Shurley English Centers for Your ELA Classroom

(This is part two of a two-part series on Language Arts Centers. If you missed part one, you can find it here.)

ELA Centers Part 2.jpg

Now that you’ve decided to create Shurley English Centers in your classroom and have solidified the details of my  7 Must Dos, let’s brainstorm some topics and activities that you might decide to include in your Shurley Centers!

Here are some possible center/station ideas to get you started:

 

  1. Listening/Video/Jingles

-Have groups practice some of the Shurley English Jingles that stump them. (Preposition Flow, Transition Words, Eight Parts of Speech)

-Allow groups to record a video of themselves performing their favorite Shurley English Jingle.

-Have the group listen to and view different videos from YouTube that show other classrooms practicing their Shurley English Jingles; see if this helps your class gain some new ideas for “jazzing up” their current jingles.

 

2. Question & Answer Flow Practice

-Create a sheet with a set of Practice Sentences on it. Place the sheet in a plastic protector. Allow group members to partner up to lead each other through the Q&A Flow; one person uses a dry erase maker to label the sentences as the other person recites the Q&A Flow. (Be sure to create several Practice Sentence sheets for this center.)

 

3.  Practice & Revised Sentences/Sentence Blueprints

- Have a pre-written sentence or two prepared as the Original Sentence for students to work from.  Ask them to use different Sentence Structure Strategies to revise the Original Sentence.  Be sure to have dictionaries and thesauruses available at the center.  Students can draw a picture of their Revised Sentence and can be expected to share it during the Wrap-Up if they’d like. 

-Vocabulary and Spelling activities can be incorporated into this center, as well.  Have students create a fill-in-the-blank worksheet. Each student can write sentences that use words from the Power Words list.  Students can exchange papers with their group members to become familiar seeing and using these new words.

 

4.  Writing

–Have a fishbowl of different fun, quick writing prompts ready for students to individually choose and write about.  Include specific writing requirements such as including compound and complex sentences, incorporating Power Words, including inverted word order sentences, using colors to circle different parts of speech or types of sentences, and following the Three-Point Paragraph organizational format, etc.

-Pull in a part of the Writing Process for students to work on.

-Allow students to record themselves reading their rough draft to help them revise a short writing piece.

-Use a Writing Across the Curriculum activity here…just get the materials ready and you’re all set!

 

5.  Silent Station

-It’s nice to have a quiet group or two. If possible, a Chapter Check-Up or Classroom Practice worksheet can be assigned here to be completed independently and graded.

-Reading and Literature Time are incorporated into the Shurley English curriculum, so don’t hesitate to include a reading passage, poem, or research time into this type of Learning Center.

 

6.  Teacher Station/Float

-I often placed myself at a center where I reviewed a tricky concept with students to make sure they received more individualized attention and differentiated instruction. 

-Float around and monitor each center from a distance.  This allows the students to experience a sense of freedom that can build autonomy, independence, and self-confidence…you are showing them that you trust them to be active self-managers.             

 

Remember, all instructions should be typed out at each center in order for each group to follow them independently, along with all necessary materials/supplies for each activity.

 

The Bottom Line-BE CREATIVE & HAVE FUN!!

 

Comment /Source

Kimberly Crady

Kimberly Crady is an adventurous woman with an immense love for life, learning, and teaching. After teaching in upper elementary classrooms for nearly 10 years, she joined the Shurley Team in 2005.  Kimberly has had the unique experience of teaching Shurley English lessons in all levels, Kindergarten-8th grade and training teachers across the United States.  Kimberly is a National Consultant and SEDA Teacher for Shurley Instructional Materials.

 

Kimberly’s passion for helping people and living a healthy lifestyle has led her to continue her education in the area of Health and Wellness.  She enjoys numerous outdoor activities from hiking and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains to paddle boarding in the ocean; although, these days you can find her practicing hot yoga in a Bikram Yoga studio. She also enjoys traveling abroad, live music, reading, and spending time with her favorite mutt, Lu.  Kimberly’s experience as a Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Teen Life Coach helps support her firm belief in teaching the whole person, especially in the classroom.

