Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Centres and Motivation

A week ago I taught my students "The Five Finger Test." I loooooved my class during this lesson - they were all listening with open ears and afterwards, when I handed out A-Z readers for them to practice, they were caught hook, line and sinker. Yay!

Today, I mentioned using this strategy to my Rad Readers at centre time, and one sweet young'un said, "Ms. Amanda, I do it at home!" She was all smiles (which made me all smiles, first because I am pleased as pie to be getting through to this age group, and second because our principal was in evaluating my lesson!). Here is the poster I made to hang in our classroom library:

I have also made a few little motivational treats for my class to use during centre time, particularly while reading and writing. These are the centres I rotate in class:

Super Spellers - This group works from a bin filled with Wikki Stix, foam letters, alphabet stencils and magnetic letters, and all of the students know where to find white boards and markers to practice the weekly spelling dictation words. There are two separate spelling groups and I post the word lists where they work on the carpet.

Rad Readers - This group may read any of the books in our classroom library, including our past shared reading poems that I have neatly folded and glued into small construction paper booklets. This group uses F-U-N magic reading glasses that I picked up at a 100 fils shop. I just popped the lenses out!

Wonderful Writers - This group works on any specific writing tasks I have featured during lesson time. Right now they are creating frog page toppers that are glued to a piece of lined paper. They will use it later to write sentences from a graphic organizer we did as a class, which integrates our Science unit with Language.

Fun Phonics - Our students were asked to buy MANY text books for Language, so this is my way of sneaking them into use. Boring, yes, but at least it won't seem a waste of money in the end! Plus, I have a marvellous EA to help out here.

Guided Groupies - I work with this group (clearly). Our school has purchased the Oxford Reading Tree series, and since DRA has finally been completed for every student (this took about three weeks in October...ew), it's great to just sit down and chat about a good read with a small group. They get to use our "Eyeballers" - popsicle sticks with googley eyes glue-gunned to the end to reinforce the importance of really looooooking at e.v.e.r.y word. Of course, I cannot find actual popsicle/craft sticks ANYwhere in Kuwait, so I improvised and used Japanese "sweet sticks" from the 600 fils shop! Did I mention I am really excited to have bought a glue gun? Wish I bought one earlier.

Journal Jotters - This team works on a weekly prompt. My groups are all similarly levelled, so I differentiate the number of sentences each group must write before they can draw the picture (i.e. my "high" group writes five or more sentences). This bucket has erasers, sharpeners, children's dictionaries, and my personal favourite, the Feather Pencil People. Everyone gets a kick out of using these to write! (Even if sometimes what they write does not make any sense...)

Time to cook and time to RELAX. It was a ca-razy day. PS - I am proud to say my evaluation as a first year teacher went exceptionally well!


  1. Love it... way to go Amanda :)

  2. I learn so much, reading this!!