Welcome! Search to find tips, strategies, and more.

Using Centers to Reinforce Skills in Upper Elementary

Using Centers to Reinforce Skills in Upper Elementary is a collaboration blog post that includes different activities and strategies on how to successfully implement centers with the older kiddos. Content shared by: MARISSA DESPINS, RISSA HANNEKEN, MARIANNA MONHEIM, RACH JAMISON, TANYA G. MARSHALL, and RACHEL DEROCHE

Older Kiddos Love centers too!

Unleash the potential of your students’ learning experience through the use of classroom centers! Centers are not just for the primary grades. They serve as an important way to help your older students master a wide variety of skills. Centers not only play a role in fostering engagement, but they also ignite active learning among students.

This insightful blog post is your gateway to learning a variety of ways to use centers to reinforce skills in upper elementary. Explore innovative methods to captivate your students’ attention and drive their curiosity.

Elevate your teaching approach by embracing the versatility and effectiveness of using centers with your older kiddos. Click to learn more on the 5 Top Reasons for Using Centers in Your Classroom

Using ELA Centers to Cultivate a love of reading

Marissa from Creative Classroom Core believes that utilizing ELA centers in upper elementary classrooms is highly beneficial for students’ skill development and overall academic growth, simply because centers make learning enjoyable and immersive. 

By providing activities that encompass reading, writing, and grammar, students have multiple opportunites to explore facets of language in creative and engaging ways.

Marissa loves that ELA centers facilitate differentiated instruction, addressing the individual needs and abilities of each student. This ensures that every learner in her room receives targeted practice and support. 

Centers also promote collaboration among peers, fostering meaningful discussions and cooperation, which, in turn, enriches their understanding of language and literature.

ELA centers in upper elementary classrooms provide a dynamic and effective approach to honing crucial language arts skills while cultivating a lifelong love for reading and writing

Read more about ways to engage learners in ELA on the Creative Classroom Core blog.

Reference Charts boost Center effectiveness

Rissa from Teaching in the Heart of Florida has found that adding Reading Skills anchor charts and How to find the Skill Steps to upper elementary centers is a game-changer for making students more independent. 

These visual aids are valuable reference tools, providing students with clear and concise information on various reading strategies and concepts. As students began using these helpful tools, she observed that students felt more empowered, and the quality of their center work went up. 

When both these reference materials are strategically placed in the center, students can use them whenever they get stuck or need help. As a result, students become more self-reliant, building their confidence and skills as they navigate through the center activities. 

Read more about how these reference charts can make a big impact on the effectiveness of your centers on the Teaching in the Heart of Florida blog.

Effective No Prep Editing Centers

When it comes to using centers to reinforce skills in upper elementary, Tanya The Butterfly Teacher loves Editing Stations!

If your students struggle with applying correct spelling and punctuation to their writing, then you’ll love Editing Stations too.

Here’s how they work:

  1. Divide students into small groups, then give them a proofreading paragraph to correct.
  2. Have them work together as a team to find all the grammar mistakes in the paragraph.
  3. Then come back together as a whole class to go over the answers.


This simple center activity requires no prep from you and takes 10-15 minutes for students to complete. Plus, you can tailor each station to focus on a specific grammar skill.

For example, one station could focus on punctuation errors only, while another center reinforces the skill of correct spelling rules.

Tanya enjoys using editing worksheets for these kinds of centers because they’re engaging, but also effective. Not only that, but they are also print-and-go, which saves you so much time!

In her blog post Effective Editing Practice for Upper Elementary Students, she goes into more detail about reviewing grammar skills to improve writing.

Two of the tips she shares relate to effectively using checklists and how to help students build strong editing habits!

You can also grab some free editing worksheets from her post. These allow you to get the ball rolling on using centers to strengthen proofreading skills in upper elementary.

using Year round Centers to boost learning

Marianna from Creatively Comprehensive used to find prepping for centers tedious. Then she discovered the secret to using centers to reinforce skills with her students – year-round centers!

Instead of changing out centers weekly, Marianna prefers to start the year off by training students to use a variety of reading response sheets and word work activities.

If you add in a technology option, these three centers will provide students with quality targeted independent practice while you pull small groups. Plus, you don’t have to worry about reinventing the wheel each week!

Get some tips for organizing year-round centers as well as some free sample activities on the Creatively Comprehensive blog.

Reinforce Math Skills With Centers

Rach believes that using centers to reinforce skills can be a great way to incorporate many ways of thinking, learning, and doing while in class.

Rachel from Fifth is my Jam has always enjoyed setting up math stations and letting her students have fun! 

These MATH(S) centers allow the teacher to trade out different activities but keep the groups the same or rotating. Each group can be independent, small group, partners, etc.

Additionally, there are a variety of ways to learn. Students can experience hands-on, teacher time, technology, and more!

Read more here about these math stations and activity ideas, too.

Final Thoughts Using Centers to reinforce Skills

Using centers to reinforce skills is a great way to get your kiddos learning with hands-on activities that cultivate a deeper understanding. Centers are also fun and engaging which encourages students to take a new approach to learning. 

If you love the variety of ideas shared throughout this post, click the “Read More on the Blog” buttons to learn more about what each collaborator has to share on Using Centers to Reinforce Skills in Upper Elementary.

Pin it for later!

Graphic with Dictionary Center Activity

Hey there! I'm Rachel

Hey there…I am so glad you are here. I hope  you find content that truly resonates and helps you in your classroom. Please feel free to send me an email if you have any questions or concerns. Thanks!

Search the Site

Read the Blog

Shop the Store

You might also like...