Monday, June 26, 2017

Managing Centers

Hi everyone! Happy summer! I know I've been a pretty absent blogger this school year, but I hope to get some good posts in this summer. I've been taking classes to finally finish my reading endorsement and, at the same time, I'm trying to get my dyslexia certification. Soooo.... there goes most of my blogging time!

My friend Jen Ross over at Teacher by the Beach is having a link-up every Monday and today the topic is Managing Centers. I thought this would be a good way to step back into blogging since my center management is maybe the best thing I ever figured out as a first grade teacher. (For those of you who have been following me for a long time, you've probably seen these already.) When I started teaching first grade, there was no TPT and very few bloggers (at least I didn't follow any at this time,) so I was sort of drowning during my reading workshop time. I was constantly looking for new centers and changing them out and I felt like all of my time was spent on centers. I knew I needed to figure something else out that would work for me. So sometime in the middle of my first year, I started making these monthly literacy menus. I felt more organized and they provided me with a little direction. Now in the beginning, I had little access to clip art and fonts, so they were not cute at all! Ha! Over the last decade, I've updated, tweaked, added, modified, "cute-sified," you name it. These centers have definitely evolved, but the format has stayed the same and it's the format and easy management that saved me as a first grade teacher. Here is how they work...

  • Students keep track of centers completed with this menu.
  • Menu sets up organizational system for the monthly centers. 
  • Categories are consistent from month to month so students are familiar.
  • A variety Common Core standards are hit with these centers. Standards are ON the menu, too. 
  • Spend the first month teaching routines and expectations, then enjoy the next 8 months!

My first criteria: SPACE! I had a tiny classroom so I needed something that would fit in a small space. Those four "folder holders" fit my entire month's worth of centers! 

Each center fits in the folder. Students take their folder to a place in the room. Keep contents of center together in the folder. Easy clean-up!

Forgive my old photo. This may be a decade old. ;) I've figured out a thing or two since then (like to use matching folders- ha!) 
The entire year of centers fit into my closet on one shelf! 

Want to learn more?

THIS older posts goes into a little more detail if you're interested. 

In THIS post, you can find a video explanation, too. 

Want to see the centers themselves?

I have these centers for kindergarten, first, and second grade!

One last thing! This freebie is in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I use it to grade my centers. This rubric could work with any centers, not just mine. Enjoy! Click HERE to get these.

Click HERE to check out the other posts about managing centers. 



  1. Great, organized, monthly plan. I will share this post, too, as there are many teachers in my building who will be happy to read. And thanks for the free rubrics- also handy. Kathleen

  2. look how organized those center buckets are!!

  3. Makes learning more interactive. thank you Sarah for sharing

  4. It`s great to have such kind of tools which help to organize somebody`s time. They significantly helpto arrange working time and all of the activities during the day. I have some problems with it, that`s why your post is informative to me. Thanks a lot.