 

How to Implement Successful Language Arts Centers

Shurley Centers.jpg

Anyone up for an out-of-the-box challenge?

When I was a classroom teacher in the 90’s some of us teachers were in the business of creating student-led learning centers or stations for Math, Science, or Language Arts.  I loved creating and hosting centers in my classroom because it gave my students the opportunity to collaborate in small groups, be a leader among their classmates, and learn subject material on a deeper level. 

 

You might be asking, “What is a Learning Center?” 

A Learning Center is typically a designated area in the classroom that provides students with experiences to practice, reteach, and enhance their learning.  Most Learning Centers are filled with creative, hands-on activities and the necessary materials to carry out those activities independently or in small groups.  Participating in Learning Centers requires students to take responsibility and accountability for their own learning.  Learning Centers give teachers the chance to truly teach to the different learning styles of their students-to differentiate instruction.

Creating centers was a bit time consuming, yes, but if you had all your ducks in a row the payoff felt very satisfying! If you are a multi-tasker with good time management skills, can be organized and prepared in advance, and are an effective classroom manager…you can pull it off!  As far as the classroom expectations or rules go, they don’t change and each center may have additional rules; your students are essentially responsible for themselves. You are the guide-by-the-side in this scenario!

WARNING: If you tend to get frustrated with a little bit of chaos or teach from a more scattered, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach, centers could end up being a stressful nightmare and may not be for you.

 

Characteristics of Effective Centers:

Remember, each center should be purposeful to the growth and academic progress of the student, not just busy work.  And, centers give YOU the opportunity to place yourself at one center to teach a small group, or you may choose to monitor your students by weaving your way through each center. Here are some important characteristics of effective centers, also known as, "M.E.A.P.S."

Multisensory-Create activities that appeal to all learning styles! See It, Hear It, Say It, Do It!

Engaging-Strive for 100% student participation!

Aligned-Content must support your current classroom instruction.

Purposeful-This should not be just a bunch of busy work; see your students in action & assess what you need to assess!

Student directed-Students should be able to follow the given directions without teacher assistance and be responsible and accountable for their own learning.

 

Let's Create a Center...the logistics!

Now, you're ready to begin creating centers, right?!? Let's consider these seven MUST DOs as you get started. 

  1. Decide on which subject material to focus.
  2. Decide how many Learning Centers to create. (Computer stations can count as one.)
  3. Where will the centers be located?
  4. Determine what you want your students to learn or be able to do through the activities.
  5. Calculate how much time is allowed at each center and decide if you’d like to keep the centers open on a weekly basis on a specific day for a certain number of weeks.
  6. Name each Learning Center.  Write a description of the center, instructions on what to do, and the task to complete.
  7. Be sure to review the expectations with your class before the centers officially open and close your Learning Centers with a Wrap-up Session or Take-Away Time.

I found it doable to have 4-6 students per group, depending on the number of centers I had created.  I was also able to devote up to two hours during my instructional time for centers, so my students would be in each center for 20 minutes.  Before the rotation began, I would give the group guidelines and expectations for each center so they could be totally engaged for the full 20 minutes.  At the end of the final rotation, I would bring the whole group back together for a “Wrap-Up” in order to bring the experience to a close.  It also worked to take two days to complete all the rotations in the Learning Center, but as you can imagine, it didn’t flow as well as taking a longer block in one day.  Opening up your Learning Centers on a weekly basis, on a specific day, works too…it will require a bit more organization and prep, but once students understand the process, it works nicely.

So, I invite you to think about it and decide if this, out-of-the-box challenge, is for you? If so, tune in to Part 2 where I’ll share some possible Shurley Learning Centers with you!

