First of all, not every teacher who does guided reading even
utilizes learning centers. Some have students working at their
desks in pairs or individually. This eliminates the "crawling on
floors." It is quite possible to have students working on learning
activities that are quiet, but focused and meaningful.
Next, students must know what is expected of them. This is done
during that all important beginning month or so when the teacher
models and provided guided practice as to what he/she expects in
regard to classroom routine and behavior, along with directions on
how each activity is supposed to be done. To use a current buzz
word, "stamina" does need to be built up. One cannot expect
students to be able to carry out an activity or read independently
for 20-30 minutes if this stamina is not built first. This also
provides "opportunities for them to succeed."
Lastly, what do you mean by creative worksheets? If you mean that
students are writing reading responses, recording their thoughts
and strategy use, and completing graphic organizers, then yes,
this is creative and a valuable usage of your students' time. If
they are answering questions such as the setting, main characters,
details from the story, writing spelling words umpteen times,
copying vocabulary definitions from a dictionary, etc., this is
certainly not creative or beneficial to your students' learning. I
work with teachers who have thick binders of worksheets they run
off for their students to do. I've been there myself. However, I
also work with some students who cannot sit and focus long enough
to complete a worksheet or to do a center activity.
I've been teaching for over 30 years myself and have witnessed the
pendulum swing in teaching philosophies. Yes, there are times when
new methodologies come into play and we need to adapt and change.
There are also times when we revert back because we realize these
"new-fangled" ideas aren't working. However, our ultimate goal has
to be doing the best for our students, not just ourselves.