Ideas for Library Learning Centers
First Things First!
At the top of any list involving library centers, I have to put Cari Young’s The Centered School Library blog! No matter what combination of search terms I use when looking for center ideas, Google consistently returns this blog on the first page of results! I have been following Cari’s blog for awhile now, and it has been a real source of inspiration for me.
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Below you will find a categorized list of suggestions for library centers. I have to thank the awesome #TLElem Group on Twitter for contributing many of the ideas you see here, and I have credited each contributor with his/her Twitter handle. If you have an idea you’d like to share, please contact me so I can add it to the list! You can tweet me @LibraryLoriJune or email me at lori.june @ sumterschools.net
If you would like your idea credited with a link to your blog or library website rather than (or in addition to) your Twitter profile, please let me know. And if you have additional details or photos for an idea that’s listed here, I’d love to include them as well!
General Learning Center Advice
From Carolyn’s Risking Failure blog: Library Center Debrief sharing from the presentation she gave at the Potomac VaASL Spring Regional Conference describing how and why she uses learning centers in her library (@carolynvibbert)
- Article titled Interactives: Dynamic Learning Environments from School Library Monthly has links to websites that students can use in a computer center. The focus is on sites that provide “an engaging environment where learners can organize resources, manipulate information, and even create new content. Students aren’t simply consumers of information; they become part of an active, learning experience.” (Article is from 2010, so some links may no longer be working.)
- EducaPlay allows you to create your own interactive online resources, or use activities that have been created by other users, such as this Parts of a Computer Quiz or this Technology Terms Crossword Puzzle.
- A book trailer center where students use QR codes and watch book trailers (@ReadKennedyRead)
- Weekly BrainPop extension activities to go along with our lessons. [Note: Brain Pop Jr. is available free in S.C. through DISCUS] (@laurolib)
- Tumblebooks [a subscription-based animated book site] (@LibraryLoriJune)
- Google Earth (@jluss)
- Research center where students can research their own topics using online encyclopedias/databases. (@ReadKennedyRead)
- Use Wordle to create seasonal “poems” (@LibraryLoriJune)
- Allow students to explore United Streaming (@cktechtl)
- Bitstrips for Schools Comic Creator (@LibraryLoriJune)
- Create Reading Responses using VoiceThread, like this one (@libraryreeder)
- Destiny Quest for schools using Destiny Circulation/Cataloging Software (@ccls531)
- Online interactive magnetic poetry from Shadow Poetry (@LibraryLoriJune)
- Create I Spy Poetry online (@LibraryLoriJune)
- Book-related flipcharts for the Promethean board (@LibraryLoriJune)
- ABCYa! website works nicely on IWBs (@LibraryLoriJune)
Writing and Drawing Centers
- Corbett Harrison specializes in Writing activities, and many of his plans could work in a library center. I like this Metaphor of the Week idea. Also take a look at the Writing Fix website, which is the “home of interactive writing prompts.”
- Elementary Teacher Resources has some suggestions for Literacy Centers. Although they are for classrooms rather than libraries, many can be adapted. For example, this Character Sketch center has students creating a drawing of a book character including traits such as what the character might think or say and where the character lives.
- Bookmark Creation Station where students use provided materials to create bookmarks. (@Okle_Miller)
- Poster Creation Station where students use provided materials to create a book poster; for example, for state book award nominees. (@JuleeMurphy)
- Shelf Talker Creation Station (@LibraryLoriJune)
- Twitter Tweet Board where kids post paper “tweets” about books. (@JuleeMurphy)
- Book Review Creation Station where students fill out a form to recommend a book. (@libraryjo92)
- Art center where students examine – and create their own interpretations of – famous works of art (@JuleeMurphy)
- Drawing center stocked with pencils, paper, and how-to-draw books (@melissajkwhite)
- Library Games (slogan: Making Libraries Fun!) has some ideas that can be incorporated into student centers.
- Mrs. Simmons has a year-long plan for each grade level she serves (K-5th), and some of her lessons can be used in learning centers. Scroll to the bottom of the page for links to each grade level.
- A lesson on Book Care that could become a center after being used in a whole class activity.
- Paper Toys from the Toymaker features printable paper toys kids can assemble, including fairy tale characters, koi kites, finger puppets, mini books, and more.
- Glue the large Lego “yards” to a wall; have Lego bins below. (@Cfwilkerson)
- Spy Code Puzzles (@JuleeMurphy)
- Origami Monster Bookmarks (@cktechtl)
- Shelving and Dewey Activities (@Cfwilkerson)
- Whisperphones (@carolynvibbert)
- Popsicle stick book cover puzzles (@cktechtl)
- I Spy Center and then have items to recreate your own I Spy Challenge (@JuleeMurphy)
- “Create Your Own Eric Carle Inspired Art” with glue and tissue paper for students to use to create a picture of a flower, or sunshine, or anything! This would work for other illustrator-inspired art, too. (@librarygoddess)
- Flannel Board center based on a familiar story (@librarygoddess)
- A plant center with mostly succulents. Students may take a small piece and transplant it to their home garden. (@JuleeMurphy)
- Estimation Station: Fill a jar with one inch cubes. Students used strategies to make their best estimation for the number. (@JuleeMurphy)
- Magnet board with words to create poems. (@Okle_Miller)
- Book Spine Poetry creation center. (@libraryreeder)
- Poetry Blocks made with Legos (@booksandqi)
- Science Center: Discovery Bottles (@cktechtl)
- Counting Bills and Coins Math App for iPods (@libraryjo92)
- Tadpole Center (@DCSDgarveys)
- Ladybug Habitat (@carolynvibbert)
- Big 6 Research Center (@heidinelt)
- Have book reviews centered around a theme available for students to read. (@librarianmissk)
- Book Buddy Reading (@MrsLodge)
- Genre sorting: Pull books and have students sort them based on reading a selected passage. (@ReadKennedyRead)
- Color Comics section from Sunday newspaper (@LibraryLoriJune)
- “Read a Book by ______” Center: Fill in the blank with an author’s name, provide a stack of books by that author for students to read and picture walk through (@librarygoddess)
Library Skills Centers
- Book Sorting: Make a large T on the floor with masking tape. Have students sort them by putting fiction and nonfiction books on either side. (@Elem_Librarian)
- Pull books from the shelf and have students organize alphabetically according to call number/letters (@ReadKennedyRead)
Quick and Simple Centers
- Chess (@carolynvibbert) [Note: I highly recommend No Stress Chess for students who want to learn how to play. @LibraryLoriJune]
- Puzzles (@Okle_Miller)
- Crossword Puzzles (@MrsLodge)
- Pop-Up Books (@MrsLodge)
- I Spy books and/or optical illusion books (@ccls531)
- Guinness and other World Record Books (@cktechtl)