The Big 3 for Planning Math and Literacy Centers

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Centers, the go-to place for enrichment, and review for teachers everywhere! When you are using centers appropriately, you can create depth in rigor in your classroom as you have never seen before. Before that happens, planning math and literacy centers need to happen. This plan can’t just be any type of plan it has to include three key components.

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Quick Math and Literacy Center Review

It’s important to note that math and literacy centers are there to enrich and review materials that you have already taught. If you are just learning how to multiply using the number three this week, that should not be a part of your math centers tomorrow. You want to make sure you are using your centers to review past material that is going to be relevant moving forward. This is why we use learning centers: to review and enrich.

Key Component 1: Creating Consistency in Learning Centers

Consistency is key is something we hear a lot in education. Have consistent expectations in centers is vital to keeping the cogs turning smoothly when you’re planning math and literacy centers. When students get into centers, there shouldn’t be anything they haven’t seen or practiced. This is true for the activities being used as well as any equipment that you might be using for digital centers. There are many benefits to digital centers just as there are printable centers. However, if they are not used consistently, they can become more of a hassle.

Key Component 2: Clearly Planning Math and Literacy Centers

When you are making a plan for your math and literacy centers, you want to make sure that the material being taught is clear. This goes back to KISS: keep it stickin’ simple! Because the purpose of math and literacy centers is to review and use what students already know at different levels, the activities should be something students have seen and worked with before. In addition to having clear materials, you want to have clear cut standards and expectations for your students. Having all-around clarity when planning your math and literacy centers is key for keeping good classroom management.

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Key Component 3: Finding Functionality in Learning Centers

If there’s one thing you want your centers to do well, it is function! If your students can through the center rotation without any “roadblocks” getting in the way, you have accomplished something big! When you are teaching your students how to use centers, make sure you practice the rotation of the center stations in your classroom. If you have five minutes to spare, use it for a “center drill”. A center drill is just like a fire drill. When you are planning math and literacy centers, you want to make sure your students know exactly where they are going and that’s what a center drill will teach them.

In addition to students knowing exactly where they are going, you want to know exactly how much time each student will have in a center and plan accordingly. How much time a student has in each given center will depend on your center framework.

Using the 3 Components of Planning Math and Literacy Centers

Choosing how to set up your centers is completely up to you. As long as you are following these three big components, consistency, clarity, and functionality, they are sure to be a success. A big part of having the three main components is making a plan for centers. You can grab a Learning Centers Planner to use in your classroom which will help you keep everything running smoothly.

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Planning math and literacy centers is not an easy task. However, if you keep your three components in mind and use your centers for review and enrichment, your students will be soaring in no time! Need to know more about how centers work? Sign up for the Learning Centers Made Easy class!

Until next time…

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