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... area the teacher may find necessary to have pencils, crayons, paper of various shapes, sizes, and colors, envelopes, word cards, markers, sentence strips, word lists, computers, printers, typewriters, dictionaries and thesaurus, date and draft stamps, to mention a few. Finally, art and painting area materials may include crayons and oil pastels, finger and liquid paint, chalk, brushes, sponges, modeling tools, etc. Learning center for a primary classroom can be used for direct instruction.
For example, the teacher can present new material to the children (the presentation stage, in which children have no or little knowledge of the new material). The next step implies guided or independent practice, both of which can be equally used in learning centers. For example, while using guided practice, the children are supposed to practice the new material and gain approximately 80 per cent proficiency level. In this case the teacher should also take into consideration the fact that after the new content was presented to children, they still need time along with various guided practice opportunities to enhance the level of skills or knowledge associated with this new content. While using independent practice, the children will then practice the content (gained at about 80 per cent proficiency level) in order to proceed to 100 per cent proficiency level. The teacher may also use explicit instruction in the learning center.
In this case, the activities held by the teacher in the learning center for a primary classroom, should be offered to children after the teacher presented new content. In such a way, the sequence of explicit appropriate learning center activities should be as follows. First, the teacher should demonstrate or present new material in various ways during several lessons dedicated to presentation of new content. The teacher should assure that he focused much attention on new content so that children gained enough knowledge about this new material and have no visible problems with understanding. Then, the teacher may proceed to guided activities in learning center where children will have opportunity to practice new content. During this stage, the children are supposed to acquire approximately 80 per cent level of proficiency; therefore, the teacher should carefully select materials and design activities in such a way that they provide children with more prompts or cues if required.
Finally, independent learning center activities will allow children practicing new content independently after they acquire at least 80 per cent of proficiency level of the new material, and allow them to move on 100 per cent mastery (Katz & Chard, 2000). During this stage, the teachers can place less emphasis on activities providing children with prompts or cues, as this becomes less important. Instead, teachers can use quiz content or other activities encouraging the process of learning. Learning center activities may include but not limited to guided or independent practice tasks where children can follow printed checklists or directions. For example, during the traditional classroom activities the teacher may present new material (e. g. , explaining children the functions and terms of the car).
The teacher is supposed to present new content using special terminology, such as engine, vehicle, etc. During the presentation stage consisting of several lessons (because the teacher should present new content more than once, during few lessons to ensure all children acquired the appropriate level of knowledge on the new subject) the teacher presents new content using terms, pictures, real parts of the vehicle (if possible), as well as color-coded systems in order to facilitate childrens perception of the new material and help them to remember the new information. After the lessons are over, the children will continue their learning at a learning center in order to get initial practice for the new material they have learned. The practice will be combined with the guided practice activities. During this stage, the children will be able to appropriately identify the terms and functions; however, their score of proficiency will hardly be over 20 percent.
In this case guided practice activities will be ineffective, because children need more practice to reach the level when they are ready to accurately and independently identify and explain all corresponding terms and functions of the new content. Therefore, to enhance childrens success, the teacher should use additional activities. For example, the teacher may consider it appropriate to use color-coded systems in order to help children match new terms learned during classroom activities to the parts of the vehicle. The teacher can also use a model of the car where the parts and functions are clearly identified on each part, making it easier for children to remember.
In addition, the teacher may use flash cards or study cards during the learning process, for example, first the teacher focuses childrens attention on identifying the car parts by term and then repeating, using the cards. During independent practice activities the teacher can use the same materials. Yet, it is expected that the children no longer need to use additional clues and hints (such as color coding systems, etc. ) (King-Sears, 2007). Instead, the teacher may use a small model of the car where each part is marked by a specific number, and the children are supposed to complete a worksheet, identifying the term and explaining its function. Also, there are few additional examples of activities that can be used in learning centers for primary classrooms. For example, the children can listen to information the teacher explains to them and then they write specific responses to questions asked by the teacher about the content.
The materials used in learning centers may vary from books, computer software for typing, books-on-tape, and worksheets, to mention a few. The teacher can use differentiated activities. For example, he can ask some children to complete fill-in-the-blank responses about the content, some children will be asked to complete the outline as they are listening to the information, and some of them may write a response, or respond to a prompt (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 1993). In such a way, learning centers for primary classroom, in case they are designed and maintained effectively, can serve as a perfect tool in education settings. Despite teachers may need time to organize and design learning centers, the payoffs will be worth all the costs, when educators understand that learning centers for primary classrooms allow providing more practice and instructional opportunities, addressing the childrens diverse needs. Learning Center: Design (Basic design) Annotated Bibliography Alexander, N. (1998).
