Today I’m going to talk about Easy Writing Center Ideas. But first… my writing center! This little area is something I always wanted, but it took me a while to get there. I first saw this writing center in the Lakeshore catalog and I knew I had to have it. It took several years to finally purchase, and then many more hours before I did that center justice!
I envisioned my students working at this precious little center, focusing on writing and art, all the cubbies filled with materials to help… but instead I got many years of this being a HOT MESS of scrap papers, half-written in books, broken colors, messy stamps, etc., I finally decided to change it up!
5-Page Writing Booklets
After I got rid of everything and started fresh, the first thing I added was our 5-page writing booklets. First we spent several weeks working on innovative booklets as a class (READ THAT HERE). Then I introduced our booklets. These are super easy to implement.
Here’s How it works:
I sent the papers home with several parents and asked them to put them together. A parent would cut construction paper in half and lined paper in half. (Grab template below.)
Then they would staple the five lined pages in between the construction paper – which gave students five pages to write their story. If you don’t have limited copier numbers to do lined paper, then blank paper will do as well. I just found that the lined paper with a place to draw out their picture worked for us.
I put these in the writing centers, and students could grab whenever they wanted to write a story.
As an incentive, once they became better writers, I would allow students to read their stories at the end of the day. There were a few stipulations, but they always got so much better with time.
Another thing that truly helped was that I always had a few really strong writers who created several stories a week. That was a huge bonus, because students started replicating what my stronger writers were doing. Win Win!!
I honestly think it was because it was easy – five pages could mean one sentence per page. That’s doable even for your resistant writers. Another thing that helped was our writing prompts that we added if they didn’t know what to write about (see quick writes below).
If you’d like to try the 5-page booklet, you can grab it by signing up for our newsletter.
Writing Center Activity
Have you ever created something or used something that you didn’t think was really that big of a deal until it was? That’s what happened with my News Flash. I created on a whim, and it became a HUGE HIT in the writing center.
Here’s how it worked:
First I asked parents to cut out news clippings from the newspaper that would be child appropriate. (I asked for smaller images – not super large ones). Once those started coming in, I pulled a few clippings that I thought would work well as an example. I showed the students to the picture, then we discussed what we “thought” the picture was about. Then I told them that they were going to be News Reporters and would be reporting on different things happening in our community.
We wrote about the image, and discussed how it needed to match the picture, but it could be anything as long as it fit with the image. Once we wrote about it, we glued the image to the box and we hung in our classroom. As the writing progressed, we would hang up some of the NEWS FLASH writings in our writing corner. The students absolutely LOVED writing these – some were super funny, and others were more serious. They LOVED being reporters and this is what actually gave me the idea to create binder topics.
My last year of first grade, we made binder books. I would introduce a new binder cover every few weeks. We would discuss words that should go on the word wall for that topic so that they could refer back to write their stories.
Here’s an example:
One of our binder covers is All About our Classroom and Friends. For each binder, I have the colorful cover, along with a word wall, and lined pages for students to write their stories. For this word wall, I typed in the names of the students. When working on our other word walls, we would meet in our reading area, discuss words, and I would write them down on the pages. Once that was done, this binder went into our writing center, and students were able to not only write in the binders, but they also used the binders during reading time to read other students’ stories. We also used the end of the school day as a time for students to read their stories.
Writing Center Binder Covers and Quick Writes:
Once I realized that the binder covers were a huge hit, I polled my students on topics that they would like to write about. Here’s the list of different binder covers I have available in my resource below.
- Hip Hip Hooray, It’s 100th Day
- For Christmas We…
- This Summer We…
- News Reporter
- All About My Family
- The Trip of a Lifetime
- I Am Thankful For…
- If I had Super Hero Powers…
- All About Our Classroom
- All About My Friends
- All About My Teacher
- Be My Valentine
- Happy Birthday
- Happy Halloween
- Good-bye 1st Grade (I have other grades as well – K-3rd)
- Field Day Activities
- Our Parade Day Activities
I also have 108 quick writes that students can grab and write in either their journal or in their 5-page writing booklet.
Examples of Writing Center Student Work:
I know these aren’t the best pics – but here are a few examples:
5-Page Booklets with Illustrations
Another writing activity that I’ve added to my arsenal of activities actually already have the images done for students. There are usually about 8 pages for students to pick from to create their 5-page booklet.
I’M A SUCKER FOR FUN WRITING PROMPTS
These are so stinkin’ cute – how could students NOT want to write? Now, these take a bit of prep work – since you’ll need to have the lines and cover sheets for each shape, but again, still worth it! Suggestions… if you find that it is taking too long for your students to cut them out, you could always send them home with a room mom and have her cut and staple, so that they are ready for your kiddos. Personally – cutting is part of the process in K and 1st (in my opinion), so let them cut.
I’d love to hear if you end up using any of these ideas. You can email me at [email protected] if you want another binder topic that I didn’t think of. 🙂
Until next time!
We Are Better Together