Nothing screams kindergarten like a magnetic letters literacy station! But what is the best way to set up your magnets center? Are you wondering how to use magnetic letters in kindergarten (if you’re anything like me, you’ve got a million extras)?
Today I’m going to walk you through setting up my magnetic letters center and how I manage it in my kindergarten classroom.
Questions To Ask Before Setting Up Your Magnets Center
Before setting up your magnetic letters center, there are a few questions you should ask. These questions will help you plan the best magnets center for you and your classroom management style.
- How often will students go to this literacy center?
- Do you want a limit on how many students can be in the literacy center at one time?
- How much space do you have to dedicate? Is there a magnetic surface in your room that would work well for this literacy station?
- If you have limited space, would cookie sheets work for you? How will you store them?
- How will you store your magnetic letters?
- What activities will students be able to do at this literacy center?
- Do you want to differentiate these activities? If you do, how will you differentiate this center?
- If you need accountability, how will you do that? Do you want recording sheets?
How I Set Up My Magnetic Letters Center
In my classrooms, I have had giant A/C units. Instead of wasting this space, I decided to turn them into our magnetic letters center. A co-teacher of mine used a giant auto oil drip pan to make hers.
I keep all of our magnetic letters in a basket mixed together. After this year, I switched to a rubber basket from Big Lots with no holes. 😉
At first, I partitioned an area by gluing magnets on border. I don’t recommend that! It lasted the first few weeks of school.
How To Use Magnetic Letters in Kindergarten
There are a few different activities you can have your students do in your magnetic letters center. First, have students match magnetic letters to an alphabet chart.
This is one of my favorite activities at the beginning of the year. I just printed an alphabet chart at poster size and put magnetic tape on the back (I couldn’t find a picture, but it’s identical to this one I have in the front of my classroom).
Magnetic letter mats that are specifically designed for this center are also a great option. My students can pick a mat, use the circle magnets to hang it up, and then complete the activity.
I generally put out a few mats at a time in a basket or a magnetic paper holder. The skills progress throughout the year and include matching colors, letters, letter sounds, and building words.
If you wanted to differentiate, you could color code them or put in poly envelopes by color.
If you don’t have room for a big magnetic letters center, these are easily used on cookie sheets. I even put them in our basket centers sometimes!
Another fun way to use magnetic letters in Kindergarten is building names and sight words.
I just use sharpie to write the words on our AC unit and students build above or on top of the words.
The sharpie erases with dry erase marker, but if it freaks you out, you could write the words on sentence strips and stick magnets on the back.
How I Manage The Magnetic Letters Center
Now that you know how to use magnetic letters, how will you manage your magnetic letters station?
In my classroom, magnetic letters are a second choice center. Students can go there once a week. You can read more about how I manage literacy centers in Kindergarten here.
I usually limit this center to two students at a time, but you don’t have to.
For accountability, I usually just keep my eye on this center to make sure students are working and engaged. However, you could definitely use a recording sheet.
I made these free magnetic letters center recording sheets in case you can use them. Students can trace or write letters they match or write the words they make.
Set Up Your Own Magnetic Letters Center
A magnetic letters station is such an easy way to use all of those extra magnetic letters in your classroom! It keeps students engaged and learning in a hands on way.
If you’re wanting to enjoy your summer and not wanting to think about how to use magnetic letters in your classroom (I feel ya!), you can grab these ready to go magnetic letter mats, you can find them here!
This entire week I’ve been chatting about how I set up different literacy centers in my classroom to help you plan for back to school. Read more here:
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