Have you ever found and prepped the perfect literacy center for preschool children and then didn’t know what to do with it once they have used it?
I can’t tell you how many times I have prepped and re-prepped the same activity over and over again, because I could never find the perfect solution to my storage situation. Well not any more! I have finally found the perfect way to store all of my different types of literacy center materials and the best part about it is that I can set it up in a snap for the children to use.
So in today’s post, I will be sharing ideas on how to organize your own literacy center materials so you can have activities ready in a snap.
How do you organize learning centers?
Literacy centers are in my learning center rotation daily so that means that I’m having to access them often like everyday.
Over the years I have found that having my literacy center materials organized can save me valuable time and MONEY I mean who doesn't love saving their hard earned money.
I have several different ways that I organize my literacy center materials. There are two different types of materials that I organize and each one gets organized a little bit differently.
The first one that I want to talk about is all of the printable materials that I use. These are the ones that I can just make copies of and then set out items for the children to interact with like dot markers, stickers, hole punches and even hammers with golf tees. For this type of literacy center I like to keep all of the originals in a sleeve protector and in a binder in alphabetical order.
Now for the second type of literacy materials you know the ones that you have taken hours of your time laminating and then cutting them out. These are the ones that I really don’t want to have to create all over again. Who wants to waste that kind of time every year? Not ME!
So for laminated games and cards I like to keep in a plastic photo organizing boxes with ABC letter tabs. This way I can grab the letter knowledge activity or phonological activity that we will be working on. I just have to pull and grab a tray to set up a highly engaging literacy activity. See what I mean you can set up your activity in a snap.
I know you are all wondering what about all of the letter manipulatives right. Well I have you covered on that end too. I like to keep all of my letter manipulatives in 8 oz clear food containers, but here is the trick. I separate my letter manipulatives based on my curriculum. What I mean by that is that I place four letters in one container based on how we introduce them, so by units. So each box only has four different letter manipulatives in each. Uppercase and lowercase letters are in different boxes as well. I do like to keep a few boxes of the whole alphabet so that I can differentiate activities as needed.
All supplemental materials that I use to enhance activities are kept in plastic photo boxes so that everything can be close at hand to mix things up when needed.
Here is a list of items that I like to keep with all of my literacy center materials
How do you store Center activities?
My non theme activities are stored like I talked about above, but if it is seasonal or geared toward a certain theme then I keep all of those monthly items in one storage tote with each individual center activity in mesh zipper pouch document bags. This allows for quick simple planning and prepping of weekly activities.
Example of Monthly Themes
During learning centers is a great time of the day to place out engaging literacy center activities to help children build their letter knowledge and phonemic awareness. These activities need to be meaningful, hands on, flexible and be able to be completed by children independently.
Set out rich provocations with engaging materials that will draw children into each of the literacy centers to engage in their own learning. As you introduce and set out language and literacy provocations, you need to remember to scaffold children’s learning. Start out with name activities and then progress the activities along children’s learning domains.
How do you teach literacy activities?
Literacy is so much more than one thing, it's a combination of skills that get children to read and write. It is a combination of listening, speaking, reading and writing all rolled into one so it takes a combination of activities to prepare children for the task of reading.
What are some language and literacy activities for preschoolers?
Name Activities-A child’s name is the most important first word that a child will learn to recognize. The first letter of their name will be the first letter that they recognize as they shout out the words “Look T that is my name”.
Playdough Letter Cards- Not only is playdough fun but it is also a fun way for children to learn about forming their letters and building their fine motor skills.
Pinch and Cover Activities- These kinds of activities are a great way for children to begin to recognize and form letters while they build their fine motor skills.
Color the Room I Can Learn My Letters-This activity is by far one of my favorites. Color the room is a great way to get children up and moving around as they search around the classroom for different picture cards that begin with the same letter sound.
See how I have my color the room set up here.
Serving Up Flapjacks- If you have children that like to pretend to cook then they will enjoy playing this beginning sound and letter recognition game. Children will learn to serve up flapjacks by following an ordering ticket.
Find and Clip Cards-I love clipping task boxes because I can focus on one skill at a time. Matching letters, letters in their name, matching colors or even matching shapes.
Say Find Write Activities- I love having self check activities for the children to engage with during center time. This Say Find Write activity is a kid favorite but it’s also a teacher favorite.
Spin and Color- All children like to play games with spinners, that’s why this game is so engaging for them. It puts together two activities that children love to do, spin and color.
