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postheadericon Pocket chart reading centre

I love our pocket chart centre. For the first half of the year we had activities that focused on letters. Students would sort letters by uppercase and lowercase, straight lines and curvy lines, above the line and below the line, and whose name had the target letter in it. 

Now we are working on sight words. One of the best ways to do this is to use the books that they are reading in class. So here are the steps to making your reading pocket chart centre.

Step 1: Photocopy one of the class readers.

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I originally stared with level A readers and add harder ones as I introduce them into my guided reading.

Step 2: Cut words out and tape to the picture.

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You want to condense each part down to one page.

Step 3:Write out the text on a sentence strip

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I write each sentence in a different colour. I also trace around the edges of the picture in the same colour. That way if they drop any of the words, they know what picture it goes along with,

Step 4: Cut up the sentence strip and place in ziploc bag with picture

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Each picture will have its own bag. So in this bag it is the red picture with the red words. Other pages will be different colours. This is the best way I can think of keeping it organized and not getting everything mixed up.

Step 5: Put in the centre

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I put each book in a different pouch. Students pick the book they want and do each page one by one. They remove the words but keep the picture in the bag (that way they don’t lose the bag). They put everything up on the pocket chart and use the words to make the sentence on the page. When they finish they go onto the next page. The books I used it didn’t matter what order the pages were in, as they made sense in any order. With higher level books you might need to write numbers on them to show the order of the pages.

We do a whole lesson on how to use the centre, and most importantly how to put it away. It works pretty well for keeping them organized, and the rare time things get all mixed up it is really easy to fix by just matching the colours.

postheadericon More literacy centres

We are now nearing the end of the year, which means the students can do a lot more. I always find it so amazing that they come in not knowing the french language at all and by the end of the year they can speak, read and write in French.  Our literacy centres are now focusing more on sight words than letters and sounds.

Write, Stamp and Decorate

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Students will pick a sight word and then they will write it, stamp it, and then decorate it (write it again using different colours).

Get this activity here.

Sight word Hockey

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I got this box at Christmas time. It was filled with candy cane shaped as hockey sticks. I cut out the goalie net and wrote down sight words on all those bottle tops I have been saving over the years. Student pick a word, say it out loud and try to make a goal. This one is a big hit.

Silly Sentences

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I originally got these vocabulary cards from here, and I translated them to french. Students have 3 baskets. One with the students names, one with the five senses, and one with a noun. Students pick one of each and make a silly sentence. They then copy it and illustrate in the journal at the centre. Everyone uses the same journal, which allows for the students to go back and read what the other students wrote. They really love when they get the Madame card.

Get the silly sentences here.

Sound sort

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You can tell I made this one in my early teaching days just by the amount of effort I put into it. At this centre there are several mats with the letters of the alphabet. There is a corresponding container containing pictures that start with those letters. Students need to sound them out and sort them to the correct spot.

Unfortunately I don’t remember where I got these, but if you search sound sort you should be able to find something similar. You might have to find an English set and then resort them according to their french words.

 

 

postheadericon Using what you already have for your centres.

When I first started doing centres, I found it very daunting. First of all, I hadn’t yet discovered the secret to managing centres . Secondly, everything took so much time to make! I wanted everything to look perfect. I spent a small fortune on printer ink or sending things to a printing company so that it would be colourful and bright. I laminated everything and anything. I spent hours cutting and gluing and colouring my centres. Centres were all themed based, by month, holidays or class contents. The cuter the better.

But what I learned is that although all though this made my centres attractive, it didn’t make them meaningful. To make them more meaningful I had to take things were were already doing in class and extend them in our centres. Yes, I still have some prep work, and the laminator is my best friend, but I’m using things I already have on hand, and things that my students already know how to use so they can be independent.

Here are a few things I have turned into centres

Big Book Centre

This centre is exactly what it sounds like. Students hunker down on the mat and go through the big books. Sometimes they are just looking at the pictures, or looking for certain letters or words. We have read most of them in class all together to they are familiar with them. I also put in the class books that we have made together, which are definitely their favourites.

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The documents is formatted for 8"x11" and I increase the size on our photocopier to 11"x17" (129%).

The documents is formatted for 8"x11" and I increase the size on our photocopier to 11"x17" (129%).

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Songs

I do a new song with the students every week. We look for letters, sounds, and sight words. It is a great way to teach french vocabulary. I then put a copy in a folder and send them home weekly to practice. When we were done with a song, I used to put my big chart paper songs back into the cupboard until I needed them again next year.

