This blog post is all about how to effectively run a
Literacy Center Rotation in your classroom!
You will learn all about organizing groups, getting students engaged, keeping students organized and focused, improving the quality of their work, managing behavior, checking for levels of understanding, team building, and lastly, keeping yourself organized!
That was a lot! Let’s get started!
During a Literacy Center Rotation, we group our students into groups of four. This seems to be a manageable size because many of the activities require pair work with checking another pair’s answers before moving on. In this group of four, we assign a role, or responsibility, for each student. We simply laminate the cards above and use lanyards that we have collected over the years. Another idea is to use yarn and clip them with two clothespins to make a necklace. The team jobs that we use are Spirit Leader, Time Keeper, Clean-Up Crew, and Captain. Team Spirit Leader starts each center off with hands in the middle and a phrase such as, “Go Team!” If someone starts to get negative, they redirect and get their group back on the positivity train! The Time Keeper is in charge of monitoring the time. We display a countdown on our projector for students to use. We like using this Simple Online Countdown Timer. Our Literacy Centers are set up on a 15 min. rotation schedule. Time Keepers give a five minute and one minute warning to their group. The Clean-Up Crew is responsible for stopping at the one minute marker and reminding students to pick up their things, throw trash away and get the center ready for the next group. Team Captains read the directions at each station, settle difficult decisions, and keep their group focused. Giving each child a responsibility is crucial
to building teamwork and engagement!
Working in groups is tough! Especially when the teacher is unavailable to monitor students because she is working with a guided reading group! Teaching students how to get along and how to work together takes a lot of training. We believe that explicitly teaching students how to work in groups is extremely necessary. We love to teach off of these posters and post them in an area where students can reference them frequently. Our favorite is the pink image above because we get to role play each part for students to get a feel for how their conversations should sound.
Because the teacher is unavailable, how do students monitor their own behavior? We teach them how to solve their own conflicts by using the steps on the purple image above. If students cannot come to a solution, or if a student chooses to continue the behavior, other group members can write the student’s name on the Behavior Report. We like to keep this next to us, so that students are less likely to tattle on each other. It seems to make it a little more serious because you can glance at it and send that special student your favorite “teacher look.” The key is to not allow the misbehavior to interrupt your guided reading group. We always deal with the misbehavior after our rotation is over. If it is a situation that the class could learn from, use a class meeting to solve future re-occurrences!
How to keep your students on track and organized can be tough! The forms in the image above are posted on our Literacy Center wall. Students can quickly see which group they are in and what they are learning. Students also use the Literacy Center rotation board to see which Literacy Center they are traveling to next. The first image in this blog post shows that board. Our literacy center rotations always focus on one standard at a time. We usually run anywhere from four to six stations at a time all focusing on the same standard. Each Literacy Center focuses on a different aspect of the standard, which makes it easy for us to see what parts students understand and where they may need more instruction or practice.
Another way to see if students are understanding what is at each Literacy Center is to have them fill out a
Levels of Understanding Emoji Survey!
Each student shades in the Emoji that describes
how they did at the Literacy Center.
Quick, Easy and Fun!
Now, here is the part that is a game changer! Because students are rotating through a variety of Literacy Centers, they all finish their work at different speeds. THIS is where you will run into behavior problems! Let’s keep them busy! Students don’t always know what to do when they are done, so TELL THEM! We always make a list of what they could do at each Literacy Center if they get done early. We also provide a Quality Checklist, so that students can improve the quality of their work when they finish! Ummmm, can we say A-MAZE-ING???? And the best part is that it is not coming from you! Students start to do these steps by themselves the more they are exposed to it!
Here is the part that we LOVE!
Because it is so easy and it is yet another way to recognize
students for positive behavior!
It is also an amazing way for you to find out amazing things that happened at a Literacy Center that you may have missed!
Whenever we think about this component,
all we see in our minds are SMILES!
Smiles are always an added bonus, are we right?!
It is important for the teacher to stay organized and collect data from the Literacy Center Rotations. Too often, we will run Literacy Centers and not bother to collect the data that could be used for IEPs, Intervention, Parent-Teacher Conferences, or anywhere else student data is needed. We have a Literacy Center Binder where all of our data is stored. We keep track of student groupings, notes of the groups that come through our Close Reading Literacy Center, levels of understanding, and grades from student work at each center. You’re already doing the work, so you might as well have something to show for it!
If all of this looks so good that you want to have it for your own classroom… Guess What?! You can!