Implementing Engaging and Effective ELA Centers

In each of our classrooms students vary greatly in their daily needs when it comes to their literacy education. This is not news to you at all, I'm sure.  But with our classes being large, and resources being limited, how do you find time to differentiate for each student, give time for 1 on 1 and small group instruction, and still make sure other students are doing independent, meaningful tasks?

When I was stumbling through this question, I began developing my monthly-themed centers.

We do stations in my classroom on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. I reserve Mondays for setting the stage for the week, spending more time on writers workshop and grammar, and just making sure we are ready to launch into new learning. Fridays we have genius hour, and work with kindergartners on phonics and fluency, so our time is more limited. 

While the three days we do centers might not always look the same (due to time constraints, topics, etc), I do always have certain routines. These centers are part of my version of a ELA rotation. My students go to 3 stations each day. These rotate every other day Mon-Thurs with these 6 stations: 
Two different technology stations, Teacher Time, Work on Writing, Word Work, and Independent Practice. 
These are each 15-20 minutes long. 

I use these centers for the Independent Practice. Students are REQUIRED to complete each of the monthly centers at least one time by the end of the month. I DO allow them to repeat centers that they feel they need more practice with or just enjoyed. Once they have completed all of the monthly centers, they can read a book of choice or complete an activity from my “What to do When I’m Through” bin. It usually takes my students at least 3 weeks to get through the entire month’s centers.


I chose the topics for each month based on either:

a.) Standards we are working on 
b.) Standards I want students to review or 
c.) Standards I think my students can always use extra practice with

I use these centers as formative assessment throughout the year. I DO provide student response sheets for all centers that it applies to, but I DO NOT always have my students fill these out or turn them in. Many times I just want them to get the practice. Occasionally, I will require them to complete the response sheet and turn it in so I can take a grade or a quick check on how their doing. Also, if I notice students not following directions during centers time, I require them to complete the response sheet.


I love that each activity requires students to do hands-on learning. The text complexity of each activity makes sure students are being challenged as they work through each center.

Research has shown that engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus, motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills and promotes meaningful learning. These centers make it much more manageable to meet the needs of each of your individual students.

You can purchase these month by month by clicking here, or in a year long discounted bundle by clicking on the image below.

I would love to hear from you! How do you use centers in the classroom? What are some of your students' favorite activities?

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