It was summer holidays for me and I went on an adventure to the jungle and spent my time volunteering for the Indigenous people and the elephants. It actually gave me time to redesign my classroom and rethink of many possible ways to incorporate learning.
I have always believed as an educator that environment is the first teacher. I always step back and think about the students and how best can the provocation/centres be more hands on .
Benefits of an inclusive classroom
- Increased social initiations, relationships and networks.
- Peer role models for academic, social and behavior skills.
- Increased achievement of IEP goals.
- Greater access to general curriculum.
- Enhanced skill acquisition and generalization.Being an ESL teacher, I have to be more visual in my classroom, perhaps you all must’ve heard a teacher talk about learning centres and wondered what that really meant.
Learning centres are used a lot by teachers to show how important concepts are in any subject or area. I am taking you all to a journey of my own classroom and share how I set-up my learning centres and give hands on opportunities to the students.
Phonics activities are designed especially for young readers learning to pronounce the letters of the alphabet and learning to put sounds together. Phonics games are made to be as educational as possible, and as fun as possible too!
These activities include phonics scavenger hunts and an alphabet book for beginners. For kids who are a little more advanced, there are activities like a toss and blend carnival game, and a word detective game.
Since my students are involved in Writing Workshops everyday, it is important that I have a writing center in my classroom where the students can go to find the necessary supplies and materials they will need to draft and publish special pieces of writing.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the workshop is when students are finally able to publish a piece of writing.
This year I have added the word wall to our writing centre, students add all the new words and the words they know on the word wall and refer back to those words while writing. This is an amazing opportunity for the students to learn new words and help them remember the words they have already learnt.
I also purchased a plastic organizer with drawers that I keep at the writing center. Inside I store materials such as pencils, erasers, glue, white-out, tape, scissors, stapler, markers, highlighters, sticky notes, etc. that students can use when they are drafting and publishing.
Reading centers are usually set up for children to work individually or in small groups of two to four children.
Typically, the center has a variety of activities to choose from, giving the student the ultimate choice of what to work on. Learning centers are ideal in the classroom because students at different levels can complete activities based on personal abilities and preferences.
For example, one child might start making words with a set of letter tiles while another will sort letters into like piles.
Learning centers are areas within the classroom where students learn about specific subjects by playing and engaging in activities. Play is an active form of learning that involves the whole self. Even cognitive development, the primary focus in today’s education, is achieved through child-initiated exploration and discovery.
However, children need certain strategies and skills, such as making decisions, carrying out plans, cooperating and sharing with others, and problem-solving, in order to play and learn independently.
As the teacher, your job during center time is to:
- Ask questions
- Show what to do when help is needed
- Support first attempts
- Participate in activities
- Talk and have discussions with your students
- Help your students make discoveries and connections
- Share your knowledge and expertise.
Language is a tool for communication. We communicate with others, to express our ideas, and to know others’ ideas as well. Communication takes place, where there is speech. Without speech we cannot communicate with one another. Hence, importance of speaking skills is enormous for the learners of any language.
The use of language is an activity which takes place within the confines of our community. We use language in a variety of situations.
Overall, Learning centers offer young learners the opportunity to engage in child-initiated learning and explore various interests when rotating through various centers.
As you plan for integrated learning across all content areas in your classroom, you can consider the following characteristics and ideas for learning center themes.
Learning Centre Characteristics
- Both active and quiet
- Predictable and flexible
- Familiar and novel
- Indoor and outdoor
- Helpful in development of fine and motor skills
- Structured to draw upon the natural patterns of daily routines (for example, preparing snacks or caring for the environment)
- Provides multiple opportunities for individual, partnered, small group and large group experiences to support independent skill development as well as individualized and cooperative teaching and learning