Not anymore!

Now tape them to a metal hanger (0ne song on each side), hang them on a garment rack, add some pointers, and voila! I have a Song/Poem centre. Students do exactly what we did when we were learning the songs all together in class. They look for letters, sounds and words. And of course, most importantly, they SING!

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Printing

I don’t do a whole lot paper activities in my class. Most activities are hands on. However, I do think it is important to practice printing and practice recording our numbers. Whenever I have something that I want to students to get a lot of practice doing, I just take the very activities we do in class together, I chuck it into a sheet protector, toss in a erasable marker, and I have a new centre! Get the printing practice sheet here.

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postheadericon Winter math centres

Snowmen sets

The dollar store always has these flat foam cutouts for every thinkable season/holiday which are great for making themed centres. These ones are snowmen. On their hat I have written a number. The students use buttons (or counters if you can’t find any buttons) and make a set to match the number on the hat. The kids love this because of the fun shapes, and I didn’t have to cut out or laminate anything which is always great.

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Ginger bread towers

Christmas was so crazy that I didn’t get to post my centres, so I am posting a few now. Who says you can only have ginger bread men at christmas! Each student gets a gingerbread man and take turns rolling the dice. When they roll, they cover the corresponding representation on the ginger man. They can either just cover it up with one block/counter, or they could make a tower of the number the rolled. For example if they rolled a 4, they would find the 4 on the gingerbread man and cover it with tower made out of 4 blocks. You can find this game board here. There are lots of these kinds of roll and covers for different themes if you search online.

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Roll and Cover

Here are some more roll and covers. I always look in the craft section or the seasonal section in the dollar story for different things I can use for counters for these games.  For the snowman roll and cover I use cotton balls and I found these santa hats for the christmas roll and cover. I get my roll and cover mats here and here.

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Race to trace- Shape edition

I got this idea after we did the race to trace game for practicing our numeral. For this game students roll a shape dice and then trace the corresponding shape. The first one to trace all the shapes is the winner. For the shape dice I used these blank foam cubes I had, and I just draw on them using a permanent marker. You could also use the large dice that you can change the faces or make paper dice. You could also have them pull shapes from a bag, or use a spinner with shapes on it.

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Number Printing practice

I bought these fish bowl printers years ago from scholars choice. Students trace and practice printing a number on one side, and then on the other side they represent the number using the foam fish.

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postheadericon October and November Math Centres

I didn’t get to updated around Halloween because of all of the craziness, so my halloween themed centres are a little late being posted. However I only JUST changed them out and it is the mid November. The kids don’t care if they are still using Halloween centres a few weeks after the actual day, so I have been slowly replacing them one by one.

If you haven’t already, check out how I set up my math centres. Also check the menu on the side for more Math centres.

Here are newest math centres.

Roll, match,cover – Matching dice with numerals

I love Dollarama! I especially love the seasonal section as it is the perfect place to find things for math centers. Usually every holiday they have some kind of mini ersers that come in a pack of 30 or so. These are great to use as counters for your centres. It is amazing how students become engaged just by having a little mini pumpkin counter. In this centre, students roll the dice and then cover a matching numeral with counters. Get this pumpkin roll and cover here.

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Ten frame fill up

I got these pumpkin ice cube trays at the grocery store last year after christmas for 14 cents each! They are great because they are shaped like a ten frame: five pumpkins on top and five on the bottom. Students take turns rolling a dice and filling up their ten frame. Who ever fills up the ten frame first gets a point. Then they start all over again. Whoever fills it up the most, wins! I used mini ghost erasers for this one and it was a big hit. You could also use a cut egg carton and different counters so you could use it all year long.

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Roll and cover

I always have a roll and cover game in my math centres. It is always the same game, but I routinely change the pictures and the counters and the kids get all excited that they have a “new” centre. My Halloween one was pumpkins covered with mini pumpkin erasers. This week I changed it to my crown roll and cover. They use plastic jewels that I got in the craft section of the Dollarama to cover the pictures.

Basic Roll and Cover rules- Students take turns rolling a dice and then covering that many pictures with counters. First one to cover all the pictures win.

Go here and here for lots of different roll and covers mats.

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Dominoes

Another great Dollarama find! I found these large foam domino sets about 8 years ago, and I was so smart to buy 15 sets because I haven’t seen them since. They are a lot easier for little hands to use and don’t make any noise when dropped. We use them to practice matching numerals as well as numbers in two parts. You can even use them as  “cards” for “Go fish”.

