Center Ideas 

I do use centers in my classroom.  However, I do NOT have centers during Guided Reading.  When I teach Guided Reading I want my students to be involved in authentic reading, not an activity manufactured by the teacher to keep the students busy.

        So, when DO I have center time?  When students come in the mornings I have a list of things for students to complete on the board.  Here is an example of what I usually have on the board for the students

Good Morning!

1. Unpack.  Turn in homework

2. Sharpen two pencils

3. Write down homework.

4. Make sure you have a DEAR time book.

5. Choose a center.


         I explained to students in the beginning of the year that I do NOT settle arguments about who got what center and when.  It was first come first serve.  To my amazement, I have yet to have a problem with students arguing over centers!

        Centers are all kinds of activities that I have created and I have found in teacher resource books.  I have also tried to include pictures of the centers I use in my classroom.

        Now I have students REQUESTING center time and all the activities are educational.  I could not ask for more! Updated 7/07- My students last year were not able to handle the independence of using centers in the morning.  We wound up doing paper pencil work in the morning.  This year I am hoping to do a combination of both!  A short review activity and then moving on to choose a center.

         These are all centers that I use in my classroom.  Some will be pictures and some will be actual printable centers that I have collected over the years.  I have also tried to include teacher resource books that I have used to create centers.

Pictures of Centers

Teacher Resources

Printable Centers

Links With Printable Centers

Pictures of Centers

This is a fun worksheet that I mounted on construction paper and laminated.  Students use division to figure out the code.  Students write on the laminated page with vis a vi markers and erase with a baby wipe.  Very simple!

I took flashcards that I purchased at the dollar store and wrote directions for how to quiz each other.  I turned it into game by encouraging students to keep the card they called correctly.  Student with the most cards at the ends wins.  This is for subtraction practice.

I have also found a multiplication card game at Wal-Mart that had rules like the card game WAR! However, you could use flashcards and write out the directions or this card game.

Here is the same idea with addition flashcards.  I also have division and multiplication flashcards.

I store the games in baggies with the number of players on the outside to prevent arguments!

When I taught Maps and Globes I  reviewed how to use a grid by playing the game Battleship! After this lesson I stuck two board games and vis a vi markers in a baggie and created an instant center!

I received this from another teacher.  She simply found this in an old math extension book and laminated the pages.  Students use pattern blocks to create the body shape.  The worksheet also has questions like "Can this Gretel be created using blue rhombuses?"

Here is a close up  of the pattern blocks worksheet.  I have several of these that I place in a gallon size baggie with a small baggie full of pattern blocks.


Teacher Resources for Centers

Here are few book titles that I have used to create centers.







Printable Centers

I would print these out on thicker paper, similar to cardstock for durability and then laminate them as well.

Word Work and Vocabulary

Prefixes and Suffixes





Compound Words


Recognizing Sentences (Sentence or not a sentence)

Four Kinds of Sentences


Proper and Common Nouns


Irregular Verbs

Apostrophes (contractions and possessives)

Reading Skills and Comprehension

Fact and Opinion

Inference/ Drawing Conclusions

Context Clues





Links With Printable Centers

Cherry Carl's Site

Many, many ideas!!  These tend to apply to the primary grades, but you can still find great stuff here!

Excellent 3rd grade site with games that can just be printed off and are ready to go. 


The Teacher's Desk

I have turned many of these 5th and 6th grade ideas into centers


Ms. Powell's Centers

Tons of ideas for centers and management! Many are geared toward third grade.


Mrs. Russ' Literacy Centers

Great Ideas with printables and "Can Do" lists.  Great ideas- make sure to check out here other links as well!




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