I was recently asked a few questions about center management by a reader, Jennifer: Do you assign...
Beginning the Year: Stop Signs
Last year, I spent a lot of time in the beginning of the year teaching rules, expectations, and how to use the library. I did a lot of modeling, had students model expected behaviors, and we practiced signals, cleaning up, and entering and exiting the library. I usually rush through everything since we don't have much time in the library and I want kids getting right into lessons and check out. However, after taking the time to really make sure they understand expected behaviors and how to use the library, I'll never go back. It made such a difference and everything else went more smoothly. I spent less time repeating myself and managing unexpected behavior throughout the rest of the year.
As a Responsive Classroom school, waiting to use different areas of the classroom is standard procedure for my students. The same now goes for the library. Students are re-taught expectations and how to use different areas of the library each year and until then, those areas are not "open". I used stop signs to show areas that were not yet open. I also added bright orange washi tape to more clearly show the areas but I didn't get a picture!
This slow opening of the library was especially helpful with centers. Before using any center, we talked about what each it looked like in use and how to clean it up. I had students model using the center and cleaning it up the right way. Even if we did not use Responsive Classroom, I would still use these signs for areas of the library that need to be retaught each year, such as iPad carts, computer carts, desktops, 3D printers, and certain center areas.