As I said in my last post, I planned on spending my PD time on Monday figuring out how to add a little preschool to my high school English class. I located the perfect article “Finding Center: How Learning Centers Evolved in a Secondary, Student-Centered Classroom” by Allison P. Movitz and Kerry P. Holmes, and now I have some fantastic ideas on how to incorporate centers into my classroom.
The article takes the reader through the implementation and changes made to centers through a mediaeval unit in a high school English class. Movitz gives actual examples of her center setups, ideas, writing prompts, projects, etc..
The number one idea I liked from this article was Quiet Days and Busy Days. As I’ve wrestled with the idea of centers, I’ve struggled with the idea of how to have a Reading Center in a room while other centers are loud. Hence, the Quiet Days and Busy Days.
So, this is what I’ll be trying in my classroom with my The Great Gatsby Unit.
- Direct instruction days. We will still read, discuss, and write as a class.
- Center days at least twice a week.
- Quiet Days: Reading Center, Vocabulary Center, Writing Center
- Busy Days: Drama Center, Art Center, Puzzles and Games Center
My centers will include:
- Reading Center: Articles about life in the 1920s. Clothing, bootleggers, the 1919 World Series, etc.
- Vocabulary Centers: Vocabulary words from the novel. Students can define by taking snapshots, drawing pictures, creating word walls, adding to their personal website.
- Writing Center: Various writing prompts, create newspaper articles, journal as characters.
- Drama Center: Learn the lingo of the 1920s, act out scenes from the novel, record silent movies, learn the Charleston
- Art Center: Design clothing from the 1920s, make props for the drama center, create artwork for a newspaper in the writing center, political cartoons.
- Puzzles and Games Center: Statue of Liberty 3d puzzle, crossword puzzles, checkers, jacks
I’m excited to see how the kids take to centers. I know some of my kids will struggle with choosing the center they actually want to go to versus the center their friends choose, but hopefully the more we do this, the more they will venture out on their own.