Summer Learning Place

Practicum Experiences

Reading Lesson with Centers!

on July 18, 2012

CENTERS! I was very nervous about using centers in my reading lesson after the students had a lot of difficulty concentrating during activities that were not pencil and paper yesterday. While it made me uneasy about the outcome, I knew that centers would be the best use of my students’ time, as each student needs individual assignments according to their ability level. With such varying abilities, Nicole and I split the class up based on ability level and sought to meet their needs in a small group setting with centers. In Nicole’s group, students focused on working with sight words and developing phonological awareness. The students used the iPad app, Gopher Finding, to develop sight word recognition. 

Students in Nicole’s group also used a laptop to explore HearBuilder, a program that develops a student’s phonological awareness through different vocabulary games. Another center featured time for the student to read independently and use post-it notes to label each page with a challenging word they encountered. These post-it notes allow for the teacher to reflect on what vocabulary causes the student to struggle. Nicole’s final center involved the student reading one-on-one with her. This time for direct instruction is key for the teacher to develop a sense of where the student is and what he/she needs to work on. 

In my small group, there were three centers for students to rotate through. The center that incorporated a performance assessment required students to read one-on-one with me using a grade-level text appropriate for their goal. In order to get an accurate measure of each student’s words read per minute, a recorder with a microphone was used to document each reading. Students read for 10 minutes before rotating to the next center. 

The students then rotated to the word sort spread out on the rug. A stack of 30 third-grade level vocabulary words were given to students to sort into three categories: nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Students sorted these cards on the worksheet (seen below) and then copied each word onto their own chart divided into three columns for each category. This activity developed the student’s comprehension of the third grade level words in order to increase reading fluency. 

The final center required students to complete a word search. The students had a choice between doing a word search on the water cycle or commonly misspelled 3rd grade-level words. If the students completed all of one, they were given the opportunity to complete the other option. Our students LOVE word searches! These develop word recognition without the students even realizing it!

What Worked!

Students with their varying ability levels worked each center at their personal pace! This lesson allowed me to work one-on-one with each student to see their progress and develop a plan for how instruction should be modified. Centers, with one person at each one, allowed me to be assured that students would not be silly with a partner and provided a tangible assessment of the individual’s vocabulary and reading skills. The centers also put the responsibility for learning in the students’ hands and I think that they feel a lot more confident about their ability to complete assignments now. 

What I Would Do Differently

While I was very excited to work one-on-one with each student as they rotated, I was unable to observe and aid students at other centers to check up on them. One of my students has very little confidence and needs positive reinforcement constantly or his work will not be completed. When I use centers again, I will provide more “checkpoints” for him so that he can feel success after a few problems to encourage him to continue without my presence. 

In the future, I will also provide a time for reflection where the student can relate to me what centers were most useful to them in improving their reading skills. 

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3 responses to “Reading Lesson with Centers!

  1. Pat says:

    I think your observations were right on target. I like the idea of reflection time for them. Maybe as a group discuss how they like the centers, which ones were their favorites, what problems did they have etc. I think the centers worked really well yesterday!

  2. nicole says:

    Leane this is a great reflection and I love your pictures. However you neglected to tell your readers about the best part of the gopher finding game. When students correctly point out a sight word they get a piece of clothing for the gopher to wear. At the end of the game, the gopher ends up wearing a crazy costume! The kids love this and it is a huge motivation for them to correctly identify their sight words.

  3. Cathy Self says:

    It sounds like a lot of fun to be in your classroom! You have great ideas using technology too! I would love to be a student in your classroom!

    I really liked the post it idea for reading. It is a great way to say what the students are having difficulty with when they read silently. I also like being able to work one-on-one with students during center time. I am able to do this in my kindergarten classroom during the school year. Centers are a great way for students to learn while they are having fun! Great Job!!!!

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