My initial data has given me a lot of insight into learning centers. So far, I have found it to be relatively easy to incorporate the Alaska State Standards for curriculum into my daily centers. This week, my students completed the math, reading, writing, and art learning centers. I have technology, social studies and science planned for next week. I incorporated the math learning center into our sensory table and my students loved it! I think next week we will have a science learning center in the sensory table and my students will work with magnets.
I found that talking candidly with my students about the reasons I dislike centers to be valuable. We talked about the noise levels, bickering, tattling, interruptions, and general expectations about working independently. I was surprised at how much my students wanted to help me like center time. They love to be helpful and I should have discussed my feelings with them sooner instead of spending most of the year being frustrated.
I found that my classroom rules were sabotaging having independent learning centers. I want my students to be independent, but if they have to ask me every time they need to leave their center then I am forcing them to be dependent on me. Further, it adds to my frustration because I’m constantly being interrupted while I’m trying to work with other students. The first day of my research, I was a wreck. I felt like I had zero control of the classroom and I was very anxious. As the week progressed, my anxiety has lessened. I do not need to be in control of everything and everyone all the time. My students know what to do and my research shows it. I was not interrupted very often during learning centers time and was able to conduct my observations with few disruptions. I have also found patterns. There are specific students that are more prone to interrupting me during centers and there were specific learning centers that had high occurrences of disruptions. Therefore, I need to work with my students that are struggling the most at being independent and I need to address the problems I am having with my specific centers. Overall, I am finding that my centers are engaging and can be done independently, which is very encouraging since that is my research objective.
I made a few revisions already to my data collection plan. I changed my observation form after test driving it on Monday. My main issue right now is the post interview. I feel the answers I am getting from my kindergarteners make it unreliable. I ask them what they liked and didn’t like about the learning center. I also ask them if the learning center was too hard or too easy (I need to add whether it is just right) and if they would want to do the center again. Some of their answers are not making sense. For example, I asked what they didn’t like about the math center and two of them said that they didn’t like it because it was math. They also said that it was too easy. Then I asked them if they wanted to do it again and they excitedly said “yes!” I think I need to add a question asking why they said yes or no to that last question. I would like to get some insight their reasoning behind their answer.