Keep Students Writing Every Day!
Do you use a writing center in your classroom? Using this writing center to increase writing skills is a game changer in our classroom. Our writing center is always a class favorite! Kids love it because they are given the opportunity to write in an unstructured setting, get to choose their writing piece, and the different monthly topics are fun! I love it because the writing pieces are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and my students actually write the entire time! There are 10 different components to the writing center, which make this very effective with student writing and engagement.
1. Book Reviews
Because I use this writing center during guided reading centers, students have usually been reading a book independently beforehand. So, writing a book review after works well with the flow of the classroom. If not, they can use a book they previously read. This is a form of opinion writing because they state why or why they don’t like the book. Students also have to give the book a rating, so they have to think about how much they enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy) the book. The important part of this though is they have to explain why.
Lists are a favorite writing piece of the writing center. Kids love to write lists! Plus, these lists are fun. They change every month, but some are: Write different names for a penguin, write your favorite foods, write different animals of the zoo, and so on. This also fits the language standard of sorting words into categories (L.1.5A).
Who doesn’t love to write notes? This one seems to always vanish from my writing center. Kids love to write notes! I ended up putting a limit on this one because note-writing isn’t substantial writing, but at the same I want them to have fun and enjoy writing. My rule is they can write one note and the note has to say something nice or a compliment to the person they’re writing to.
4. Opinion Writing
Opinion writing is a standard for first grade (W.1.1). Students like this one because they color the picture of the one they prefer from the topic and then write about why they chose that. It’s also a good way to introduce opinion writing because they are choosing from two things, but still have to explain why they chose that.
5. Writing About Illustrations
While this is not technically a standard, I think it’s an important part of writing. Students look at and color a picture. Then they have to create a story to go with it. So, their story has to match the setting and the characters.
6. How To Stories
Writing how to stories is a part of informative writing, which is a writing standard (W.1.2). Students can pick different topics and write a story on how to do it. They also draw pictures to match.
7. KWL Charts & Informative Writing
I love to set out some tubs of non-fiction books with this one. There are different topics students can research. Then, they will fill out the KWL chart and write about it. This is a writing standard as well and it’s an important one to get a lot of exposure to.
8. Writing Prompts
These are just like any other writing prompts, but they focus on the standards, as well as other types of writing. You can find letter writing, poetry, list-making, etc. There are a lot of prompts for writing narrative stories as well.
9. Story Starters
Story starters are especially great for students that have trouble starting a story. You probably can think of one you have had in the past- this is the student who can sit and sit and sit throughout the whole writing block and not write anything. That’s okay! Story starters are here to help your reluctant writers!
10. Vocabulary Cards
These are great to hang on your writing board because students can refer to them to help them spell. Vocabulary cards have real life pictures for students to easily identify the words and pictures.
A Year’s Worth Of Writing Centers
If you’re interested in these writing centers, click here to check them out. If you want to read more about our guided reading centers, read this blog post.
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