The question comes up often in our Teacher Facebook Group, “how do you run your centers?” We use a centers wheel and wanted to share with you how to make a centers wheel so you can use this strategy too.
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I finally figured out I needed my students to rotate around the room in a circle for my own sanity. That was the first change I made to my centers, and so it only made sense that my management system had them rotate in a circle too.
I’m not going to lie, it’s a little tricky to make a centers wheel. I made my first one in about an hour or so years ago and I make the one shown here in about 30 minutes. Either way though, the management and organization you will get will be well worth it! We will give you the pieces you need to make it super quick and as easy as can be.
Here’s what you need:
- black poster board
- white poster board OR a piece of chart paper
- 5 different color construction papers
- a big bowl (mine, the top part was the exact size of a piece of paper, you want it to not be as wide as your posterboard and have some space on the sides)
- pocket labels (we used the 3-inch Target ones)
- extra white paper (not cardstock)
- templates (to make the color sections and the title I used) (click here to download)
Here’s how I made my centers wheel:
1 – Trace your bowl onto the white chart paper or poster board. Cut it out. Mark the center of that circle with a dot (you can’t see in my photo). You can bend and fold the circle if you need to figure this out.
2 – Print the angle pages. These are the perfect angles to make 5 sections, or 5 centers.
3 – Lay the color sections around the circle with the point at the dot. Tape the color paper together.
4 – After the color paper is all taped together, place a small piece of tape under it to stick it to the white circle. Just lift it up and in one part, carefully holding the center to do this. This will help that center point when you cut.
5 – Flip over the circle (make sure it’s taped) and cut it out. We remove the white circle when we are done because we laminate it and two pieces of thick paper are too thick for the laminator.
Now you add things to your poster board.
6 – Add your title.
7 – Center your wheel. You want the same amount of space on the left and right of the wheel. Top to bottom you just want to center it with the title.
8 – Place your pocket chart cards on the poster to make sure they fit.
8 – Cut half inch strips of white paper to make the sections. Put the wheel in the position shown and use those white strips to section off your poster (it’s just the easiest to position it). When you have them where they think they will go, very carefully rotate your wheel around so you can make sure it lines up somewhat correctly.
9 – Glue down those white paper by holding it on one side and lifting the other to tape it. Very carefully poke a hole in the center of the wheel for the brad. These are the same step because it’s like a dance of keeping everything in place while still moving things around.
10 – Laminate and cut out the poster board and wheel.
11 – Very carefully poke a hole in the center of the wheel for the brad. These are the same step because it’s like a dance of keeping everything in place while still moving things around.
Where is your centers wheel in your classroom? We keep our centers wheel on our whiteboard. We actually use magnet buttons (click here to see) because we don’t want the wheel to move freely. So we put one button magnet on the back so it stays where it is supposed to. You don’t need to have it on the whiteboard, but if not you need a plan to have some magnets on it so there is some stability to the wheel. (It will stay but you won’t want someone bumping it or whatever).
And there you have it, our centers wheel! It has been a lifesaver in managing centers!
Now you have your centers wheel, let’s learn how to use it! Click here to read how we use our centers wheel to keep our centers organized and efficient!
We love seeing reader photos! Check out Mrs. Snethen’s Wheel for 4 centers! Well done my friend!
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