Literacy Centers with Freebie

My class this year has taken a little longer to get ready to do full on literacy centers.  I am totally ok with that because I don't want my students doing independent work at their centers until they are completely ready.

I am very fortunate this year in that our ELL teacher is pushing in during guided reading time so four of my six groups are being met with on a daily basis.  Usually when it is just me, I can only meet with two groups.  (I might also get a classroom para and if that happens then all my groups will meet with a teacher on a daily basis.  PTL!)

I like to keep my activities very simple in the beginning of literacy center time.  I created some freebies for you to use in your classroom.  I have already made copies and they are ready to go for next week in my classroom.  (We are on fall break this week!)

Here is a little preview:

I taught my kids how to play this game last week and we practiced a lot so I know they will be able to independently complete this activity.  All I do is write a sight word right above each dice.  Then I make copies for the center.  I love this because it is so easy to differentiate.  I still have a few kiddos who are learning words like: a, I, the, and my.  For those kids, I will use those words.  For my kids who are ready, I will use our current sight words that we are learning that week.

Would you like to snag this activity (and another one) for free?  Just head to my TpT store and snatch it up!


Pumpkin Fun!

This week has been all about pumpkins in my room.  It is the first theme of the year that we have "gotten into" if you know what I mean.

Today was the big day.

You know the one.  Where you bring in an actual real live pumpkin.

I brought in a small assortment of pumpkins.



My students were shocked with the pumpkins that were colors other than orange.  It was one thing to see it in a book, but to see it in real life is a whole different ballgame.

We used the orange pumpkin to do some investigations.  First we knocked on the pumpkin to hear what it sounded like.


Then they felt the pumpkin to see what it felt like.  {It was so fun to hear them use vocabulary like rind and ribs as they felt the pumpkin!}



We cut the top off so we could peek inside.  I always love how excited they get when they see this.



Of course, we had to get our hands in there and see what the inside felt like.


As they were feeling the inside, I also gave them the task of pulling out some of the seeds.  I plan on roasting them this weekend, but wanted some help getting them all out.  My kiddos were more than happy to help!



Once we finished investigating the pumpkin, we went and drew a picture of a pumpkin in our science notebooks.  We also labeled our illustration.


We are just starting our math centers this week.  I know some people have been doing math centers for a long time, but my kiddos just weren't quite ready for them yet.  This has been a fun and easy center to introduce math centers.


Students worked in pairs.  One student pulled a pumpkin number card out of the bag.  The other student used manipulatives (Halloween erasers from Target $ Spot) to show that number on the ten frame.  Simple, easy, and very little prep.


Once the student made that number with the manipulatives, the other student had to check their work.  Then the partners switched roles.


I have to share my proud teacher moment.  The little guy in this picture below is extremely low and has made little progress thus far this year.  Today, he counted three little bat erasers.  This was a major victory for him and you better believe I showered praise all over that sweet kiddo.  Makes it all worth it right there.


We are having a fall break this year which completely threw off my units that I normally teach.  I couldn't decide if I should do bats or spiders next week.  Instead I let my kiddos decide.  I gave them a little voting card.  They circled their choice, we tallied the results, and bats won!  They were so excited to have a choice in what they are learning.  I plan on doing this more often throughout the year as a result.


Do you give your students a choice in what units of study you do?  If so, how do you let them decide?  I would love to hear your thoughts.