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How to Schedule Math and Literacy Centers Into Your School Day

There are 24 hours in a day and sometimes you need 30 in order to get everything done! In the classroom, the hours feel like minutes and the minutes feel like seconds especially when your to do list is a mile and a half long. How do schedule math and literacy centers into your day when there's only so much time? Easy! You follow this simple framework and remember: you have time!

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Keep Calm and Schedule Math and Literacy Centers

We all know there are only so many minutes in a day and there's a lot to fit in! However, there is time for math and literacy centers as long as you take time to schedule them into the day. One way to schedule them in is to think about how you are currently using your math and literacy time. Is there room in there for review? Centers are a great way for students to review past material that will carry over to the new information you are learning. You can have your students work on math and literacy centers if they finish early as well. Like we have said, time is precious and you should be milking very minute you can! If that means you have students work for ten minutes before lunch, that's ten minutes of extra review they got and they are ten minutes closer to mastery!

Need Help Creating a Schedule? Follow my Framework!

There are many different facets to centers that we have to think about in order to make them effective. Not only do you need to have a framework for behavior, you also need to have a framework for scheduling.

Use Small Groups

To start, teach your students in small groups. Small group instruction is easier for a variety of reasons. One, you have fewer students to work with at a time. Two, it is easier to differentiate. You maybe be teaching the same lesson on multiple different levels throughout the day, but you are meeting students where they are currently at. Right now, that is one of the most important things you can do as a teacher. Meet. Students. Where. They. Are.

While you are giving small group instruction, your other students can be working in math or literacy centers giving them more time to learn specific skills.

How to Schedule Your Centers

How you schedule your centers will vary depending on how much time in a day you are devoting to them. If you're asking yourself how much time you should give to math and literacy centers in your classroom, that will depend on what you are teaching. For example, in fourth or third grade, you might be able to use 90 minutes, but in second or first grade you might only be able to schedule in 60 minutes. If you are in a rush or have younger students, 45 minutes can still be effective.

90 Minute Math and Literacy Centers


When I have 90 minutes for math and literacy centers, I typically have five different groups. Each group gets 16 to 17 minutes in each center with a few minutes, one to two, in between to clean up. If you know your students take longer to move or you need to have time to sanitize, then you might want to borrow a minute or from the rotation time.

Schedule 60 Minute Centers


This schedule is very similar to the 90 minute schedule but you have four groups instead of five and your rotations are only 13 to 14 minutes long. There is still the one to two minute clean up time. If you need more time, you should borrow it from the rotation time or consider moving up to the 90 minute schedule.

Math and Literacy Centers with a 45 Minute Schedule


This framework is not for the faint of heart! This is a fast paced format that is great for reviewing! In this format, you have three groups, 13 to 14 minutes of time for rotations and still a one to two minute clean up. While this seems like it is just like the 60 minutes schedule for math and literacy centers, that is far from true! When your'e down to 3 groups, there are more distractions for students so you need to make sure your management is on point!

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Making Time for Math and Literacy Centers

While it seems like a small activity, centers are really a BIG deal! They can help with test prep, reviewing, and they are easy to differentiate. Make sure you are making time in your schedule for this incredibly useful tools. Whether you're in the classroom or on the computer, centers can be the best tool for student mastery.

Until Next Time,

Keep Being Educational Rock Stars,

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