What Worked Well Wednesday! Centers that WORK!

I'm excited that I FINALLY have time to link up for WWWW! Any Kinder teacher can tell you the first few weeks of school are exhausting.  I'm right there, right now.  I'm starting to feel my feet under me after a couple weeks of craziness!

So what's working in my crazy world right now?  CENTERS!  

Getting a great center routine going is not an easy task.  We introduce each step 
........I mean snail speed.  
If you rush it, you will lose them.  Here are few things to keep in mind. 
  • How will they get to their center? (dismiss them, finish another job first?)
  • Where will they work? (floor? table? under a desk?)
  • What do they need? (materials, writing tools, scissors?)
  • How will they know when they are done? 
I make sure I know the answers to all of these questions before I introduce our routine and then I make sure they know all the answers too.  It's all about being independent! 

So what's working for me? 
 This is our first REAL week of centers.   I used a color by letter page from my All Set? You Bet! August set along with a letter tracing activity that I provided my students with colored pencils so they could rainbow write the letters.  You can click on this picture to see them in my store. 
The other 2 centers are a handwriting page that I use on dry erase pockets (no copies....no papers to send home!) and an alphabet chart that we match up alphabet manipulatives to (I use a lot of different alphabets for this including the cute little gems everyone made this summer!)  I like both of these because they don't require a ton of copies and there is nothing for them to turn in.  

Remember those questions?  Here are the answers: 

I dismiss my students to centers after they finish their morning work.  I put a stamp on their paper and they go and pick a center (yes...all on their own!) 
They can work ANYWHERE they want.  The floor, the tables, under a desk.....wherever they can be the most productive.  Our only "rule" about centers is that they stay in one spot and work the whole time. 
Our tools are always available (scissors on the tables, crayons at their seats) so they know where to find what they need.  They get it and GO!  We do stick to a pretty strict scissors only at the tables rule, for obvious safety reasons.

We have that work the whole time rule so they keep working until the bell rings (I ring a xylophone when time is up).  When the bell rings they clean up quickly and go to the rug for our song time.  

It doesn't happen perfectly on the first or second day (or even the first full week) but so far this week it has!  So I can safely say after about 7 to 8 days of practicing centers can feel pretty successful. Now our possibilities are endless!

So what' working well for you?  Don't forget to link up with Kinder Tribe to share!