Tiered Activities for Learning Centers

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Make these 12 standards-based learning centers an integral part of your instruction, providing enrichment or a learning place where students go after completing or compacting out of their work. Differentiation is accomplished by tiering – varying student resources and materials, adjusting the level of thinking required, changing the product, or modifying the objective. These tiered activities provide for various ability levels in math, language arts, science, and social studies and higher levels of critical and creative thinking.

Each center identifies the standard addressed, states objectives, suggests materials, gives student directions, and tiers for younger or less able students and older or more able students. Center topics include Opposites, Attributes, Measurement, Research, Music, Storytelling, Solving Word Problems, Reading Comprehension, Poetry, Writing Strategies, and Science Inquiry.

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3 reviews for Tiered Activities for Learning Centers

  1. Loyal Customer

    With the busy schedules that teachers have today, Tiered Activities for Learning Center, by Dr. Karen Meador would be a welcomed addition in any differentiated classroom. Her book provides 12 tiered learning centers for student in grades K-5 and is written in a clear and concise manner and the lessons are ready to go!

    Dr. Meador explains that one needs to think of “ Tiered Activities for Learning Centers as a centers’ cookbook in which you may use the original recipes and then modify the ingredients based on individual taste.” Her model of the vertical classroom emphasizes the need for differentiating in the classroom so that all students have their needs met.

    Dr. Meador states the reasons for utilizing centers and even explores common myths about learning centers. She discusses the various types of learning centers and provides clever ideas on how to set up centers-example: placing a center on the inside door of a cabinet. She also provides student guidelines for working within and between centers- crucial for successful centers!

    Each of the 12 tiered lesson plans provides standards and objectives for the lesson. The lessons cover language arts, math, science, and social studies. Center preparation, materials needed, and student instructions are given for the actual lesson. Then activities for the older or more able students and activities for the younger or less able students are listed. Reproducible pages accompany each lesson.

    As the students in our classrooms are becoming more diverse, Tiered Activities for Learning Centers will provide teachers a quick and easy-to-use activities resource book in which differentiation is provided for all of our students. As stated earlier, tiered lessons ready to go!

  2. Loyal Customer

    The book, Tiered Activities for Learning Centers, provides elementary educators with ideas for utilizing learning centers in the classroom. The focus of the book is on differentiating centers to meet the needs of all students, from the least to the most capable. While introducing the subject of centers, Meador poses and answers several questions about the book’s purpose, its audience, and its use. She then presents some common myths regarding learning centers. The ones she cites are thought-provoking , such as “Centers should be used solely in the primary grades.” The author dispels each myth, offering instead some true facts about centers. I was interested in this book because I have utilized learning centers in both the primary and intermediate grades. Through my experience, I have found centers to be excellent motivators for children.
    Meador gives seven different reasons to use centers or stations, explaining why they are beneficial to children. After that she offers some suggestions on how to effectively plan centers. The types of activities she presents can help educators think in different ways about planning them. Sometimes teachers get stuck in a rut when using them, planning similar types of activities for their students. Reading Meador’s list sparked my thinking about ways I can use centers I had not previously considered. The author then gave a multitude of ideas on how to arrange stations. One of my favorites was to place a poster display under a desk with pillows and flashlights for the students to explore. A center arranged in this manner would be sought after in my classroom of second graders.
    Meador then discusses the need for creating tiered centers, stating the differing needs of the students as the primary reason for doing this. Differentiating instruction for both lower and higher level learners is vital in the educational field. Meador affirms this, including several visuals to illustrate her point. She then gives ideas for differentiating the learning, giving simple, yet effective suggestions.
    Center management comprises the next section of the book, and including this topic in a book of this nature is important. Meador gives simple guidelines for center work, some obvious, some less so. These management tips would be helpful for a teacher new to the field. The author’s large and small group instruction model would be helpful to teachers and could be used in a variety of subjects. A teacher could employ this rotation model during literacy time while conducting guided reading groups. Likewise, the teacher could utilize it during math to reinforce or introduce concepts in a small group setting.
    The remainder of the book introduces twelve specific center activities spanning all subject areas. Each includes the standard addressed, objectives, materials, student directions, and ideas for tiering the center. I found the organization of this section to be slightly confusing. Had the centers been organized according to subject matter, it would have helped me more effectively absorb the information. Although some activities spanned several subjects, they could have been cross- referenced to each other.
    I was hoping for student instructions that could be copied directly from the book, but found those directions were printed with the same size type and font as the other information. Some of the student instructions would require either modeling by the teacher or a simplified rewriting of the directions. For instance, I had a 10-year-old read the instructions for several centers, and she was puzzled about what to do. After I explained the activities, she understood them and stated that she thought they would be fun to do. Printing the student directions in a larger type, on a separate page, would make the book more user-friendly for teachers.
    At this point, I will highlight several of the activities included in the book. Although “Attribute Socks” was listed as a science and language arts center, it is an excellent activity for math, too. The “Morphological Matrix” activity looked like a fun activity to reinforce knowledge of characters from a book. The author listed specific characters from specific books on the character section of the chart. It would have been beneficial if that area could have been left blank for the teacher to complete. Teachers could write in the books their class had read, personalizing them to their individual grade level. For this activity, Meador included a Picture Matrix for younger students or bilingual students, which was helpful. This center was perhaps the richest in the book, as the author showed how it could be used in language arts, math, and science.
    The “Double Dipping” activity, which used a picture of an ice cream cone to employ reading strategies, looked fun and interesting for children. In “Ways to Measure,” a math activity, the children decide which units of measurement they would use to measure specific items. I would definitely utilize this center in my classroom. It provided a rebus for younger children to complete the activity, addressing several learning styles. “Background Music” helps the children interpret texts when they listen to music and match the music to specific parts of the passage, engaging their creativity.
    I found this book valuable, as it offered some new ideas on how to effectively utilize learning centers in the classroom. It also showed some simple, yet effective ways teachers can modify their centers to accommodate the needs of all students. This goal of instruction is paramount to good teaching, and the author helped emphasize that important point. Last of all, the book presented new information while sparking teacher creativity. To give teachers a starting point, along with resources to continue on their own, is an important outcome for a book. This book accomplishes that purpose, and offers valuable information to elementary educators on differentiating center use in their classrooms.

  3. Donna Koepke

    This book is an excellent source for explaining many different ways and reasons to use learning centers in the classroom. There are many reasons for using learning centers such as, independent work, differentiation, even shortage of books or materials. The tiered activities address the needs of the students from remediation to extension and enrichment activities. It is an excellent book for a heterogeneous classroom.

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