Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Centering My Instruction

With the onset of my new classroom this fall, I have so much planning and preparation ahead of me still! So, as I slowly but surely tackle each item on my checklist of To Do’s, I figured it would be best to share my completed items as I proudly and gratefully cross them off my list! 

With next year’s self-contained classroom setting, I have been stewing over how I can make sure that I have enough time to teach basic functioning skills as well as academic skills. There is just so little time in my day once all the paraprofessional hours are factored in, specials, break times, etc.

So I chose to tackle the academic content first. And I have decided that what would work best for me is to schedule time for Academic Centers.

Here is the FORMAT for my Centers:

1.     I have created 4 total centers– Math, Word Work, Literacy, Computers.
2.     Centers will run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays only. I have a cooking curriculum to follow on Mondays, which I know will consume much of the day, and I wanted to leave Friday’s flexible according to what the student’s need that week, field trips, Me Binder time, or anything else that may come up.
3.     I will only run 3 of the 4 centers on a given day, and centers will be 15 minutes each with a 5 minute clean up time at the end. This totals 50 minutes of Academic Center Time on Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursdays.

Here is HOW I devised my plan:

My academic centers are 100% centered around student goals listed on their IEP’s. I realized going through the paperwork that the kids had roughly the same goals. So I set to categorizing all of the goals by subject, then by objective, and then listed activities below that would address these subjects and objectives. And wa – lah! Centers! 

Check out My Center Schedule Below! 

Here is WHY I chose to do this:
1.     Setting aside Academic Center time will guarantee that I am spending time in these areas, and on these goals, regardless of my crazy schedule.
2.     This frees up the other time in my day to work on life skills or do whole group academic lessons if I choose to.
3.     I will only have about 8-9 students, and at least 3 adults in the room. This means my centers will only have 2-3 kids in a group with an adult to guide each. With this format, the kids will benefit from the small group instruction and attention.
4.     The centers I will be running will primarily consist of review games. These games give students the opportunity to work with others, take turns, work as a team, etc., all while playing. Center Time will inevitably work on social skills and communication, which are also goals for the kids as well.
5.     I specifically chose NOT to do Math Centers one day, Word Work centers the next, etc. I wanted them to be switched up as much as possible so that I am not subjecting students to an hour of activities in a row that they may not like or that may be a trigger for them. I also think this will help the students to work on transitioning between different activities.  
6.     This center schedule will make it easy for me to prep for the next day’s lesson. I can just look at the day, the objective I wanted to hit, and choose any activity from the bulleted list below. I won’t have that guilt or panic feeling like I haven’t made enough time for a particular area, or have to struggle to remember the last time I reviewed something. These are constantly being rotated with the appropriate time given to each. 

Now that I have a schedule in place, I’ll just have to prep some materials in advance! Thank you Pinterest and Teacher’sPayTeacher’s with their FREE Downloads!

Check out my Pinterest Boards for my new centers!

I hope you find this helpful if you are in the same situation as me! I am also looking for more computer games that will address my math, word work, and literacy objectives, so if you know of any, please share!! Comments make my day!

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