We are starting the year with kindergarten and first grade library centers! For now, the two age groups are starting with the same concepts, but my first graders will hopefully be able to progress through these lessons more quickly and with less practice than the kindergarten classes.
I have seven kindergarten and first grade classes for thirty minutes each week. We started the school year with lessons specific to basic learning commons orientation (What is a library? Why can’t I keep these books forever? etc), book care, and parts of book. Throughout this time, we have had a read aloud each week and practiced regular routines on in the “Story Corner” area of the commons. The first and second grade students helped decide on our story corner norms:
After story time, we have begun practicing centers. Typically the read aloud takes 10ish minutes of our 30, and we have about a 5 minute discussion about the book and pre-chat for centers expectations, followed by 15 minutes of centers.
My room arrangement includes 6 tables, so each table is usually a different center (once I’ve introduced all 6), and then each week the kids have a different center for the whole 15 minutes. I tried rotating and it seemed the students didn’t have enough time to complete an activity and make the transition needed, given our short time together.
To clearly outline my expectations and what centers time should look like, I have all 6 tables building towers together as a team during centers this week. This is a really basic form of a center, compared to some I tried toward the end of last year. However, it is straightforward enough that I can focus lots of energy on positive attention for students following expectations and clarifying for those who might be confused.
Next week, I want to introduce two additional stations and continue with the emphasis on procedures and expectations so when I start technology mini-lessons, the students are able to independently work during library stations time!