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Library Centers

I started regularly using centers in my library a few months ago after reading Cari Young's website (now blog).  I had used centers a few times during Thursday afternoons when the specialist teachers cover common planning time for classroom teachers.  It hadn't occurred to me to use them all the time but Cari showed it can be done!

Why Centers? 
My library classes are on a fixed schedule where I see 2nd-4th grade classes once per week for 30 minutes and 5th grade every other week for 45 minutes.  Classes are structured so I teach a lesson for about 15 minutes and students select and checkout books for the remaining 15 minutes.  I was running into issues getting students to use check out time productively if they weren't getting books.  Students who were not checking out books were often wandering around and I felt like I was losing valuable library instruction time.  

With centers, I teach my lesson and then kids who are checking out books go search for their books and kids who are not go straight to a library center.   Now, everyone is engaged in a library activity for the entire library class.  I am able to work with students to find just right books without worrying about any funny-business going on in the background.  It's also wonderful to be able to interact with kids at centers - I especially love working on the puzzle with them!  

The best thing about using centers is how much the kids love them.  They are working on library skills for the whole library period and having fun doing so.  It makes my day to hear a collective groan when I turn off the lights to signal library is over.  The kids don't want to stop working at the centers and line up to leave!

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