I have shifted my gears from a technology focus to my full pedagogy for next year. I am still working with technology…
I am planning to implement the Flipped Classroom method. I have just ordered Flip Your Classroom by Jonathan Bergmann. I have also been attending webinars and reading many blogs about the topic.
Flipping the class of course means that the students will get direct instruction through video. A great idea since they can watch it over and over… I (usually) only lecture one time. For practice, I believe that using centers is going to work well for my World Language and Flipped Classroom. I would appreciate any advice from anyone who is using the Flipped Approach.
This post will concentrate on planning centers. I write this not only to share what I have learned, but because I have found that blogging (and tagging posts well) has allowed me to group similar ideas and resources. It’s like creating my own reference guide!!
I read a very old book (1972) called Nooks Crannies and Corners: Learning Centers for Creative Classrooms by Imogene Forte and Joy Mackenzie. It was given to me by my mother-in-law who was a fabulous elementary teacher before retiring. It was very informational! It started with planning centers and discussed individualizing curriculum. It was thorough about how the role of the teacher changes. All of the practicalities were discussed: measuring the learner’s abilities; shifting responsibility to the learner; materials; and evaluating and record keeping.
I took lots of notes. Today I would like to share with you what I have learned about developing centers. These are my favorite tips from the book:
**Centers must be carefully explained with clear directions. Use modeling, place written directions also at center. Seems like a no-brainer, right? I got to thinking about it and there have been times when I have assumed that directions would be easy enough without explanation….
**Exemplary systems offer choice and alternative assignments.
** Offer an “Open Center”. This center can be visited at any time by any student. It provides freedom and a safety valve.
**Award “Excellence badges” sparingly for noteworthy achievements.
** Begin each day with goal setting. End the day with evaluation.
** The move to centers must be gradual. Familiar practices must still be in use. Begin with one center and add new centers gradually.
**Provide a balance of Active and Quiet periods.
**Each center has open ended and varying expectations.
**Each center has a finished product.
Those are great concepts to think about when designing a center. My future posts concerning centers will include: Set Up, Student developed activities, Determining the needs of the learner, Keeping track of where students are; Cheating, and evaluation. All of these topics are in the book. I suggest anyone who intends to use centers buy it. They are less than $4 used at Amazon.
I will also share the many types of centers I have designed so far (at least in my head).
As always, I appreciate any of your thoughts.