Thursday, December 6, 2012

Our Center Board in Action!

Hi! My name is Loretta Ehrhart, and I develop products for Discount School Supply®. My two children aged 2 and 6 have served as an unwitting focus group over the years. Countless prototypes and samples from “Mommy’s office” have been tested and tried out and refined with their input.

I’m always so pleased to see one of the finished products that I developed go on to be used in my own children’s classrooms. About a year ago I finished work on Our Center Board (CNTBOARD). It’s a great tool to help teachers manage center time in the classroom; but, even better, it allows the children to become involved in managing themselves, too. In August, my older son Rainier started first grade. At back-to-school night, his teacher explained that she sets up learning centers and schedules a few times a week for the children to work independently at each of the centers. The centers reinforce daily lessons in math, reading, spelling and writing.
When I asked her how the children know where to go and what to do, I was so pleased to hear that she uses Our Center Board to help her! During the first week of school, she took a photo of each child, and put each child’s photo into one of the red photo pouches included with the product.

She hung the Our Center Board in a central location and explained its use to the children. The children know which centers are open by checking to see which illustrated Center Cards are in the pockets. If there is limited seating or access, the teacher will place a specific number of yellow sticky “dots” under the appropriate center card. The children’s photos are lined up along the bottom of the chart, easy for them to access. They select their red photo pouch and place it under the Center Card for the center they wish to visit. If time allows for multiple visits, they can move their photo to another place on the board to indicate where they are. The teacher and the children can see at a glance which centers are full and which have room for more.

The teacher reported that, after a day or two, they all got to know the rules and the routine and can now function quite well and very independently, practicing skills like self-regulation and time management.

Next, she plans to take photos of her centers and use them in Our Center Board in place of the generic illustrated cards. That way she will make Our Center Board that much more meaningful to the children and distinctively “Ours.”.

I look forward to visiting Rainier’s classroom soon to observe Our Center Board in action.

Be sure to watch the video below for more information!
* originally published on 3/22/12


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