A few weeks ago, we talked about developing students’ independence. Centers are a great learning tool for students – and they are great for helping students take ownership of their learning.

I found that my students were the most independent and confident in their learning when participating in the right center activities. 

I believe that every student can benefit from centers in some way. 

So how do you use centers effectively?

How To Use Centers

If we aren’t careful, centers can easily take too much time and energy from us, and we can find center prep overwhelming our time. 

You should be using centers, not letting centers use you.

I found that using centers as a brain break or as a place to review concepts was really helpful to my students. 

Centers are a place for kids to move their bodies and think differently. Being in a center is also a “break” from the traditional lecture style of learning that students (and teachers) can get tired of. 

I found centers to be a break in what otherwise could become a monotonous day. 

Centers can be set up to be a daily routine in your class or something you use for special times, such as the end of a unit. Pull out centers when you feel your students are getting bored or completely disengaged. Use centers when it is time to review concepts before an exam or when you have extra time at the end of a day. 

What To Use In Centers

If you select the right resources in centers, your students will continue to learn even when they aren’t being taught traditionally. 

So what resources are the most effective in centers? You want activities that can be differentiated to meet the varying needs of your students but are simple to select, set up, and use.

BalloonPop™ Games

When it comes to centers, BalloonPop™ games have it all. 

With the ability to differentiate for individual needs, I would’ve used these games in my classroom constantly! 

You can assign games to groups of kids to play in a PowerPoint style, or assign them to individuals to play by themselves. 

You can play these games on a computer or on an iPad, making it a simple game for your centers. 

Also, did I mention NO PREP TIME?! 

Click on the photos to learn more. 


Reading Response Centers

If you have a center focused on reading, this is a great tool for you! 

Have students write to you about the books they are reading. You can have one set notebook in this center or a few notebooks. 

Gaining some perspective on what your students are gleaning and understanding from the books they read is a great way to gauge their learning. 

Make sure the questions you ask students are challenging enough to make them think before answering. 

And who doesn’t enjoy some writing practice? 

Teaching Ideas 4U - Amy Mezni - Reading Comprehension Questions

Learning Card Games

All kids love to play games, so why not use games to review concepts? 

I have a ton of card games that I’ve created to help students review major concepts in ELA. 

These games are great for centers and come with little prep on your side. 

You can check out all of my card games by clicking on the photo below.


Fact Fluency 

Work on your students’ fact fluency by getting your hands on engaging flashcards! 

Have students work together in a center to “quiz” each other while using the flashcards. 

You’ll love how easy it is for students to work together, and they’ll love to talk to each other about it!

Digital Book Reports 

As you focus on students’ reading comprehension skills, try using these digital book reports as a fun center activity. 

Each of the book reports I’ve created is specifically designed to test a student’s knowledge of the different parts of reading comprehension. 

Some of the topics are:

  • Conflict and Theme
  • Characteristics of Fiction
  • Author’s Purpose and Tone

There are a total of 9 different types of digital book reports you can use for your centers. You can click on the photo to learn more. 


When used correctly, centers can enforce learning, promote movement, and keep your students engaged. 

What type of activities do you use in centers? I’d love to hear!

Looking For Resources To Save You Prep Time?

Over twenty plus years, my educational career has spanned four continents and two states, as well as eight grade levels!

Read More

Join my monthly email list and get this Reading Comprehension FREEBIETeaching-Ideas-4U-Amy-Mezni-Reading-Comprehension-Questions-cover