Wednesday, December 28, 2016

"How We Center"--with some help from Oriental Trading

Coming to a final routine/procedure for our centers were going to run in my classroom was not an easy task for me. Having taught pre-school for 6 years I was used to planning play centers, but I never required them to rotate through the centers and stay for any designated time. They were free to explore and spend their play as they chose to. I also wasn't planning literacy and math center activities either.


Teaching a K/1 class was about to be a different ball game. My philosophy for my special needs classroom has always been to make the classroom reflect a typical setting as much as possible. If our goal is to prepare students to be able to handle that setting some day, why teach them in a drastically different environment? Therefore our center rotations were going to reflect literacy and math centers you might find in an inclusion room, but provide the supports and accommodations our students need to be successful.

Through some phone collaboration with one of my best friends who teaches a similiar class at my former school and some amazing resources by Autism Adventures in Room 83, a center routine was established!

In the morning we have literacy centers and in the afternoon we have math centers. We have three tables which are our three centers. We use color coded baskets for each table which helps me and the students stay organized.


We use these center rotation cards from Autism Adventures in Room 83 and they are life savers! They truly helped my students learn/master the idea of centers and the rotation. Students earn a star for each table when they're finished, and they placed a visual of what they were working for at the top of their cards.

I made this page for students choices, but as you can see, we also had our moments when we might just need to write something in if a photo wasn't handy. :)

When we first started students had 10 minutes at each center and then 5 minutes of earn time between each one. Once we mastered that, then we delayed our earn time til the very end of center rotation. If they finished their work at the center before the 10 minutes was up, it just meant they had some extra earn time.


I found these great colored baskets from Oriental Trading. I ordered 2 sets of them so I could have AM (literacy) & PM (math). They come in a set of 6, so that gave me 2 sets of 3 extra colors. I'm able to use these on individual cases where a student might need a center differentiated for them. I place their activity in a different colored basket and they know what to look for.

Click {here} to find these baskets on Oriental Trading's website. 


Our tables are also labeled for their color with these signs from Especially Education. I used her same signs to label our baskets as well. They are perfect to include on a student's visual schedule if needed as well. 


I thought I was at a total loss when it came to trying to plan centers from my students. The center cards from Autism Adventures were truly life savers. I knew I couldn't go wrong by adding a little colored bin organization either! How do you do centers in your classroom? Any special tips or trick to add? Leave a comment! 

*Disclaimer: I was sent products to use in my classroom in exchange for this post.
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