I love teaching my lessons in counseling-based centers. I had lots of questions on Instagram about how I implement these… so here are some details. Below is a video giving a quick overview and then read further for more details.
How does this work? I have four centers set up in the corners of my room. (You could also bring mobile centers to teachers’ classrooms if you don’t have your own counseling classroom/space.)
PREP: There is some prep involved in this. But once you are set up, the lessons run themselves and the kids are engaged 100% of the time. As the counselor/teacher, you talk very little.. this is student-centered learning. The kids have fun, want to come back, and it is great change of pace. The prep is easy and worth it.
STARTING THE LESSON: At the start of the lesson, I divide the class into 4 groups and ask students to sit in their assigned centers and listen to the explanation of each so that when they get to each center they know what to do. We also practice transitioning centers BEFORE we begin. I say, “When I ring the bell everyone put your center back how it was at the start, stand up and point to your next center without moving. Don’t move until I say to go” This prevents kids rushing to the next center and running over each other.
LOGISTICS: 4 centers are set up. These review of counseling topics we have covered in whatever combination I am in the mood for. These next weeks I am doing K,2,4 centers. Here are some general guidelines I try to use.
- Always have one teacher-led center. (Optional… but this makes it run so much more smoothly, so you can help with the 3 non-supervised centers).
- Always have one silent center (Either a listening center (I use headphones to watch a video on a laptop and a plug in center). OR a silent reading center with picture books about the topics we have discussed.
- Tell the kids at the start (and remind them throughout) they you are looking for one or two kids to go to the treasure box. I’m not afraid to give the extra motivation to be well-behaved.
ACTIVITIES: Here are some activities that work for the 5 minute parameter. ( I’ll keep adding to this with links)
- Eggspert: Game Show Fun! This is available on Amazon and well-worth it. It is great for reviews/games.
- Matching/Memory Game (feelings matching, career matching, lots of options)
- Roll the Dice and Answer Questions
- Cooperation Blocks ( just set up blocks and have the kids work together to create a structure … only rule is to cooperate)
- Craft Stick Challenge
- Art Project
- Graffiti Wall (set up butcher paper or poster boards around the room with different topics)
- Listening Center ( set up a laptop and get a listening center/headphones… this is a great silent center and there are tons of 5 minute youtube videos or read alouds.