Here is how we play Dominoes in our classroom: Each student gets 5 dominoes. One domino is put out. Players try to match one side of their dominoes to one of the sides of the dominoes in play. Once one side of the domino is matched with another, it is out of play.If they can’t make a match they pick out one out of the bag. First one out of all their dominoes wins.

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Pattern – Bears and Unifix trains

Students copy and they extend patters using teddy bear counters at one centre, and unifix cubes at another centre. I find I needed to give them a strip of long paper for the teddy bear centre otherwise they wouldn’t extend the pattern. I still might tweak this one a bit as even with the strip I have to remind them to extend the pattern.

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Take a set

This is a take on the game I explained here, but instead of using a paper plate and two sided counters, I used a picture of a tree and leaf counters I got a target in the dollar section (so sad they closed down in Canada!). Each student has ten leaves on their tree. They roll the dice and then “steal” that many leaves from their partners tree. They go back and forth like this until someone gets all the leaves.  I got the tree background here from a different math centre that I never ended up using but the background was perfect for this centre change up. Once again, changing the background and counters of a old game makes it brand new again.



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Mr Potato Head

The kids were so excited when I brought this one out. Students roll the dice and add the body parts according to the legend provided. First one to have all the parts win. Get Mr Potato head here.

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Dot card memory

I love dot cards. You can use them for so many things. I use the Vanderwall blackline master dot cards. I printed off a class set of them of on cardstock and they are still going strong. This week we are playing memory. Students spread them out facedown and take turns turing two over at a time trying to make pairs. They are also great for “Go Fish” and for “War”.

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postheadericon Literacy centers


I’m hoping to have a post about my literacy centre set up sometime later this week (still need to take a few photos). In the mean time here are the centres we have been doing the last few weeks. 

Read…Build…Write

Right now we are doing names with this centre. The kids love making their friends names. Later on we will do the same activity with sight words. First they read the name, then make it with magnetic letters, and then they write it. Get the French and English sheet here.

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Printing

I’m a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel, which means use the things you are doing in class as a centers. I take the printing sheets I use in class, stick them in page protectors and then they can be used over and over again with erasable markers.

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I Spy Bottles

These are large water bottles filled with rice and alphabet beads I got at the craft store. Students use magnifying glasses to find the letters and trace them on a recording sheet. Again I put it in a page protector to make it reusable and to save on paper.  Get the recording sheet here.

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Name Tracing

See a post about name tracing and get the tracing font here. name trace censored

Playdoh letters

For those kinaesthetic learners. Students manipulate playdoh to make upper and lower case letters. Get the letter mats here.

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Letter mazes

Students circle upper and lowercase letters to get through the maze. There is a differnt maze for each letter of the alphabet. Get them here

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Play centres

I have a few play centres going on. These are great for oral development. This week we have the kitchen centre, puzzle centre and the puppet centre. Later in the year they will be a bit more structured but right now I am just letting them play and talk talk talk with their partner.

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Reading centre

I’ve got a few chairs next to my class library. The students love browsing the books. Even though they can’t read them yet, what child doesn’t love looking at the pictures! I encourage them to talk about their books with their partner and tell them about the pictures.

postheadericon More Math Centres

Now that the students have got the math center routine down, I have added a few more so that we now have 10 different centres. Here are the ones I have added.

Pattern Block Numbers

Students use the pattern blocks to make the numerals. I got the numeral cards here.

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Pattern Block Pictures

Similar to the above centre, students use pattern blocks to make the pictures. I have bought a few sets of these with magnetic pattern blocks, but I have also found many online. Try here, here and here.

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Number Flags

This is an easy one to put together. On pipe cleaners add masking tape at the top to make a flag and write a number from 1-10 on the flag. Students then use beads to make a set corresponding to the number. I make 2 sets of flags from 1-1o, so each partner can do all 10.

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Linking Numbers

Students use links (or paper clips) to match the different representations of the numbers. You could also use these cards for a memory game. Get the cards here and here.

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We are starting patterning next week so I will replace some of my dice games with pattern centres next week.

postheadericon Math centre set up

This year is the first time I have been enough on the ball to set up my math centres this early in the year. First round of centres are set up and the kids loved them. I thought I would explain a bit how I run my math centres.

I loosely follow Debbie Diller’s model of math stations. I saw her speak at a conference a few years ago and she was wonderful. Although I don’t do exactly what she does, her book is a great starting point. And most importantly she introduced me to the best idea that revolutionized my centres….

ONLY TWO STUDENTS PER CENTRE.

