Centers, Centers, Centers – I have found that the key to my children this year is to keep them working in small group centers, so we do centers three times a day. Here is a post I did for my parents on what centers looks like in my room. Many of my parents are used to the French system here in Morocco, where students sit in their seats all day. My room is the direct opposite of that – so it needed a visual explanation!
The favorite center of my room: puzzles! We don’t do many jigsaw puzzles (although I do have some great 9 piece square puzzles), but we do TONS of self correcting puzzles. Every time I think I have created every self-correcting puzzle I need, I come up with another topic to make them on. I am even starting to use them in reading puzzles. However, where they have worked best is math stations. I have used one for number words, (You can get it FREE from TPT by clicking here.) Now, we are working on counting stars and matching it to the number words, which is a step up for my kids. (You can get this one from TPT by clicking here.) And the newest self correcting puzzle workstation – Base Ten Block Representation. This one has been the most important, because they have never heard of real base ten blocks at my school – but there are base ten block representations in the math book and on the MAP testing my students will do next year. So, in order to help them learn about Base Ten Blocks – we are using this puzzle as one station and Virtual Manipulatives as another station. (You can get this last puzzle from TPT by clicking here.)
Self correcting puzzles have become my favorite math station. A word to the wise though, if you are going to use more than one puzzle, mark the back of each puzzle piece with a color, or number or shape (preferably BEFORE cutting them out and laminating them), so that they will be easy to sort when the kids mix them up! If I was in the States, I might even print them on colored card stock – but that is not an option here.