• Are you a teacher? Join us! Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!



Full Member
Help with ideas! I have a chatty class of 21..and three behaviors who don't like to sit at carpet..
I have reading groups first which goes ok, but then the rest of the day is so noisy and hard to keep them on task .
Ideas for math centers or center activities in the afternoon that they can work on independently?
Thank you!


Senior Member
This year has been difficult. We never imagined that we would see some of the behaviors we are seeing-major tantrums, screaming meltdowns. We have to keep in mind that our students have spent almost half their lives living in a pandemic with Covid protocols.

It has been a struggle to get the students to work independently. There is so much learned helplessness. Many don't know what school is about. They are used to one-on-one immediate attention/feedback from a parent sitting next to them or tuning out the world because their parents used technology as a babysitter. <!--eyebrow-->

I am not sure if this will help you. I'll share some things I've done.

First, when my students arrive, they have 15 minutes to play and socialize. Each student has a bin with Play-Doh, a puzzle, lacing cards, yoga cards... because of Covid protocols. When I ring the chimes, "their time" is up and it is "work time." That seems to help.

We take movement breaks throughout the day. I use You-Tube videos, Go Noodle and Yoga.

I introduced one activity at a time for centers (Daily 5, math, free choice). I modeled how to get, use and return the materials. We practiced and practiced... and practiced as a whole group before I introduced the next activity. (I follow a procedure similar to introducing Daily 5 activities.)

I don't know if I can explain this correctly. I have core activities that the children know how to do. That way I don't have to spend time introducing activities each week. I might have one or two new ones. I just change the theme. materials used, the range of numbers or group of letters...to keep it interesting. This helps them be independent.

Five year olds are noisy and talkative. It is the way they communicate. They aren't getting the normal visual cues like looking at our facial expressions because we are wearing masks. I have signs I hold up. I think the only time my room gets semi-quiet is when my students are wearing headphones listening to stories or working on an app on the iPad.<!--giggle-->