HOW TO SET UP AN INDEPENDENT WORK CENTER FOR ANY LEVEL!
Words can not describe how much I love classroom organization, especially with centers! Having an organized, quick and worry free center reduces the stress of everyday planning! I pre-set all of these bins and switch them randomly. It is always fun to change up one of the bins with seasonal/holiday activities. With this set-up, my kids only see 3 activities per week, which means they have different activities each week, making it so YOU do not have to activities every single week!!! So! To start this amazing system, start with a great organization system that has at least 10 bins! You can go as big as you want to! However, starting with 10 gives you a good amount of variety on activities. My organizer has 12! So if you do the math, if you do 3 activities for a week, the kids don’t complete that same activities for 3 weeks! 🙂 Giving you time to focus on everything else you have to work on!!!
I purchased 2 of these awesome organizers from IKEA for around $70! For both of them and the drawers)! They come in all different shapes and sizes, so you can really customize it to your classroom. Here is the link for the bins: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30171123/
After I bought the bins, I made fine motor schedules using shapes for each of my students. For my classroom I have 1-3 activities (depending on the student) for them to do at each fine motor session. The students take the shape off of their schedule after they complete each activity. The goal of these activities is for the students to be as independent as possible, so the activities should be appropriate for student levels.
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Each symbol/shape on their schedule matches a shape on a bin. I change each schedule with different shapes on a weekly basis. A week gives the students time to learn the activity and be able to complete it more independently by the end of the week. Having individual schedules makes differentiation a little easier!
I love the set up of this center because it is so simple for the teacher! I change out the activities rarely (maybe every couple months….MAYBE).
Here are some of the activities that I put in the bins! My students are such a wide range of levels, so I try to find activities that can be used in different ways!
Popsicle Activity: I found this activity on amazon 🙂 I use it in multiple ways! For my students who are lower levels, I might just have them take apart/put together the Popsicle sticks. I have some students match by color or have them match the letters! It is a great multi-use activity!
Fruit Sort: This is another activity that can be used in multiple ways! For some students I have them simply “put in” each piece of fruit into the bin. For other students I have them sort the fruits (you can use a field of 1-4). You can also use this as a counting activity and have the student count how many of each fruit while they put them in the bin!
Peg Boards: For this activity you can have your lower level students “take off” or “put on” the pegs. You can have students match by color! They also stack so for your higher level students you can have them stack the pegs to!
Magnet Board: I picked up some cookie sheets from the Dollar Tree and found some magnetic letters. For this activity you can incorporate name spelling, sight words, etc!
Lacing: there are tons of ways you can use lacing! You can have students simply places the beads on the string, match by color, count, etc! So much fun!
MORE ACTIVITIES WILL BE ADDED SOON!