If I cant find it, I cant use it: Organizing your centers resources. Child Care Information Exchange, 120, 78 - 81. The author presents a comprehensive guide to organizing learning center resources, discusses what effective learning center is, why it is important and how learning center can be incorporated into the classroom. Finally, the author discusses some of the advantages and disadvantages of the centers resources, incorporating the concerns faced by the educators. Jones, E. , & Reynolds, G. (1992). The plays the thing: Teachers roles in childrens play.
New York, NY: Teachers College Press. The book The plays the thing is an excellent resource for exploring the role learning centers play in education. The authors discuss the theory behind effective education and learning centers, including consistency, simplicity, clarity and communication. They then examine the teachers role in childrens play, making this resource very important for present research paper. Katz, L. , & Chard, S. (2000). Engaging childrens minds: The project approach.
Stamford, CT: Able Publishing. The main goal of this book is to provide a set of strategies for educators while designing learning centers for children. The authors elaborate on a set of activities that would encourage learning in the learning center and discuss strategies aimed to motivate children performance. King-Sears, M. (2007). Designing and Delivering Learning Center. Intervention in School & Clinic, 42 (3), 137.
The author discusses main approaches to help educators in designing and delivering learning centers, providing many examples of how to employ different strategies in multipurpose learning centers. Kortering, L. , & Brazil, P. (2002). A look at the role of vocational special educators: Views of students with learning disabilities. Journal of vocational special needs, 24, 3 - 14.
The authors compile a research on the role of vocational special educators, as applied to the students with learning disabilities. In this article the authors list key teaching strategies from research findings and studies. The examples in the journal article are mostly for students with learning disabilities, however, the strategies and recommendations discussed can be easily employed in a learning center for primary classroom. Mastropieri, M. , & Scruggs, T. (1993). A practical guide for teaching science to students with special needs in inclusive settings. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.
Mastropieri and Scruggs identify similarities and differences in strategies educators can use in learning centers and classrooms while dealing with students with special needs in inclusive settings. The authors include the extent of each effect of the strategy, generate and test hypothesis, making this source crucial to designing effective learning center for the primary classroom. Although the article dwells on students with special needs in inclusive settings. , the strategies can effectively be used in learning centers. Schwartz, S. , & Pollishuke, M. (1991). Creating the child centered classroom. Katonah, NY: R.
C. Owen. The book written by Schwartz and Pollishuke provide an excellent resource, covering all aspects of creating the child centered classroom. The authors discuss how to design classroom, what to include and what materials and resources should be included. The book is very useful, as it provides up-to-date information that should be used in any effective learning center. Scruggs, T. , & Mastropieri, M. (1992).
Classroom applications of mnemonic instruction: Acquisition, maintenance, and generalization. Exceptional Children, 58, 219 - 229. The authors of the article provide interesting insight into classroom application of mnemonic instruction, namely, acquisition, maintenance and generalization, including the references and the extent of effect of each strategy involved. The article should be obviously read by all educators as the strategies discussed can be employed in a classroom at any level. Swanson, H. (1999). Interventions for students with learning disabilities: A meta-analysis of treatment outcomes.
New York: The Guilford Press. In his book, Swenson discusses interventions for students with learning disabilities, making the book very important for the present research paper. Along with the meta-analysis of treatment outcomes, the author presents a unique approach to designing effective learning center for a classroom. Wasserman, S. (2000). Serious players in the primary classroom: Empowering children through active learning experiences. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Wasserman provides insights into many aspects of learning, discussing the strategy of empowering children through active learning experiences. Along with the theory, the author provides practical recommendations and general information on designing a learning center. Bibliography Alexander, N. (1998). If I cant find it, I cant use it: Organizing your centers resources. Child Care Information Exchange, 120, 78 - 81.
Jones, E. , & Reynolds, G. (1992). The plays the thing: Teachers roles in childrens play. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Katz, L. , & Chard, S. (2000). Engaging childrens minds: The project approach. Stamford, CT: Able Publishing.
King-Sears, M. (2007). Designing and Delivering Learning Center. Intervention in School & Clinic, 42 (3), 137. Kortering, L. , & Brazil, P. (2002).
A look at the role of vocational special educators: Views of students with learning disabilities. Journal of vocational special needs, 24, 3 - 14. Mastropieri, M. , & Scruggs, T. (1993). A practical guide for teaching science to students with special needs in inclusive settings.
Austin, TX: PRO-ED. Schwartz, S. , & Pollishuke, M. (1991). Creating the child centered classroom. Katonah, NY: R. C.
Owen. Scruggs, T. , & Mastropieri, M. (1992). Classroom applications of mnemonic instruction: Acquisition, maintenance, and generalization. Exceptional Children, 58, 219 - 229. Swanson, H. (1999). Interventions for students with learning disabilities: A meta-analysis of treatment outcomes.
New York: The Guilford Press. Wasserman, S. (2000). Serious players in the primary classroom: Empowering children through active learning experiences. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
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