How many centers do you typically have for K-5? Do you limit the number
of students at a center?
The interesting thing is the variety of ways people use this philosophy
to suit their setting and population. A number of us have some basic
all-the-time centers. These generally include Drawing (initially with
easy to manage materials) Painting/Printing, Construction/Collage, and
Fiber. There are many other possibilities of course which are impacted
by your space, student population, time, and available materials. (for
example, Clay, Digital Media, Architecture, Puppets, Masks, Book Arts,
Printmaking as a separate center, etc.) Some are open only for a short
time, as needed.
In my classroom (I recently retired, but worked this way for over 30
years) I had a couple of tables that were "extra", outside the actual
centers. One I would use for whatever was new that day and the other
was sort of an overflow table. Other TAB teachers have their centers
as sort of buffet areas, complete with both materials and information;
students get their supplies there and set them up at generalized work
tables. And there are many other variations.
In some classrooms teachers have centers with limits and the students
take turns. For instance, I did this at my plaster gauze table...only
six students at a time could work there. Students set up the plaster
using a menu of instructions. As one student finished, a place would
open up for a newcomer. The student leaving was tasked with helping
the newcomer begin.