Happy Halloween!  Today, I was Batgirl… a big hit with my kiddos {and trick-or-treaters at my house}!  I don’t know about you, but I am stuffed full of pizza, chips, and candy!  It was a bad eating day for sure 🙂

I recently posted a photo of this year’s center work board on my Instagram, and it sparked some interest among Cupcake followers!  Here is the pic I posted:

I changed things up from last year… I’ll explain how I make things work!

I have six groups {giraffes, bears, hippos, zebras, lions, tigers} and each group includes 3-4 students on different skill levels.  This way my kiddos can help each other, and it cuts down on interruptions during guided reading.  Each day, groups visit one center for about 30-35 minutes.  After the first marking period, groups will visit two centers per day for about 20 minutes each. 

  Since I have six groups, I have six center baskets {labeled #1-6} and since there are only five days in a week, I do two separate center rotations {35 mins each} on Wednesdays to ensure that every group gets to every center.  I happen to have extra time on Wednesday mornings, so this works perfectly for my class.  On Monday, the giraffes will complete basket #1, on Tuesday they’ll do basket #3, and so on.  When I move to two centers per day {and I guess four on Wednesdays} I will have a second set of six baskets in a different spot, also labeled #1-6, to cut down on confusion.

I have found that numbering my center baskets is much better {for me} than labeling them with specifics like “write the room,” or “word work.”  With numbers, I’m not limited and I can throw whatever work I want into whichever basket.  It’s just easier and quicker for me this way.  Each week I always include a writing center, a buddy reading center, and a spelling center; the other three vary but always have something to do with what we are learning, and they are usually themed!  Apples, pumpkins… the kids love it!

I used to put certain baskets at certain tables, and each day my kiddos had to move with the basket.  I look back and think that was insane.  Now, my groups start out in the same spot everyday.  I count to three and we sing a song as we all get up and go to our center starting points.  Each week we pick a new song so it doesn’t get boring!  This week we are singing The Wheels on the Bus.  My kids know where to go {bears start at table #2, zebras start at table #4, etc.}.  When we are done singing, my kiddos know to be QUIET and wait for instructions.  I quickly remind them which basket they’re working on that day, and my center captains {also changed weekly} are responsible for getting the baskets, handing out materials, and then making sure the baskets are organized and put away at the end of centers.  I usually give a five minute warning before clean up time… then we will sing again and head back to our regular seats.

And that’s that {I think}!  I hope I was able to explain my center routine in a way that makes sense.  If you have another other questions, I’d be happy to try and answer them!  Also, if you’re interested in my rotation cards, I put them into a Google doc for you to grab for free!  If you do pick ’em up, I’d love a comment! 🙂
Night, night friends!  Bugs and hisses for you!! 😉

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