Managed Independent Learning allows the teacher to select students with whom to work in small guided reading groups.  The other students use a Workboard to determine which literacy activities they are assigned to do on a given day.  Managed Independent Learning can last from 45-60 minutes and is usually done four times a week, with the fifth day given to "catch-up" of the activities not completed.

    Heterogenous groups of students move among literacy centers for the duration of workboard time.  Typically, students do three or four activities a day.  The groups do not move together; rather, each child moves at his or her own pace.
    Where do the activities come from?  The literacy centers are derived from your teaching.  The book you  used for shared reading last week becomes this week's Listening Center and Writing center.  The new Word Wall words this week may become ABC center and Read, Flip, Write, Check next week.  It is critical to note that in order to be independent, the students must know what and how to do the activity. It takes several weeks to get Workboard up and running.  Each center activity must be explicitly taught and modeled.   This is not the time to introduce new concepts.  Instead, it is the time to provide practice.  This is the opportunity for the students to engage in the bottom two elements of the framework:  Independent Reading and Independent Writing, with no teacher support.

These are some possible Literacy Centers:

Read Along Center
Writing Center
                                                       ABC Center:
Math Center:

Handwriting Center
Poetry Journal
Write Around the Room

                                                                                      Game Center

Science Center
Pocket Chart Center
Browsing Boxes
Independent Reading

Read Around the Room   

    This is another description of Managed Independent Learning and its requirements.  Read on for some center ideas and management strategies . . .

Classroom Management Strategies
that Support a Literate Classroom

Classroom management involves the organizational and decision-making skills
teachers use to create a climate that encourages learning. Teachers exhibit
strong management skills when they assess students learning and plan
instruction based on their needs.

All class members must be engaged in meaningful literacy activities.

To facilitate a literate classroom with guided reading groups, the first
challenge for teachers is organizing the classroom. Students must be able to
work in a focused way in small clusters. A question teachers often ask is,
"What do I do with the rest of the children while I'm teaching the small
group lesson?"

While the teacher focuses on small guided reading groups, the other students
are working in reading and writing centers. Create an environment that is
clear and uncluttered, set up centers and consider

Ease of traffic flow
Use of materials
Display space
Storage space

Management during guided reading is critical. The teacher must establish an
organized, predictable environment and teach children to use it. The
following steps are suggested as one method of creating a management plan
that supports a balanced literacy program.

Organizing Centers

Looking at your class list, construct three or four workgroups.

All students in the class are included in a work group.
Students in each group can work well together.
Groups are diverse.
Groups are heterogeneous in terms of reading and writing ability.
Groups are not too large to begin their work in one center or area.

Grouping for Centers

Design an organizational chart that accounts for groups and activities. At
first you may start with only two activities. Be sure to consider the

Groups are working on different activities.
All activities involve some kind of literacy.
Activities do not disrupt guided reading groups.
There is some opportunity for students to make choices.
There is a balance of reading and writing tasks. ·
Implementing Centers

Implement your plan over a three-week period. During the first week, teach
the routines. During the next two weeks, begin meeting with the guided
reading groups.

Setting Up Your Classroom

Classroom setup can dramatically affect students' attitudes toward and habits
of learning. Students need an environment that is organized, stimulating, and
comfortable in order to learn effectively. Creating such an environment
entails arranging a practical physical layout, supplying diverse materials
and supplies, and encouraging students to have a sense of belonging and

Tips for Getting Started:

Ask students where they think the different learning centers should go.
Let students help to define what behavior is appropriate for each learning
Help students learn how to behave appropriately by role-playing and
practicing with them.
Post procedures for learning centers where students can refer to them.
Arranging the Learning Centers

Take the physical features of your classroom into account when planning. As
the year progresses, you can add different kinds of learning centers to fit
the evolving needs of your class.

Keep computers facing away from windows to keep glare from sunlight off the
Use bookshelves to isolate different areas.
Provide comfortable seating.
Save space by using walls for posters, display shelves, books, and supplies.
Build a loft to save space while creating a private spot for independent
Separate learning centers of high activity, such as the cross-curricular
center, from areas like the reading center, where students need quiet.
Set aside an area to meet with small groups. Allow enough seating for about
eight students.

Arranging the Whole-Group Area

Make sure that all students will have an unrestricted view of the chalkboard.
Consider using a rug to mark off the area if you have primary-grade
Consider the whole-group activities that are required to determine how to
arrange students’ desks. Keep in mind that arranging desks in a circle
promotes discussions and small clusters of desks can double as small-group
meeting areas.
Your desk should be out of the way, but in an area where you can view the
entire classroom. Set aside an off-limits zone for your records and supplies.


Whole-Group Area

For whole-class lessons-this includes informal discussion, direct
instruction, and student presentations. This is a good place for an Author's
Chair from which students can read their writing to the class.

Small-Group Area

Here you can give small-group instruction or allow groups of students to
gather for peer-led discussions.

Reading Area
This is a place for students to read independently or quietly with a partner.
It should provide comfortable seating, a variety of books, and a quiet,
secluded atmosphere.

Writing Center

Here students write independently and collaboratively. The area should
contain comfortable space for writing and a variety of supplies.

Cross-Curricular Center -also called Science, math, social studies, or art center

This is an active center where students explore relationships across
different curricula, including literature, science, social studies, art, and

Computer Station

This area is for computer use in writing, math, reading, keyboard practice,
research, telecommunications, and creative games.

Creative Arts Center

This area is where students can get involved in visual art and dramatic play.
It should have a variety of art supplies, costumes, and props.

Communication Area/Post Office

This area has mail slots for students and teacher to exchange written
messages and suggestions.

Listening Station

Here students listen to tapes of books, stories, songs, and poems.

Word Study
Interactive Read Aloud
Shared Writing  
Shared Reading
Interactive Writing
Guided Reading
Writing Workshop
Independent Reading

Independent Writing (Writing Center)

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