First off I would reccomend a bit of reading and research to get you started. Check out what teacher resource books you have available at your school and ask other teachers what they have used. I remember being intrigued and then inspired by a teacher at our school who was teaching using centres. She said that The Daily 5 is a great place to start. She took me for a walk through her classroom and explained how she ran the program. Have a read through this excellent guide- it will answer most of your questions about how to impliment centres in your classroom. You likely will need to create a version of the plan to suit your students and your timetable.
Next you will need to get together all of the resources you need to get going. I have highlighted some excellent websites and teaching blogs. Many teachers are doing literacy centres - and - wait for it - share all of their ideas and resources on their blogs. You work is drastically reduced, so don't try to create everything from scratch when someone else has already done it for you.
Easing into it
I would also reccomend starting off slow. You will really need to train your students and get them use to the idea of working independetly. 'The Daily 5' is great for this, they explain how to build up to fully independent work over a time period of say, a month or so. And they include right in the book what your schedule will look like over that time period. You will also find a variety of great resources on the Two Sisters website - they are the authors of 'The Daily 5' and have also written many other fantastic teacher resources.
If you have ideas you would like to share, or a great website or book about centres - please leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julieanne Steedman, Early Learning Coordinator