During my sixeen years of teaching, I have designed numerous literacy centers with cross-curricular activities. With the implementation of Common Core Standards upon us, my district has looped back to a balanced literacy approach. I have heard whisperings of Four Blocks in the office of my school's Literacy Facilitator and I am excited.
I participated in a book study of Barbara Blackburn's Rigor is Not a Four Letter Word and was motivated to increase the higher level-thinking students could enage in during center activities. During the study I learned to make centers authentic and give students a reason for learning. You should offer projects that stimulate open-ended thinking and provide the opportunity to work with difficult text and ideas. In addition, rigor should be personally and emotionally challenging. Rigor creates self-confidence and perseverance. After reading Blackburn's book I thought that rigor could be implemented by combining it with Marzano's levels of thinking. I revamped some of my typical centers after reading Robert Marzano's Classroom Instruction that Works. Several of my activities utilize Marzano's question stems.
Students think my centers are fun. My adminstration finds them educational, organized, differentiated, authentic, and purposeful. I will share how I organize my centers, my record-keeping methods, my student accountability record sheet, and the curriculum links.
Let me begin by first listing some of the Common Core Standards addressed within my centers:
R.L. 3.1 Ask and answer questions
R.L. 3.3 Describe characters and how actions contribute to sequence of events
R.L. 3.10 Comprehend text independently
R.I. 3.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain specific words
R.I. 3.5 Use text features to locate information
R.I. 3.7 Use information from illustrations to understand text
R.F. 3.3 Know and apply phonics and word analysis
R.F. 3.3c Decode multi-syllabic words
R.F. 3.3d Distinguish between similarly spelled words
R.F. 3.4 Read accurately and fluently
W. 3.2 Write informative/explanatory text
W. 3.3 Write narratives