Organize Your Centers!

It's been a while since I wrote an "Organize Your..." post!  I realized during center time yesterday that I never blogged about how I keep my centers organized, so now sounds good to me :)

I split my class up into five groups: Giraffes, Elephants, Zebras, Lions, and Tigers.  They are grouped according to skill level.  The Tigers are my resource kiddos, and they work on the Wilson's program with the resource teacher during center time.  Here's a picture of my work board:
We have four centers that we complete weekly: writing, word work {this week it's Rainbow Write}, math, and buddy reading.  We complete those centers M-Th.  For each of the centers, I pull activities from either Treasures {our reading series}, or from the fun packs my bloggy friends make :)  In February, I'll start pulling centers from my oh so sweet pack!  On Friday, my centers are Teacher's Choice.  I like to do holiday/themed centers on Fridays to shake things up a bit :) 

I assign each group a center captain, who is responsible for gathering the materials for center work.  I keep the supplies in baskets {which are kept in cubbies}.  I have a bunch of baskets ready to go so I can switch them out from week to week, as necessary.  Here's a pic of one of the baskets:
There is a clothespin on the front of the basket holding a pic of the giraffe... so the Giraffes know that this is their basket for the day.  I rotate the pictures daily.  Inside this basket are all the supplies for this particular center:
*pencil bucket
*dice in little containers {to prevent them from flying everywhere}
*crayons in a slider case
*Rainbow Roll-n-Write directions
*folder with recording sheet & word lists:
My kiddos are pretty much pros at center time.  It took them a few months and a lot of practice, but now they know exactly where to go, what baskets to grab, and where to put them back.  I love a good routine!

How do you organize your centers?


Tiggeriffic 2nd Graders said...

Your center board is cute and colorful--mine isn't and I always tell myself I should update it, but I never find the right time! How long are your kiddos in Centers? I have my kiddos rotate and do 3 different ones a day, b/c I felt like some of my kiddos (super fast finishers) are done quickly with the ones I require a turn in page-like word work-and then I have to come up with something else for them, or if I do have something else there, they do it but their partners then struggle to finish b/c they want to do what their partner is doing. So after about 15-20 mins, I feel they need a change up. Centers are hard for me to keep fresh and going in a timely manner. I always feel like I'm being pulled away to help with pieces missing, cds not working, computer not working, etc.... Oh and do you do Reading groups while they are a centers? I am always curious how others run their centers and reading groups....thanks for sharing, I do like your pictures for your centers...looks like a summer project for me :)

Natalie said...

Love how colorful and organized your centers are! I need to whip mine into shape!

BTW we used your Rainbow Writing center this week for the first time, and my kiddos LOVED it!!!!

Teachery Tidbits

Miss Kindergarten said...

I TOTALLY had that ingenious folder idea the other night! Should've known that my genius cupcake already uses it! Love how organized you are!

Halle said...

I love that Center Board! So darn cute!

I do a version of the Daily 5 for centers during our RTI period. I only have one level {above}, so I don't have to plan different centers for different levels. I just bring up a chart I made in Power Point on the projector and they head to that center.

Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

Across the Hall in 2nd Grade

Unknown said...

I love how you organize your centers. I have a similar symstem but it's not nearly as organized. I am hoping to fix that. That Center Board is such a good idea! It would make it so much easier to get everyone organized. How do you keep your students on task? I have some students that are having a hard time getting started and completed with their work.


Ms. Richards's Musings

Kristen said...

I love your organizational ideas!! The work board is such an awesome visual (plus it's so pretty). And the folders are perfect...I wish I could visit your room! Happy almost weekend :)

Jessica said...

That's a very colorful idea. I like how you identify the groups as zoo animals, and don't let them identify with their current ability levels. Is it easy for you to swap students in and out of groups when they change?

The Learning Metamorphosis

Everyone Deserves to Learn said...

I do D-5, and use a hanging chart just like yours, only pitifully less colorful. I made it non-colorful on purpose, thinking "Oh, we'll change up how we do it in a few weeks." 3 months later, it's still the same. But it works! They pick their own centers besides working with me (3rd and 4th grade) and I have baskets and file folders set up for them on the back table. I don't use as many manipulatives in my centers, so those are easily contained in one basket.

