Sunday, September 4, 2011

I've Got the Power(point)!

So I was lying in bed this morning and I had an idea for my literacy centers.  I decided I would make a PowerPoint presentation to help manage the rotations and hopefully provide a silent cue for the transitions.  I used the same icons as the labels I have in my classroom, for consistency's sake.  And although I have their names in a pocket chart in my classroom already, I decided to use their numbers and put them on the slides as well, just as one more reminder of where they need to be.  

I decided to have each slide display what group should  be with me at guided reading, and where everyone else should be.  I have it set to automatically switch slides after 18 minutes so that I don't have to do a thing!  Then there is a different chime that occurs after a one and a half minute delay, and the words on the slide blink.  This will indicate that they should be finished with their transitions and beginning the next center.  I like having the buffer time to ensure that they clean up correctly and have time to get where they're going...but not too much time ;)  I have the whole slide show set up so that I don't have to touch a thing once I get it started!  It will (hopefully) be a great tool to have to keep me focused on my kiddos and their reading and the kiddos focused on their jobs.  I can't wait to try this!  

Click here to see the PowerPoint!

By the way...

Here's an explanation of how my literacy centers work.  Each student goes to two centers a day.  They start out at one and it lasts about 2 of my guided reading groups.  Then they switch with the center whose icon is right next to it for the last two rotations.  Of course, during part of that time, they will be pulled back for their own guided reading time, so that averages them at each center for about 30 minutes.  During those centers, they have some sort of work that they have to complete in order to keep them accountable.  They turn this work in at a designated spot in their center folders.  I check it every day and they have a sticker chart where they will get a "happy" or "saddy" depending on the quality of work turned in.  When their chart is filled up with mostly "happies," they get to pick out of the treasure box.

Also, to keep them busy with purposeful and productive activities the whole time, I copied an idea from Renee Edwards, a great teacher who provided an inservice for us this summer.  I created a task chart like this:

Then I prioritized the activities for them to do in that corner.  Of course, the items in box 1 and 2 are the ones I want they to finish and turn in by the end of centers.  Numbers 3, 4, and 5 are less important, but still equally as purposeful.  They might be things like targeted literacy games, activities they've previously done for review, or other activities that don't require a written answer. This way, students who work quickly will have an itemized list of what to do next and keep busy.  The students who take longer to work have the time they need and they know what to work on first to make sure they have the most important work done in time.  What a great management tool!

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