Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Center C.H.A.M.P.s and Choices

Photo take from a classroom poster. 
My district is requiring  teachers to implement differentiated small group instruction. At my school this year reading and math teachers will be expected to implement centers and small group structures. I believe centers force students to persevere and learn independently (if they are well organized and managed).

I've been doing a lot of thinking about how that would look in a 47 minute high-school class period. I love The Daily Five system from the two sisters: read to self, listen to reading, read to someone, work on writing and work on words. However, it's not possible to have high-school students do these independently, daily, in my teaching context, so I'm adapting the idea to fit.

When I taught on a four by four block schedule I lucked out and had my ninth graders for ninety minutes a day for an entire year. English was the four by four exception for freshmen. Instead of keeping students for a semester only, we had double the time. Those were my best teaching years--or my best student achievement years. Is it any wonder? I am working within a different time frame now and with different constraints, so I can't do 30 minute rotations like I used to. In these lesson plans from 2003, I was using computer stations, writing and silent reading as rotations while I worked with groups or conferenced. Students cycled through in packs of ten. I don't have ten computers in my classroom at my current school, but students often bring their own devices, so working on the computer will be an option.

I'm in the process of creating expectations for each choice using the C.H.A.M.P.s acronym. I'm only going to teach a few at a time (more on that later), but I've got them in the same file. If you'd like to take a peek (or want to copy, adapt or build on what I've started), see the center signs, directions and expectations in PDF format here (if you'd like the PPT file, email me).

Center Champs and Choices

Wish me luck! School starts Monday.


  1. You're awesome. Truly. I can't wait to hear more about how it goes with your students.

    1. Thank you, Ruth, though I realized midmorning that I should clarify how I will teach and build the centers. The lists (for now) are for me. I will post activities/strategies one at a time in the centers as I teach/introduce them. It does look a little overwhelming at one glance. I admit to being a planner.

  2. WOW! That's all I can say. Looks like an amazing set-up that will have your students learning like crazy! I can't wait to adapt this for my HS ELLs. Thank you so much for sharing the whole thing! :-) Like Ruth said, please keep us updated on how it works once you've tried it out!

  3. Thanks. I will be sure to update--clarify, add to-- definitely, Jennifer.

  4. This sounds so exciting! You have a strong framework built already! Good luck with implementing your plan.

  5. It looks like you will cover an amazing number of things in those 47 minutes Lee Ann. What a lot of work you've gone to. I am going to print things out & share with those teachers of older students. They will like some of these I know. Thanks for the awesome sharing!