I seriously can't believe it has been almost 2 months since my last post! This school year is C~R~A~Z~Y!!!! Or maybe it's just me that is crazy! Along with teaching...I'm taking 9 hours of grad school (which is kicking my butt!!), I will be teaching 2 technology classes a week to students after school, and I will begin tutoring 1 day a week after school....not to mention my poor family who is suffering without me most nights! So this is why I haven't posted in awhile (and I'm up at 3:30 in the morning) But I wanted to share good news about my daily 5 centers!
My daily 5 centers are working! Yea!!! Last year I could not get them to run smoothly for the life of me and ended up taking away the choice for students. This year it is running so smoothly...that it's kind of scary! I have to admit though - I don't have Daily 5, I have Daily 7. I love the original Daily 5, but my students needed a little bit more than those skills. (Yes I know the upper grades are only supposed to do 3 - but some of my kids come in so low that we really need all 5!) So let me explain how it all works! Along with the originals, I also have skill builders (cause/effect, sequence, main idea, summary, etc) and technology! My skill builders center is differentiated and has activities for students who are on level, below level and above level. Most of the activities that I have are from the Florida Reading Center (love it!!). I store all of the activities in that nifty cart I found over the summer! There is one weekly activity that everyone must complete, then they can choose a drawer that is labeled with their level (1 star, 2 stars, 3 stars). It is working out quite nicely and it really is giving students that extra practice they need. For technology, I have several things going on here. I use our textbook adoptions (Treasures) website to assign the skills that we are using that week in centers. Once the students complete this skill they have many different options including spellingcity, learning.com, tumblebooks, and more. I eventually want to get to where the students use programs such as inspiration to create graphic organizers for the skills we are learning - we're getting there it just takes baby steps. All of my centers have a must do/can do poster. At the beginning of the week, I just write down what activity must be done, along with directions, and the activities they can do if they finish that task.
The reason I think centers is so successful this year is because I only allow 3 people at each center, except buddy reading (only 2) and technology (4). Since the students are so separated, I don't have as many off task and they are able to be very productive!! I have 3 small pocket charts (ones from Targets 1$ spot). Each pocket is a new rotation. Inside each pocket is a card with the centers name. The students each have 3 name cards. In the morning I post which groups I will be meeting with during each rotation. Throughout the morning/day, I call on students who are being productive to go choose their centers for the day. They just put their name next to the center they want , if they will be working with me they don't choose a center for that rotation. I couldn't let go of not holding the students accountable for the work that needed to be accomplished during centers. So I created a checklist. I based the checklist off the group I see the most. So the checklist would be attainable for even them, meaning the other groups should definitely be able to complete the requirements. I also assigned points to each activity so the students would have to make good choices when picking centers so that they could get everything they needed done. At the bottom i have the total points earned for that week, but I added a field for subtracting points and bonus points. I didn't want my students to finish the checklist in 2-3 days and be off task for the rest of the time!
So far it is working out nicely! I will try and post pics soon....but don't wait around for them ;) I hope your year is off to a great start! On another note...thank you to everyone who has given my blog an award!! You are too kind! I will go and post the awards soon!! Thank you again!