Saturday, July 16, 2011

Writing Centers - Setting Up the Classroom Series



{Click to see more of my posts on how to set up a classroom.} 

When creating a writing center, you want to designate a space that will allow you to make accessible the tools needed for the craft. While I do many structured writing lessons and assignments, I find that my students really grow when they are allowed to write about topics that interest them in ways that interest them.

I designed my writing area to be:
  • easy to maintain
  • a model of organization
  • abundant with materials that they will need for all aspects of the process
  • accessible to all students at the same time

By that I mean that I avoided having a writing center that housed materials and had space for a few students to sit and write. A situation like that would either prevent other students from getting to the materials they needed or else would be disruptive to those working there.

Make sure your items are well labeled and that you develop procedures and routines to maintain the area. This will help keep it neat and organized which will greatly improve it's value in the classroom.

This is my writing center.
Well, it will be my writing center in the fall. It's also played the role of my math center, my student cubbies, and "slots of randomness." The randomness became mostly writing related so I took it in that direction and love it.

The top row houses a variety of papers to choose from.

The second row houses the student's composition notebooks that they use as journals. We decorate the covers and Modge Podge them as part of the extensions I do with my first read aloud of the year.

There is a table behind the shelves that children elect to sit at when working on writing projects, but you'll find them writing all over the room. The closed cabinets have reference books (dictionaries, thesaurus, etc).
The bottom rows are filled with bins that hold supplies writers will need to research, plan, draft, revise and publish.


My labels were made using Thistlegirl Designs clipart and are available here.


I am absolutely, positively adding this to my classroom. It'll be the perfect thing to put in that skinny bulletin board space shown above my writing center unit. The next set of pictures has a different version of it.


The following three photos are from Jessica Meacham's classroom. I adore her! Click here to check out her valuable tips on the writing center. I really like how she made a model of the expectations of her writers.





The following photo is from Beth Newingham's classroom. Click here to read her Scholastic article on setting up a writing center.



I love this idea. The creator, Mrs. Rojas has a fairly new, but oh-so-lovely blog that you simply must check out. Read her post about this cute Target Dollar Spot project here and obtain the labels she so generously created here.















(view source)

This teacher has organized her writing center paper in scrapbooking drawers. Each drawer has been labeled with the contents. (View more pictures of this classroom here: source)



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6 comments:

  1. This was REALLY helpful Jodi, thank you for doing this and everything you have been blogging about! We are starting an official Writer's Workshop in our district and I need to rethink the way I store my materials. You are a godsend!
    Kristen :)

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  2. There are some FANTASTIC ideas here - thanks very much for collating them all in one place. You're a legend!

    Down Under Teacher

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  3. This is great. I haven't really had a "writing center" since I've taught mostly upper grades but they usually have them in the small fry classrooms. I love your organizer.


    BTW -- I'm not sure if you got my 2nd email or not. I've been out of town most of the weekend. No files yet. I didn't know if my email may have gone to spam again. Sorry it's such a pain :( Just wanted you to know!

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  4. i need advise on my prek art center

    ReplyDelete
  5. I like the cans. Are they glued together with hot glue? I'm thinking of doing something like that and put them on a lazy susan. I've been trying to find the right cups or cans or whatever. Contact paper on cans might be the trick.

    ❀Lisa
    Effective Teaching Articles Blog

    ReplyDelete

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