Teaching in the 2020/2021 school year is going to be something we write books about. Everything is different, more challenging and feels new. But at the end of the day, the kids still need the same skills. For my first graders, one of the most important skills they need is creating those word family words. Normally, they learn this through playing at word work centers. Knowing this, I went into this school year trying to figure out how I was going to make word work centers work in a distance learning or hybrid learning environment.
How do we make word work centers for distance learning?
My solution to getting word work centers to students who are learning from their living rooms is to build them in Google Slides. These Google Slide centers can easily be assigned via Google Classroom, giving each student their own center. When students are working in Google Slides, they can drag around each element without worrying about formatting. This gives them a very similar experience to moving around letter tiles or pictures cards in a classroom word work center. Additionally, students can easily type into text boxes, allowing them to record the words that they have built.
Why do we need digital centers in the hybrid learning environment?
A few of my friends have asked why I continue to digitize my centers now that I have personally started back to school with hybrid learning. My answer is two-fold. One answer is that my resources aren’t just for me. Many teachers and students are still learning virtually and need digital centers. However, even in my hybrid classroom, I am using digital word work centers. Due to COVID restrictions, my students cannot move from their seat to a center. Additionally, they cannot share resources. So if I choose to use a printable center, I have to make 14 copies of the same center. Not only is this not a responsible use of my copies, I also do not want to have to cut initial sound cards 14 times. Finally, these Google Slides centers can be assigned to 2 or more students through Google Classroom, allowing students to work together from 6 feet apart.
Free Word Family Digital Center for the ACK Family
To try digital word work centers in your classroom, all you have to do is stop by my Teachers Pay Teachers store and download the free ACK Family center. This is a Google Drive product, so you download the folder directly into your Google Drive with a Google Slide version and a PDF printable version of this center. In both versions, students “place” pictures of ACK family words on a prepared ACK family card. Then they find the initial sound letters that make that word. Students then read and record the words they made, building their decoding and encoding skills simultaneously.