughter Dance – February 10, 6-8 PM, Fellowship Hall
Calling all dads and daughters! Put on your finest party clothes (and dance shoes) for a Daddy Daughter Dance filled with sugar, spice, and everything nice. Enjoy an evening filled with great music, dancing, crafts, games, raffles, and light refreshments at Hope. Pre-order your ticket here by February 3 for the special price of $20 per couple, $5 for additional daughters. Tickets purchased at the door will be $25 per couple, $5 for additional daughters. Don’t delay- limited to 100 couples! Note: Any special adult such as an uncle or grandfather is welcome to accompany each little lady on this enchanted evening. All proceeds benefit Parents and Teachers of Hope (PTH) Programs.
LEST Dates February 16-18, 2017 – For Information Click Here
Get Your Spirit Gear!
LEST (Lutheran Elementary Schools Tournament) is just around the corner! PTH has a limited number of Spirit Kits that will be available for purchase for $12. Spirit Kits include 2 pom poms, 2 blue & gold bead necklaces, 2 blue & gold leis, blue & gold makeup sticks & Eagles hand fan. Extra Eagle hand fans ($3) and Hope Car Flags ($5) may be purchased. Email PTH at email@example.com to find out how to order yours!
School Clubs – Click Here
Note that Lego Club K-2 will meet in February on the 7th & 28th.
Hope Church & Youth Events – Click Here