Do you have learning centers in your classroom? Does your framework for your learning centers have a nice clear flow? Learning centers are one of the best ways to reach as many of your students as possible right where they are! However, if you don’t have a good set up, it can be a disaster. While there are so many reasons to use learning centers, the set up is essential! The best way is to use this easy framework for learning centers: keep it stink’n simple! KISS your worries goodbye with this easy framework and watch your centers blossom!
(Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links that if used may, at absolutely NO additional COST to you, provide FHE with a small commission. We strive to only share and support products we have personally used and believe to be of great quality and value. We appreciate you using our links and supporting our blog this way.)
Step 1: Make Your Learning Centers Clear
The first piece of framework you need to make sure your centers are a success is clarity! An easy framework for centers starts with students knowing exactly what to expect when it is center time whether that’s for math or literacy!
Minimal Materials Create Clarity
In addition, it should be minimalistic. Being minimalistic means you do not have a whole tote of materials. All of your materials for your learning centers should be in a small compact box that is easy to store.
Use Centers for Review!
Finally, to create the easiest framework, make sure the materials are nothing new! When you are looking through your center activities, make sure it is all material you have covered. One of be benefits of centers is they promote independent learning. However, if you’re giving students new things to work on in centers, they will not be able to do it on their own.
Step 2: Create Functional Centers
To keep it simple, functionality is one of the most important parts of creating an easy framework for your centers. When students come into your classroom and they are doing literacy and math centers, they need to know exactly what is expected of them. The way your centers function should be purposeful and consistent. When a timer goes off, students should know exactly where to go next to work on the next thing. There should never be a question as to where the students should be or what they are doing.
Another piece of functionality is knowing exactly what is needed for each center and ensuring all the materials are there. When you are putting your centers together for your class, you want to make sure everything need from worksheets to manipulatives are available. If you are working on digital centers, you will also want to make sure chargers are available for students.
Expect the Unexpected in Your Framework
Finally, always have a plan for the unexpected! You know your classroom can be a revolving door of interruptions, a student vomiting, or who knows what! Have a “if this” plan. If something happens in the classroom whether that’s a surprise assembly or a fire drill, make sure your students know what to do when they are in their centers. Keep in mind, your plan should be simple. Always remember KISS!
Step 3: Consistency is Key for an Easy Framework
The final piece to an easy framework for your centers is consistency. You can’t expect students to know what to do if you only do centers here and there. You should run your center rotations every single day even on the days where you know you’ll be interrupted. A simple two-minute rotation just for muscle memory can be incredibly helpful to help make your centers flow in your classroom. This can include getting the materials box or simply moving around the classroom.
Have Your Centers Ready to Rock
Make sure you have your centers ready to go and available. Even if you have your students grab the center box and take it to that center station, you don’t want them to pick out the box with that center’s information in it. If you do, they are likely to pick the wrong one and that might create confusion. With this, you want all of your centers organized so you can easily pull one out and put another one in. If a group is getting ahead or getting restless, you can have another center waiting in the wing for them to do with a quick clean up and switch out. This is why having clear shoe boxes that are clearly marked can be so helpful!
Give Your Centers a Home for Easy Access
In order to have a successful switch when needed, make sure all of your centers are easy to get to. Whether that’s in a physical classroom or online make sure your centers have a home in your classroom. Having your center materials ready for the year, can make an easy review when something doesn’t last as long or when you find you need to review a bit more before moving on to a new concept.
Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel
If you don’t know how to put a center together, find resources on TpT. You can find yearlong center bundles for several grade levels in my store or you can learn how to make your own! A great way to learn how to make your own is to study already made centers. You won’t be able to find everything on TpT, so find a style you enjoy and mimic it with your own materials.
Centers have so many benefits in your classroom! If you keep it stickin’ simple, you can make your centers run like clockwork! Making sure you have clear rules, fluency, and consistency will ensure your students are getting the most out of their learning centers.
Until Next Time…
Keep Being Education Rock Stars