 

 

Comment /Source

Kimberly Crady

Kimberly Crady is an adventurous woman with an immense love for life, learning, and teaching. After teaching in upper elementary classrooms for nearly 10 years, she joined the Shurley Team in 2005.  Kimberly has had the unique experience of teaching Shurley English lessons in all levels, Kindergarten-8th grade and training teachers across the United States.  Kimberly is a National Consultant and SEDA Teacher for Shurley Instructional Materials.

 

Kimberly’s passion for helping people and living a healthy lifestyle has led her to continue her education in the area of Health and Wellness.  She enjoys numerous outdoor activities from hiking and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains to paddle boarding in the ocean; although, these days you can find her practicing hot yoga in a Bikram Yoga studio. She also enjoys traveling abroad, live music, reading, and spending time with her favorite mutt, Lu.  Kimberly’s experience as a Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Teen Life Coach helps support her firm belief in teaching the whole person, especially in the classroom.

 

Flexibility: Is it a key ingredient in your classroom?

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If you’re like most human beings in 2018, you probably spend a fair amount of time in front of a computer, tablet, or cell phone sitting, reading, texting, typing, or holding a phone up to your ear.  Our workplaces and classrooms have been overtaken by the digital world.  Even now, you are on your digital device reading this!  So let me ask you a question…

Do you have neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, stiff legs, headaches, or have you even gained a few extra pounds around the mid-line?  I’m guessing that many of you answered, “Yes!” C’mon, we all know what’s contributing to this pain! 

My neck and low back SCREAM at me every day.  If you as an adult are feeling this way, I’d imagine your kiddos, who are diligently working on their digital devices, feel the same.  Have you ever asked your students/children how their bodies feel after being at school?  If you haven’t, I encourage you to start doing so and pay attention to the effects our digi-world is having on all of our bodies.

As a Shurley English Digital Assistant teacher, I make it a point to ask my student to pause their lesson and take a few moments to STRETCH!  NO, the Teacher’s Manual doesn’t tell me to do so.  So, WHY do I add this to my lessons?

·      Our bodies were designed to move & it simply FEELS GOOD!

·      Stretching benefits your brain as much as your muscles.

·      Studies show that stretching can help your memory, help you think more clearly, and reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s.

Physical Therapist, Suzanne Martin, says, “Stretching affects not only our muscle system, but also our neurological system which operates the brain.…When you stretch, you lengthen some areas while relaxing others.  The brain in turn regulates automatic functions like heart rate and blood pressure.”  What an invaluable tool to teach our youth! 

How To:         

  1. Take a few deep breaths through your nose.
  2. Scan your body to see where you feel tightness.
  3. Use safe stretches and breath to work your way through major muscle groups. (hold each stretch for 30 seconds)
  4. Make this a part of your daily routine.

Personally, my daily stretching and breathing practice positively affects all areas of my life.  When you open up to more flexibility in your teaching style, you open the door to greater learning opportunities.

WORK.  BREATHE.  STRETCH.  REPEAT.

Photo Credit: http://dermalife.co.uk/shop/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dermalife-stretching-exercise.png

Photo Credit: http://dermalife.co.uk/shop/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dermalife-stretching-exercise.png

Comment /Source

Kimberly Crady

Kimberly Crady is an adventurous woman with an immense love for life, learning, and teaching. After teaching in upper elementary classrooms for nearly 10 years, she joined the Shurley Team in 2005.  Kimberly has had the unique experience of teaching Shurley English lessons in all levels, Kindergarten-8th grade and training teachers across the United States.  Kimberly is a National Consultant and SEDA Teacher for Shurley Instructional Materials.

 

Kimberly’s passion for helping people and living a healthy lifestyle has led her to continue her education in the area of Health and Wellness.  She enjoys numerous outdoor activities from hiking and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains to paddle boarding in the ocean; although, these days you can find her practicing hot yoga in a Bikram Yoga studio. She also enjoys traveling abroad, live music, reading, and spending time with her favorite mutt, Lu.  Kimberly’s experience as a Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Teen Life Coach helps support her firm belief in teaching the whole person, especially in the classroom.