You might think this will make things more difficult as you will need more centres, but I am here to tell you things are so much easier. Yes I have to have 10 centres (20 kids), but I hardly have to deal with any behaviour management with 2 students. Also it takes two whole weeks (or more if I don’t do centres every day) to get through all the centres, so I don’t have to change them as often. Especially since after a few years of doing centres like this I have realized ….

YOU DON’T NEED TO CHANGE ALL YOUR CENTRES AT THE SAME TIME.

Since it takes the student two weeks to get through one round of the centres, it isn’t a big deal if they repeat some on the second round. This allows me to switch them one at a time at my leisure. Most of my centres are math activities we have already done in class, so they need minimal explanation when I integrate them into my centres

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A few of my bins broke and I couldn’t find a new set of drawers that matched my old ones. I’m waiting for them to go on sale so I can replace them all and they can all match again.

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So here is my  centre layout and the first few centres we are doing. My math centres are housed in these plastic drawers. They are great because the kids can just slide them out and take the whole drawer with them, and then slide them back in when they are done. Each drawer is filled with everything they need to do the centre.

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I’ve tried a few different things for centre organization but this number system has worked the best for me. I just move the students name down each day to the next number. Students find their name and then go get the drawer with the corresponding number. So simple and easy!

 

Here is this round of centres:

Take a set 

Students have 10 counters on their plate. They roll their dice and then take that many from their partner’s plate and put it on their own. This goes on back and forth until someone has all the counters. Great counting practice!

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Tall towers

Students roll the dice and make towers. Once they filled all the squares they put all their towers together to see who has the tallest tower. Later in the year you can use two dice, or compare each tower to look at how many more/less. The kids love this one. Download this centre here.

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Race to trace

Students roll the dice and then trace the corresponding number on their sheet (love sheet protectors and dry erase markers!). First one to fill their sheet wins. I got the race to trace sheet here and just removed the English writing so I could use it in a French Immersion classroom.

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Roll and cover

I love this game because you can use it all year, and if you just change the picture or the counters every once and awhile the kids think it is a new game. Students roll then cover the corresponding number of squares. First one to cover the whole page wins. I get my roll and covers here and here. So much variety.

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Playdoh mats

I have two Play-doh centres at the moment. One is cover the number, and the other is make sets with the Play-doh. Halloween Playdoh was on sale at Costco so black Playdoh it is! Get the playdoh mats here and here.

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As it the beginning of the year instead of doing 10 different centres, I am just doing 2 sets of 5 centres. I spent all last week actually doing these activities with the students in math class, so nothing was new to them. Over the next few weeks I will add some more new ones until I have 10 different ones. Once again, it is okay if they do a centre again. With this many centres they will only be doing the same one twice a month. It is a lot of dice games right now but as we get going their will be more of a variety of activities. Right now I just want to get them used to the format.

postheadericon French Mini Offices

Awhile ago I came across these awesome mini offices at the Busy Teacher Cafe.  However since they were English I couldn’t use them. After searching far and wide for a french version, I decided to make one of my own!

Just like the Busy teacher mini offices I use two letter size file folders to make the mini offices. This gives you 6 panels to fill.

I originally made these mini offices for grade 2. They used them mainly to make sure that the high frequency words were spelled correctly in their writing. However since I moved to Kindergarten I tried them out closer to the end of the year and they absolutely loved them! It really opened up them writing and they wrote so much more. I will definitely give them out earlier in the year next year.

I have include the word wall as a pdf, but also as a word document of you ant to tailor it to your students needs.

 

Click here to for the French Mini office . 

mini office 3 mini office 2mini office 1

alphabetemotions mini office

 Click here for version of the mini office for black and white printers.(You will need to fill in the colour words colours yourself. Perfect when you have black and white photocopiers).

word wall

Click here for the French word wall for the mini office (pdf).

Click here for the French word wall for the mini office (word).

 

 

postheadericon Mini offices in English

Earlier I posted my French mini offices. I’ve decided to post them in English.

I use 2 manilla file folders, taped together to make six panels (see example here). I have included 5 pages for the mini offices, so you can leave one panel blank or you can add something of your own.

My wordwall is blank so that you can add the words you want depending on your students. This way several grade levels can use it.

Click here to for the English Mini office

numbers and emotions english days of the week english alphabet

 

 

Click here for version of the mini office for black and white printers.(You will need to fill in the colour words colours yourself. Perfect when you have black and white photocopiers).

blank word wall pic

 

Click here for the blank editable word wall for the mini office (word).