Activity Centres or Learning Centres

Description
Learning centres are specifically assigned spaces where activities are provided that promote exploration and interaction with other students. Learning centres foster both independent and collaborative learning and can include permanent organizational structures – such as listening, reading, science, painting, or music centres – or flexible centres related to specific topics or curriculum areas. Centres can be set up in the classroom, the school library information centre, and other areas of the school.
The variety of resources and types of information sources available in such centres can support the achievement of curriculum expectations through different modes of learning.
Rotation through the various activities allows students to actively explore areas of interest in greater depth. Learning centres enhance student motivation by providing choices and they help students to develop interpersonal skills and independent work habits.

Method
The teacher:
  • establishes a purpose for the learning at the centres;
  • arranges the learning environment and organizes for individual differences in interest and ability, including different learning and presentation styles;
  • collaborates (e.g., with the teacher-librarian, mathematics consultant, special education consultant, learning assistance teacher) to provide appropriate and varied resources and materials;
  • establishes with students the expectations for learning and for routines at the centres;
  • pre-teaches skills and process, if required, for the intended results;
  • provides structure in the planning of the learning activities and for the choices available;
  • establishes how the learning will be recorded (e.g., graphs, checklists).

Considerations
Learning centres:
  • require organization of time, materials, and resources;
  • require monitoring of student choices and tracking of completion of activities;
  • promote choice, but require structure in determining the choices available;
  • require clear communication of the expected results;
  • work best if the task is specific.

Illustrations From The Mathematics Classroom

Elementary

Please refer to the activity centers portion of the Pearson Math Makes Sense teacher guide for numerous examples for the grades K-7 classroom.

Secondary
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