Learning Centers

Learning Centers: Setting The Space for Success

Learning centers of one type or another are generally commonplace in a kindergarten classroom. They have many purposes, but the foremost is to provide opportunity for classroom teachers to work with small groups of children on differentiated academic skills.

These learning centers (or, as they are also called, workshops, stations, literacy centers or workjobs) can be constructed in many different ways. My favorite? After 2 1/2 decades in the kindergarten classroom, I can easily say that center rotations give a teacher the most "bang for the buck".

I have centers 3-4 times a week for 1 hour and 15 minutes. This allows me to have 6, 13 minute rotations daily. Because my first goal is to provide time for small group teacher-time right from the beginning, I spend a great deal of time teaching procedures, expectations, and behaviors. Next, I carefully choose centers that will offer guided or independent learning opportunities. 

Our podcast, episode 13, gives an in-depth look at the structure of my classroom during center time. Check out the video above for a visual peek into my world of learning centers.

All of our thematic units were born from the parent and aide help that we have had during our centers! We created scripted lessons so the conversation between adults was at a minimum to allow for more great instruction time! We know you will LOVE our classroom tested thematic units. We sell only what we use, and we know works!


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Try out our thematic units with this greatly reduced thematic bundle!

Phonics Practice Worksheets: Phonics Prep

Ten Years ago, Kathleen Law and I wrote Phonics Book 1, Phonics Book 2 and Phonics Book 3 for Teacher Created Material. These books today are still widely used. When we look at them, they still make us tired! We were asked to write these books in a six-week period, right in the middle of a school-year. Lots of nights with no sleep is what I remember.



To celebrate these books' 10th Anniversary, we have written a 10-Part Phonics Prep Series that we know you will find useful both in either the classroom and homeschool settings.



Set 1: Alphabet Worksheets offers 108 pages of alphabet letter and sound practice that have been designed for students moving into reading. Four pages are devoted to each letter. They include the following: A handwriting trace page, A beginning sound identification page, A missing letter page, A letter hunt page.








Set 2: Ending Sound Worksheets provides phonics practice that focus on final sounds. The consonants that are featured include: b, c, d, f, g, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, x, and z. Because of sound spellings, J and Z just have one page apiece. The remaining consonants have two pages devoted to final sounds.They include:
1) A final sound identification page 2)A missing letter page







Set 3: Vowel Worksheets provides phonics practice that focus on vowel sounds. Both short and long vowel sounds are featured. Six pages are devoted to each vowel. They include: 1) A short vowel identification page 2)A short vowel choose the word page 3)A long vowel identification page 4)A long vowel missing letter page 5)A match-up page featuring the short and long vowel sounds 6)A short vowel/long vowel identification page







Set 4: Consonant Digraphs Worksheets provides phonics practice that focus on consonant digraphs. Both beginning and ending digraph sounds are featured. Two pages are devoted to each of the following consonant digraphs: sh, ch, th, wh, ph, ck, and ng. One page allows students to listen for the digraph sound; the other page reinforces the written form of the digraph through handwriting. Eight review pages complete this digraph packet.






Set 5: Vowel Digraphs and Diphthongs Worksheets provides phonics practice that focus on vowel diphthongs and digraphs. Two pages are devoted to each of the following vowel diphthongs or digraphs: oy, ow, oo as in hood, oo as in moon, aw, ue, and ee. One page allows students to listen for the diphthong or digraph sound; the other page reinforces the written form of the sound through handwriting. Eight review pages complete this packet.






Set 6:  Word Family Worksheets provides phonics practice that focus on word families. One page is devoted to each of the following word families: -ad, -ag, -am, -an, -ap, -at, -ed,    -en, -et, -ig, -in, -ip, -it, -og, -op, -un, -ug, and -ut. Each word family page provides the opportunity for students to stamp, trace, and write word family words. Seventeen word family review pages complete this packet.







Set 7: Consonant Blends Worksheets provides phonics practice that focuses on consonant blends. Pages highlight l-blends (bl, cl, fl, gl, pl, sl), r-blends (br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr), and  s-blends (sk, sm, sn, sp, st, sw).  Following the pages that feature the individual blends, students have the opportunity to work on each of the three groups of blends by sorting pictures, matching blending sounds with their letters, writing blends to complete word spellings, and circling  words with the correct blend.






Set 8: Word Endings Worksheets provides phonics practice that focuses on word endings. Pages highlight the word endings -ed, -ing, and -s. Students have the opportunity to work on each of the three word endings by circling the word endings, writing the word endings, and identifying the correct word ending.








Set 9: Bossy R Worksheets provides phonics practice that focus on R-controlled vowels. Pages highlight the “bossy-r” combinations ar and or as well as the combinations that make the /er/ sound (spelled er, ir, and ur). Students have the opportunity to identify pictures with the r-controlled vowel sounds and write the letter combinations that make these sounds. Eight review pages complete this unit.







Set 10 Contraction Worksheets: provides phonics practice that focus on contractions. Students have the opportunity to identify, match and write contractions. The pages can be used as an introduction to contractions or as review pages for students familiar with contractions.

Managing Learning Centers: You Can Be At Every Center!

Have you heard of "Talk Boxes?" If you haven't, these are a classroom must have. With just a push of a button students can be independent at each center. If students can't remember what to do, they simply push the button to hear YOU give the instructions once again. What a great way to not only build student independence, but these boxes free the teacher to concentrate on guided reading/writing or math tables! Viola! With Talk boxes the quality of classroom life is improved instantaneously.



To top it off, there are many other uses for these devices. Children can quickly record their own voices providing opportunity for students to practice verbal and auditory skills. They can be used with games, displays, word walls, phonics practice,  information, etc.


These gadgets also come is a smaller version called "Talk Points."