Saturday, January 21, 2017

Stop the Boredom! 3 secrets to engaging students in centers!

I 💓 centers!  They promote independence in my students.  Give me time to work with small groups or individuals.  AND-- they are FUN!  (Did I say fun?  Shhhh!  Don't tell anyone!)

Seriously, sometimes I feel like all the fun is being sucked out of learning, school and being a kid!  We HAVE to do this...they HAVE to master that...

Really?  What about wonder?  Engagement? Fun?

For years, I have searched for the perfect way to keep centers consistent so students can complete them on their own, but engaging so students don't get bored.


You know what does it?

Novelty!

Novelty is defined as being new, original or unusual, I find that it also means it's fun.  Kids having fun are engaged.  Engaged kids are learning kids!

Here are my top three secrets to using novelty in centers.
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#1- Think cheap.  Novelty wears off if you keep it around too long so do NOT sink much money into it.  One of my students favorite bits of novelty is tiny centers.  I print center activity resources 2 to a page so that they are about half the size.  Set some magnifying glasses out with the center and its a whole new ballgame.  Guess how much that cost?  Yep, NOTHING!

#2- Make it seasonal.  This allows you to keep the same structure to an activity so students can continue to work independently, but make it different enough that students are engaged.  In January, put it on snowflakes and snowmen.  In February, break out the hearts!

#3- Change the writing utensils.  For writing instruction and assignments, I prefer students to use pencil.  However, when they are making a list of short a words or writing in a collaborative journal, I relax that rule.  Every few weeks, I put different writing tools out for students to use.  A pack of metallic crayons cost me a few dollars, but brought tons of multi-paragraph writing!

I am always looking for new ways to add novelty so I would love to hear what you do!  Leave me a note and watch for a shout out!

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