I totally agree with Debbie Clement when she writes about process vs product! In order for children to take ownership of their product, they need to feel that THEY created it in every way! I am SO NOT a worksheet teacher! I KNOW they have a place in the classroom, but if I am bored making copies of the same paper over and over again, how bored are my students going to be? I truly believe that if a child feels ownership in their work, they will retain it SO MUCH longer than a child who cuts and glues copied pieces of paper from one spot to another. Of course as I said, I DO use worksheets, but they must fulfill a purpose for my students; not just be busy work. The centers do not have to be complicated. Many times the children are simply making a drawing or a cut and glue project.
So... I am sharing some pictures of what my students did today. In one of their literacy centers, they were to create an animal from hearts, (typical Valentine's project!), write the name of their animal, and count and record the number of hearts that they used for their animal. Later in the week, they will write about their animal. I start out the year instructing my students how to create pictures from shapes. We start out simply and by this time of the year, the kids are creating much more complicated drawings/cuttings. I usually provide optional step by step illustrations for the kids to follow and most will use them, but some do not and that is fine. Here is an example of the illustrations that I provide for them..... Click on the image to get a sample copy of this illustration. The hen is the simplest of the illustrations. The lion (which no one chose today!) has 9 steps.....And here are a few finished products I received from the first group of students at this center today. I am so proud of their hard work!One more thing: I do not give my students heart templates to use. I show them how to draw a heart on paper and then cut it out. We do not use the "cut on the fold" type of heart construction. My little ones just don't seem to get the fold vs open part of the paper and I end up using far too much time and TAPE mending little paper hearts! Here is an image of the poem that I use when teaching how to draw hearts. If you would like a copy of it, just click on the picture and you SHOULD get a google doc of it (hope, hope, fingers crossed !) Happy heart making! :)