Items to include in Centers
These are some great items to always in the centers:
Literacy Center: Various children's literature - Tape recorder - Headsets and taped stories - Pencils/pens/markers - Lined and unlined writing paper - Stapler - Construction paper - 3 x 5 cards - Hole punch - Letter stencils - Typewriter/computer - Puppets - Various storytelling devices (Ex: rolled movies) - Stationary with envelops - Felt, wood, and magnetic letters - Rhyme games - Color games - Alphabet cards - Environmental print books and posters - Library corner with bathtub, pillows, and beanbag chairs
Book making materials: Puzzles - Teacher-made games - Teacher-made big books - Dry erase board
Math: Scales - Rulers - Measuring cups - Clocks - Stopwatch - Calendar - Play money - Cash register - Calculator - Dominoes - Abacus - Number line - Height chart - Hourglass - Felt, wood, magnetic numbers - Fraction puzzles - Geometric shapes - Polyhedrons - Books related to math
Dramatic Play: Something related to the previous unit
Art: Easels - Watercolors - Brushes - Colored pencils - Crayons - Felt-tip markers - Various kinds of paper - Scissors - Paste - Pipe cleaners - Scrap materials (fabrics, etc.) - Clay - Play dough - Food and detergent boxes - Books about artists
Science: Aquarium - Plants - Magnifying glass - Clay pets - Magnets - Thermometer - Compass - Prism - Shells - Rock collections - Stethoscope - Kaleidoscope - Microscope - Blank journals - Informational books
Block Area: Blocks of all sizes and shapes - Figures of people, animals, toy cars, and trucks - Paper and pencils - Related reading materials
Create a system that will easily show students what they should be working on. There are two pieces to this system: the poster for student work and the choice dial. Both of these items are created using poster board and laminated for use with an erasable marker. On the poster you will list the names of students who are in each group. (I have four groups on my poster.) Next, create your dial. The dial is actually made with two circles that are connected with a brad. For my larger, outside circle I used the following headings: teacher, choices, activity, and computer. When creating your dial, you will want to decide if you want permanent or “erasable” headings.
My system was for my math class, so I used various colored geometric shapes. You can easily customize your system’s design and size to meet your personal needs. You could use decorations from you classroom theme, names of groups, or even just letters. I would recommend keeping both items large enough that they can easily be read from various locations in the classroom. Prior to getting started with this system, ensure that the expectations for each of the headings are clear.