Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Following Directions Center

One of the things I always have during center/workstation time is have a "Following Directions" center.  This center incorporates reading simple directions and building fine motor control.   Students follow the directions to complete a 'project'---using templates (I call them stencils), the students trace around the stencil and then cut them out.  They refer to the directions to know what to do, and when to do it.  

Why do I do this?  SOOOOOOOOO many reasons.
  1. My students need exposure to procedural text.   This is another example for them that reading has a purpose.
  2. My students need practice with eye-hand coordination and need a chance to build their fine motor control.
  3. We don't have a lot of time to make 'projects' in our day, and this allows the students time to do something they enjoy while at the same time working on essentials.
  4. Because the students are the ones tracing and cutting pieces, this keeps me from having to 'prep' a million things.
  5. It gives me good feedback on "the whole picture" regarding the child's development.  It is also true that a picture is worth a thousand words.
  6. These projects often are 'prompts' for later writing projects.
  7. Last, but not least, they can be differentiated!  We start with basic directions (rebus style) at the beginning of the year, and move towards more text and less picture support near the end of the year.  

Here are examples of directions from December, and then directions from the end of the year.

Gingerbread Man                                                                    


Okay, I've spent ages trying to figure out how to embed the scribd viewer so you can see the documents within this post.  Can anyone help?


  1. This is awesome because now I can have students practice directions, cutting, design and link it to ccss Reading Information Text! Thank you! This really made my day!
    First Grade Frame of Mind

  2. how early in the year do you start this? I love it, as it does give them a chance to be creative and they don't know they are working.

  3. Thank you for this! I am a neophyte teacher... still learning the ropes! :) I love to gather ideas and wisdom from experienced teachers, such as yourself! I am new blog follower! :)

  4. Billi---I start this right away, at the end of September. I spend the first three weeks 'teaching the procedure' of centers. I'll post more about this later this week...and I'll try to post more freebies by then!