The writing center is amazing! There is so much to add to this center to make it engaging and fabulous! No matter what you add to this center, make sure you model it with the whole class first. In fact, it would be great to do each activity two or three times during whole group or small group instruction before adding it to the center. In the beginning of the year I do some of the activities as a whole class during the time I have scheduled for centers. However, these activities can also be used in a whole group or in small groups instead of centers.
Picture Cards With Words
One of my favorite things to put in the Writing Center are picture cards with words that match my theme. If you do a more seasonal theme you could keep these words out all month and just add a few new ones each week. If you do new themes each week you can easily change the cards out weekly. These cards are perfect for lots of different writing activities that you might place at the Writing Center. There are plenty of opportunities for your students to decode words, but it’s nice for them to have a few words to help them get started at this center. They can be cut apart and put on popsicle sticks or you can use the full page. Either one students can take to their writing area to use. Here are some examples and although all these images are for my five senses theme, I have a variety of themes with the same activities.
Labeling Pages or Books
I love to add labeling pages to the center. I often do this with them in the beginning of the year. Students can use the word cards to help or you can have them practice decoding them without the word cards.
It’s nice to vary the way students label words. Making books is also great to do towards the middle of the year in order to change things up a bit.
Class Book Pages
These are soooo much fun to do! Make this super simple for yourself by letting the kids know that on Friday you will be stapling the book together and reading it to the class. Whichever pages have been turned into the Finished Basket are the ones that will be in the book. This way you are not trying to hunt down pages. Additionally, you can vary it by doing class books whole group sometimes so that you make sure everyone is accounted for at some point in the year.
Highlight The Letter Or Word Pages
During my thematic units I have a song we sing all week. During centers they can hunt for a letter or sight word in the song and write the letter or word. This is also a fun activity to have students do before going off to centers (they can do it as seat work).
If you need songs and activities to go with them take a look at these songs.
Check out this FREE song if you want to see an example of my music and the activities that go with it.
Write the Room
I add Write the Room recording pages to the Writing Center and hang up the cards all over the classroom. There are also clipboards in a basket by this center. They grab a clipboard, recording sheet and off they go. If you want to understand how and why I do Write the Room check out this blogpost: How To Use Write The Room
I set up the Writing Center on a shelf. I have a tiered tray for the recording pages and/or books and a container for the word cards. Below is a picture of the shelf. The second shelf is for writing (the Not Finished basket is for all my centers). You could dedicate two shelves to writing or even have a separate table in the room as a Writing Center.
Check out these blogposts to see how I run my centers: