One of the most challenging tasks at the beginning of any school year is the daunting feat of teaching a classroom full of 5 -7 year olds to function independently…and effectively!!…in centers/stations. From organizing independent groups to setting up differentiated learning centers, fast finisher activities, and planning for small group, it’s a challenge to say the least!
Something I hear from teachers quite frequently is, “they always forget what they’re supposed to do! I end up losing so much of my small group instructional time trying to redirect confused learners and fan out small flames.” Does that phrase sound familiar to you, too? It most likely does if you’ve ever attempted to allow kids the (controlled) freedom of working independently.
Keeping this idea in mind, I wanted to help my teacher friends who were asking for a little help in this area. Time and time again, I was receiving messages from teachers who were looking for literacy centers that were engaging and meaningful, but also provided enough support so that students were able to monitor their learning through self-checking. Something that provided opportunities for skill repetition and repeated practice while providing students with the confidence they would need to complete the activities independently and correctly.
YES! Teacher friends…I heard you!! Loud and CLEAR 🙂
What’s more helpful than having another teacher in the classroom to help facilitate these activities and offer additional support? How about a teacher voice instructing students when you’re facilitating a small group?!
After lots of brainstorming, I figured that a set of audio centers were the perfect solution!
Let’e s take a little peek at what I’m talking about…
This particular set of activities focuses on short vowel CVC words. For the first several months of school, we work in depth on letter sounds, consonants vs. vowels, and blending sounds together to read words. While much of this focus is centered around our time during guided reading small group using decoding strategies, independent practice in these skills are needed, too. It’s important for our kids to practice these skills in both a guided and independent setting. But how can we be sure they’re practicing these skills correctly?
Enter the audio!
Students can scan a QR code that redirects them to soundclips of my teacher voice. They can listen to me blend phonemes, read the word, and then use the word in a sentence. This is a great way for students to self-check their thinking. I even included short, 3.5 minute instructional videos for each vowel that demonstrate HOW to blend and give students an opportunity to blend along with the narration.
Here’s a quick peek…
I organize these centers using THESE self-locking containers. Everything they’ll need to work on these activities fits perfectly inside and can be carried to any spot in the room for a flexible working option. I love these containers!! You can read more about how I use them to organize HERE. They’re great because they’re stackable and as I said before, self-locking. I tend to use these for almost everything!!!
Each container holds the QR code card for the video, a set of blend and draw cards with a self-checking QR code, and a set of blend and cover cards with a self-checking QR code as well. Transparent chips and dry erase markers to use with the activities are also stored inside.
Optional assessment printables are also included for each vowel set. Kids can scan the QR code and it will redirect them to an audio sound file of my voice giving them instructions on how to complete the activity. These are great for quick checks and repeated practice, too!
Hopefully these audio centers are the solution you were hoping for. I’ve heard from several teachers who are currently using these in their classrooms and having tons of success! I’m hoping the same is true for you, too!
You can grab this set HERE.