Sunday, 12 June 2016

Keeping Centers Under Control

Center work happens in my classroom every day. Together, my students and I have been working pretty hard on our routine since the beginning of the year. At this stage of the year, most of my students have grasped the concept of working independently. Though, there are still a few students who need extra guidance. I'm going to share my top 3 tips that have had results :)

#1 - Noise Meter
These have been around for a while but they are very effective!

Here are my two favourites;

These tools both work the same way, they use your computer's microphone to pick up on the noise level and the graphics on the screen move depending on how noisy the students are.

I have been using Calm Counter. Students must keep the arrow out of the red zone. This has been a major help in keeping the noise level down during center time. As it is real time, students are provided with instant feedback on how noisy they are. It also means that they can monitor the level themselves rather than have me tell them to work quietly. Win!

There are also apps for iPads and smartphones which can be Air Played but I have not used them yet.

#2 - Good Choices and Poor Choices Sort
 Setting up expected behaviour choices is a must. I created a 'Good Choices' and 'Poor Choices' sorting activity with behaviours I had seen. As a class, we sat down and sorted these behaviours. I then stuck them on a coloured card to make a chart that is now displayed at the front of the room during center time.

I refer to this chart when needed. "What choice were you making? what choice should you be making?"

Check this out at my TPT store by clicking here or clicking on the image below.

#3 - Clip Chart
I know this has become a 'controversial' issue but I still have a clip chart in my room. I use this as a motivational tool.

Before we start our centers, I remind students that I am looking for students who are working hard, making good choices, working quietly, sharing and trying their best. At the end of the session, I go through and praise students and move them up the chart. When praising, I make sure I give specific feedback e.g. "I like the way x, was turning the pages carefully at the reading table". By giving specific feedback, it shows the students that I am watching what they are up to even though it appears that I am busy with my group. At the end of the day, students at the top of the chart are rewarded with Dojo Points. I also make sure to emphasise that those students who didn't move up or moved down still have a chance to move up in the next session. Positivity is key!

You can check out my Clip Chart by clicking here, or by clicking on the image below.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!