Pinch Find and Write- When you include a sensory bin with any activity children are going to dive right in and start learning. For this activity add letter or beginning sound picture cards into a sensory bin filled favorite filler. Have children use tongs or tweezers to pinch out cards.
Stamp and Write- All children love using stamps or stickers, sometimes you might find them in places that you wished they wouldn’t have stuck them, but just think they used their little fine motor skills to do it. Back to the peel stick and write activity. This activity is really simple to set up, all you need is a sheet of ABC stickers and a sheet of paper or you can grab the FREE PRINTABLE. Children pile stickers off of the sheet and place them on the sheet of paper, but they can’t stick another sticker until they have written the letter that they stuck.
Journal Writing Prompts- Journal prompt sheets are designed to actively engage your kiddos in the writing process to build their fine motor skills that will result in the progression of the penmanship skills.
Do you get the bad case of the hives every time you have to ring the bell for clean-up time?
I know that this transition time in the preschool classroom can be one of the most challenging parts of the preschool teachers day, but did you know that you can tame the chaos with just a few simple tips and tricks.
The first thing you need to remember about clean up time is that it begins with YOU! What do I mean by that?
It means that your classroom environment needs to be set up with children in mind. Your shelves need to have labels on them so that children know where to place items when it’s time to clean up. All toys need to have containers with labels of the items that go inside of each one. If there is no container then the shelf needs to have a clear picture of where that one item belongs.
At the beginning of the school year remember that less is more. Fewer things out on the shelves makes it easier for children to learn how to clean up.
Don’t have out your whole set of wooden blocks or it will be to overwhelming at the beginning of the school year when it’s time to put the block away. Gradually add items to centers as children become more proficient at the clean up process.
Now that your room is ready for all of your preschoolers to use and learn in, it’s time to think about what you want your clean-up time to look like.
How do you teach a preschoolers to clean up?
The key is to think about what clean up time looks like for you so that you can teach the children each of the steps in the clean up procedure. Knowing that you have a clear procedure of what is expected, it is time to teach children each of those steps and what it looks like. A good place to start introducing children to the concept of clean up time is during your morning meeting on the very first day of school. It’s never too early to start the process of what it should look like during clean-up time.
Teach the Clean Up Procedure- You could use a pocket chart visual for each of the steps
When adding new material for children to use, make sure that you introduce each of those items at your group meeting showing children how to use them and put them away. Once you have role modeled for them, choose some children to come up and practice the expectations of the new materials.
There will be times throughout the year that you will have to pull items from the shelves and remind them of their use or switch said item for something new that has been role modeled at a group meeting or small group setting.
Five tricks to get children to clean-up
Give a 5 Minute Warning- I like to walk around and give children a five minute warning. This allows children the time to wrap up what they are working on.
Take pictures of their creations- (turn pictures into books that can be found around the classroom). After the bell rings take time to walk around and take pictures of children’s work. This helps children feel like their hard work has been validated and they are more willing to clean up when the bell rings. During prep time print pictures and turn those pictures into center books. Children will use the pictures that were taken in the block center to try and reconstruct one of their past structures. Also children will be drawn to the classroom book of writing projects where they can practice and improve on their skill. Encourage all children to come to centers so they too can have their picture taken.
Clean Up Song for transition time- Clean up songs are a fun way to get the whole group involved together cleaning up as they sing and clean together.
Make a Game of It- When you have hesitant cleaner uppers make a game out of cleaning up and pretty soon you will have others in there helping. Not only that but the child that was hesitant will want to participate in the clean up game. I say that is a win-win for all.
How do I keep my preschool class clean?
Remember that you are their first role model in teaching preschoolers to clean up. When you have a well organized classroom that you take pride in, children are always there to rise to the occasion and take care of their classroom because you have shown them and taught them to care for their belongings, to care for one another and that they belong to the classroom community.
Why is clean up time important?
It is a great way to teach preschool children about responsibility and shows them the importance of helping others. It is important for children to understand that it might not be their mess, but helping others is the right thing to do and that their friends appreciate teamwork. When children learn to help one another it forms a dynamic classroom community where every child feels like a valuable member of their community. I mean isn’t that what every teacher strives to have in their classroom?
Clean Up Activities for Preschoolers
There are a lot of clean up activities for preschoolers that adults don’t have to do. Like cleaning up after themselves at the sensory table. Children can also be responsible for cleaning up their own paint items that they used at the easel so that they can be ready for the next child.
Clean Up Time Preschool
No hives here with these tried and true clean-up tips and tricks you will have a smooth sailing transition that will leave everyone happy.