How to Implement Successful Language Arts Centers

Anyone up for an out-of-the-box challenge?

When I was a classroom teacher in the 90’s some of us teachers were in the business of creating student-led learning centers or stations for Math, Science, or Language Arts.  I loved creating and hosting centers in my classroom because it gave my students the opportunity to collaborate in small groups, be a leader among their classmates, and learn subject material on a deeper level.

You might be asking, “What is a Learning Center?”

A Learning Center is typically a designated area in the classroom that provides students with experiences to practice, reteach, and enhance their learning.  Most Learning Centers are filled with creative, hands-on activities and the necessary materials to carry out those activities independently or in small groups.  Participating in Learning Centers requires students to take responsibility and accountability for their own learning.  Learning Centers give teachers the chance to truly teach to the different learning styles of their students-to differentiate instruction.

Creating centers was a bit time consuming, yes, but if you had all your ducks in a row the payoff felt very satisfying! If you are a multi-tasker with good time management skills, can be organized and prepared in advance, and are an effective classroom manager…you can pull it off!  As far as the classroom expectations or rules go, they don’t change and each center may have additional rules; your students are essentially responsible for themselves. You are the guide-by-the-side in this scenario!

WARNING: If you tend to get frustrated with a little bit of chaos or teach from a more scattered, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach, centers could end up being a stressful nightmare and may not be for you.

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