Centers & Stations

What’s Here

Are you looking for an EASY system for engaging students in meaningful hands-on learning? Centers don’t have to be complicated to make, organize, implement, or assess! Here you’ll find all the information you need to get literacy centers and math tubs/centers started and running smoothly in your classroom.

Pages in This Section

Easy & Creative Centers
Ideas for Free Centers
Setting Up Centers and Stations
Multiple Intelligences Centers
Math Games and Centers (from the Math section)
Math KITs (from the Math section)

Cornerstone Cross-Reference

Find even MORE info about centers in The Cornerstone book and eBook!  Book-exclusive content includes:

Ch. 20: Managing Small Group Instruction
*Organizing your area and materials: photos and tips for setting up your reading group location
*Deciding on the number of groups and materials for each (and what to do with the kids who don’t fit in any group)
*Flexible reading groups: how to manage your routines while pulling only the kids who need to work on a particular skill
*How to select your small group components and create a workable rotation schedule even with limited time
*Is self-selected reading a waste of time? What the research says, and how you can apply it to self-selected reading procedures in your classroom
*Self-selected reading guidelines: what students should be doing and how to teach them your procedures, how to assess progress through reading conferences, using individual book boxes, keeping meaningful reading logs, and more!

Ch. 21: Rethinking Centers
*How centers can be used throughout the day: morning work, Fun Friday, during instructional time, and more!
*How mixed ability center groups can help kids stay on-task during centers and make the activities more meaningful
*Centerjobs: 5 pages of ideas to help you create specific self-paced center tasks that are quick and easy to make and assess

Recommended Resources

Teaching Heart has more center ideas, photos, management tips, and printables than you could ever use! The page hasn’t been updated in several years, but most of the links still work and the information is still relevant.

The Florida Center for Reading Research has excellent and extensive free printable literacy centers for grades K-5. These materials were given to us in 5 gigantic binders at my former school in Broward County, FL, and I can tell you from experience that the resources are outstanding. The best part is that everything is available online for free, and the materials are searchable and organized according to both grade level and skill (fluency, vocab, comprehension, etc.).

Mandy Gregory has some awesome ideas for having kids spend their reading group time on meaningful reading tasks, and using centers for morning work.  I love the idea of having children unpack, sharpen pencils, and delve right into center activities–what a motivation for kids to be on time for school and to get started working!  She also has separate pages for guided reading groups and many other resources–her teaching philosophy is very similar to mine and her suggestions go hand-in-hand with what you’ve read here.

Here’s a great video by Kelly Mikesell that explains what constitutes a “perfect” literacy center. You can see another video of primary literacy centers in action here.

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Angela Watson was a classroom teacher for 11 years and has turned her passion for helping other teachers into a career as an educational consultant based in Brooklyn, NY. As founder of Due Season Press and Educational Services, she has published 3 books, launched a blog and webinar series, designs curriculum resources, and conducts seminars in schools around the world. Check out the free teacher resource pages for photos, tips & tricks, activities, printables, and more.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Janet January 19, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Thank you Angela! These links are so helpful. This year I started using math centers in my 1st grade classroom and have been wanting to start literacy centers. These resources have inspired me to get started.


2 Beatrice Mai March 20, 2011 at 3:47 am



3 Asha July 22, 2011 at 12:18 am

Very interesting ideas for the centers.
Thanks for sharing.
I am a reading resource teacher who has never done centers so I was looking for some ideas.
I teach grades 1-5 & if you have any more ideas please let me know.
Also, I am looking for the materials & resources to use in the centers.


4 Lori April 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I am hooked on your website!


5 Tess May 22, 2012 at 10:54 am

Is there a list of all the paperwork that is required of a typical preschool teacher (such as planbooks, anecdotal records etc) and the timing thereof.


6 Angela Watson May 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Hi, Tess! I’m not aware of any resource like that. Preschools aren’t standardized to the same degree that older grades are. I’d say it depends largely on the type of preschool program you teach in and the timing of their calendar year. Some preschools require far more paperwork and documentation than others.


7 High school teachers April 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm

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8 Emilia November 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Thank you!
These links are so helpful.
very interesting ideas for the centers.


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