Saturday, May 7, 2011

Project Organization Phase 12: Centers

I know many special education teachers who do not have centers.  What I mean by centers is small group games that have clear instructions attached to them.  The games focus on specific skills.  I am building my collection of centers by creating the fcrr.org games and file folder games.  The problem is organizing them.  There are HUNDREDS of games on fcrr.org, if not thousands!  Organizing these seems overwhelming.  Here is what I'm doing:

1. Center games are labeled with the skill they work on as well as a grade level.  FCRR.org games are chunked into K-1, 2-3, 4-5.  Within each group they have Phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.  Most of these games I keep in large envelopes.  I re-type the instructions (some of them say "the lower student" on the website so I make them student friendly) and glue them onto the front of the envelope.  On the back, I glue a picture of the game being used (these are on the website so I just cut them out).  I also glue on extension activities.  The envelopes I bought have a sticky close top.  I type up the game title, reading area, and grade level and print it onto colored paper (I type a bunch up at a time and cut them into strips to cover the sticky strip on the envelope).  That colorful strip gets stuck to the envelope and it all gets laminated.  I cut open the pocket and keep the game cards/board inside the envelope.  File folder games are simply labeled with the skill area or game title on the tab: "Multiplication Madness". 

2.  After you have a collection of centers, find baskets that are large enough to hold a bunch of them.  If the baskets are too big they will just take up space.  Finding the perfect baskets may take a while but it will be worth it in the end.  When you find them, buy a lot of them. 

3.  Label your baskets with your group names.  Go through the centers and sort them according to who could work on those skills.  My group who is working on fluency will have a lot of fluency centers but they will also have some phonemic awareness, phonics and comprehension centers as well.  These can change as often as you would like so don't overload the baskets with centers.  I plan on changing mine quarterly.  You can also add "When I'm Done" activities to these baskets. 

4.  Centers that do not fit with any group will be stored in storage containers.

This project will most likely be a ongoing one.  It takes a long time to create these games and find the right baskets. 

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