Everyone deServes to Learn

Becky said...

Your center board is so adorable! I love the cute pictures. I also really like the idea of teacher's choice.

Last year I organized my centers similarly to you with a workboard and icons, but for the day only. I rotated the icons each day.

This year, I am trying out the Daily 5, so right now the kids read to self and read to someone, but I am about to introduce listen to reading and word work next week.

Thanks for sharing such great organizational tips!

Compassionate Teacher

Miss DeCarbo said...

I love it! :) I don't do centers (We do Daily 5 and Daily 4 Math) so I can't share any organizational tips, except my choice board is on the smart board, which definitely saves up some room space. Yours is oh-so-much-cuter though! :)

Sugar and Spice

Lisa said...

I love your centre pictures! I would totally buy them if they're in your store! I wish I could be half as organized as you.

Learning in Wonderland said...

Oh my gosh! You are so neat and organized! My centers are in buckets but they don't look anywhere near this cute :) I will have to work on that.

I love the center chart that you created. Everything is right there and easy to keep track of. Thanks for sharing these ideas!


Michelle Hudgeons said...

Love it!!
Michelle@ Smitten with First

Michele said...

You mentioned that your Special Educator does the Wilson program with the students in a center. Do YOU plan that lesson, or does the Special Ed teacher?

I'm curious because this has been an ongoing issue in my building.

Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

Unknown said...

Hi Teri,

I like your baskets with the clothespins:)

I´m using my calendar numbers!

I printed out 2 pages of the 1-16, laminated them, cut one up with little number frames, added velcro, & tadah! I have velcro with numbers on the baskets (1-16), when they are done with a basket they get to velcro their number to a the whole laminated page with all the numbers on it...working pretty well so far and also teaching them number recognition:)

I just gave away 1 set of my ribbon numbers as a freebie on my blog - your welcome to go grab them if you need them:)


Lyndsey (A Year of Many Firsts) said...

LOVE all of this! So cute, colorful, and fun. :) You've inspired me, cupcake!


Mrs. Saoud said...

Your center pocket chart is cah-ute!


Liz said...

Thanks for showing how you organize centers. I always find it interesting to see all of the different ways teachers can come up with!

Liz said...

Thanks for showing how you organize centers. I always find it interesting to see all of the different ways teachers can come up with!

Darling Little Learners said...

I love your center organization. I especially love the idea of clothes pinning the group name to the center. It makes it a whole lot easier for them to remember their center.

Darling Little Learners

Unknown said...

I wish I could be this organized!! My stations chart is "fluid" as I would like to say... so many kids moving levels up and down and around! I love how yours are all in folders- mine are in big ziploc bags!
Rowdy in Room 300

Unknown said...

My centers in my 1st grade class are usually a mess. Hopefully with these ideas I can organize them better.
Thanks for sharing this.

Fonts 4 Teachers
Fonts 4 Teachers in TPT

Traci Clausen said...

Your center basket, charts and folders make my organization addicted heart happy. :D

Love it all!
❤Dragonflies in First ❤

graciegirl said...

Would love to know where you picked up your pocket chart! Thanks for sharing this insightful post!

Miss D'Andrea said...

OMG I love your management board!! Did you make the cards?? Or did another genius blogger make it?? Details please!! Love love! Can you do another post with how you run these: timing-wise, what kids do when they're done, etc.?? Thanks! :)


Pam said...

Teri- in your post, you mentioned center captain and them being responsible for getting the center materials. Do you have any little cards or signs that the kids can "wear" that say some of the different jobs? Or do you know where I can get some? I have been thinking about using something like that for my centers. Thank you, Pam

Unknown said...

Can we purchase your adorable icons somewhere? Or at least tell us where you found them. I love the animals. It would match my jungle theme perfectly. :) thanks

Lee Ann Rasey said...

I love this organization! Your group that gets Wilson intervention, do they miss centers everyday and how do they feel about it? Our school does Fundations and we're trying to figure out a good time when title I kiddos can be pulled out. I love your center pictures. Do you have them available? I could really use the Wilson one.

Katie Adragna said...

These are so cute!!! Where are the cards from? I want them so bad!!!

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