Independent Activities for Centers Rotations

18 October 2016 / Leave a Comment

For me, centers serve two purposes.  First, I use them to practice skills we are learning in our class.  Second, they allow me the time I need to work with small groups.  In order for me to make the most of my time with my small groups, I need to limit the interruptions from students with questions.  Here are some ideas that I use for activities with instant feedback that can be used for centers or early finisher activities.

Matching Games

Matching games are great because you can turn just about any concept into a matching game.  Also, there is a self-checking element built right in.  Self-checking equals independence!  

I've used matching games for everything from content vocabulary with definitions, sight words, math facts, to word play.  They are so easy to make!  You can quickly cut apart your vocabulary list and paste onto index cards.  In fact, I have used some of my early finishers to create some of my matching games for me!
This IDIOM matching game is a class favorite! You can find it by clicking the photo.

Computer or iPads

Technology is a beautiful thing!  I always keep computers or iPads in my rotations.  Most of the time, this is their favorite center!  Sometimes, I pull the website up for my students so they don't use up time logging on and finding the site.  Other times, I offer choice between a few sites we've used.  I always try to relate it to the content we are learning in the classroom. There are so many great resources on the internet that you can find just about any topic to fit your needs.  Scholastic has a great list of websites that can be used in the classroom.  

Pin & Spin

Like matching games, Pin & Spin activities are self-checking.  My students LOVE them and I love the independence they provide so I can freely meet with my groups.  You can find clip activities all over Teachers Pay Teachers, but not all provide the immediate feedback that Pin & Spin activities provide.  
Another reason I like these, is that I can differentiate by pulling out different sets, depending on what the kids need.   Pin & Spin activities are available for grades preK-6 in a variety of topics.  

My school's Occupational Therapist loves these activities also because they have built-in fine motor practice.  You could even send a set with a student to therapy if it fits within their OT goals!

What have you added to your centers rotations that give your students instant feedback?  I'd love to hear new tips and tricks to keep my students actively learning while I work with small groups!


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