Successful Centers in Kindergarten

Hey Friends! What a wet summer it is here in Oklahoma! I just love to lay on the couch and read when it rains! I have been doing a lot of reading and reflecting. I am joining up with Mary at Sharing Kindergarten, Crystal at Kreative in Kinder and Kelly at Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten. We knew that this is a teacher's time to reflect and work through their classroom procedures and management. So we are all posting about Centers. 

I just love it when my students are at Centers. It allows them to not only get hands on enrichment but it also allows them to move their little bodies around! It also allows me to differentiate to their different needs and abilities. I also love that I am about to work with small groups during this time.

Every summer I reread two books. No teacher can do centers the exact same, it would be silly to expect that. My teaching partner is fabulous. We teach almost identically. However; our centers procedures are completely different. So saying that. I read these two books, and this is what I took from them.

To keep a classroom full of 20 5-year-olds you are going to have to have a little bit of organization, and a pinch of magic! When I do centers, I have 10 different things going on at once, so there HAS to be organization. If you ask my husband, (Or anyone else for that matter) he will tell you I am the most unorganized person ever! But in my classroom, although it is messy, and stacks of papers all over my desk. My centers are organized and the best part, is the kids keep it organized.

 Part One: How to keep all my pieces together.
I don't know about you, but at the end of last year, I had a huge dishtub FULL of random center pieces. It was a MESS. How in the world was I going to keep these guys organized, especially since I have centers for about 30 different themes?! I went out and bought 10 binders, and enough page protectors and tabs to last me a life time. I sat down and first sorted all my center pieces by month, then sorted each month by theme. And into the binders they went. 

Part 2: Where do you keep it all?
I am SOOO lucky that I have these gorgeous shelves in my classroom. (Nevermind that they are exposed at all times) If you notice, there are ten columns of cubbies. And each column has three cubbies at the bottom for my kiddos backpacks and two on top filled with white crates. These are my special monthly crates that I spent all last summer buying 2 from every Dollar General in the 4 state area. The top row houses all my center binders and games and manipulitives (And in the February is all my extra Valentines and Our Elf is in the December box). The bottom row is all of our books for the month. Easy to keep track of where my centers are at all times. If I find a random turkey in the middle of March, I can easily pull out one tub and put that Tom back where he belongs.

Part 3: How do you organize what the kids are using?

Each week I have 4 tubs, they are always the same activity but with a different theme and skill. I have them stacked nicely on the counter. Always the same place. The kids have learned very quickly where they are, and are very independent 

IS there a way that you are going to be organizing your centers this year? Please let me know!! I am going to be back later with some management strategies

Want to check out some more ideas for Centers?! Head on over to see Mary, Crystal and Kelly's posts on centers! They have some GREAT ideas!!


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