As more and more teachers strive to introduce the concept of centers in their classrooms, the nitty gritty details about what to include and where to include it can be overwhelming. If you are excited to start a writing workshop center in your classroom, but are not sure what you need or where to begin, we have some ideas for you. While you need not include all of the items that are suggested, the list will give you a good idea of your options.
Creating a Writing Work Space
The Basic Set-Up
Before you can have a writing work space, you need to have a sturdy place for students to sit and write. If they are simply stopping at the station to pick up supplies and heading back to their own desks, you do not have to worry about this too much. However, if you want to create a true center where students can sit and complete their work, you will need to have space for chairs and a small table or a few desks that you can push together. If space is really limited, try using a space saving table that has sides that fold down when not in use. They can be found rather inexpensively at large furniture stores like IKEA, or at yard sales and flea markets.
Writing work spaces need a lot of clever storage and organization. A classroom mailbox system can be easily adapted to hold all different sorts of paper and keep it organized. Pocket charts are also good if you want to reserve table space for students to be able to spread out while writing. An organizational basket is important to have on hand as well. By keeping the writing supplies organized, students will have a much more successful experience in the center. Proper storage will also help keep everything organized for longer than one class period!
What to Include
While the list of what to include varies depending on the grade that you teach and the purpose of your writing work space, there are some basics that should be included in every writing center. Use the list below to get you started:
- Sharpened Pencils
- Pencil Sharpener
- Colored Pencils (Choose one color for editing or let students use one of their choice)
- 3-hole punch
- Single-hole punch
- Yarn, string and/or ribbon
- Lined writing paper
- Unlined copy paper (white)
- Unlined copy paper (in different colors)
- Scrapbooking or colorful printed paper
- Construction paper
- Note cards
- Index cards
- Blank envelopes of different sizes
If your writing work space will be changing throughout the year, create a bulletin board that reflects the current assignment. A clothesline with clothespins can be strung across the center, high enough not to be a nuisance or distraction, to display completed work. If you want students to keep all of their work in a Writing Center binder, store those in the space if possible. This will cut down on lost papers and materials.
Creating a writing center will help your students stay organized. It will also give your classroom a designated area where writing is a top priority. If you have never created a writing work space, try starting one this year. If you are a pro at setting up a writing work space, let us know what you include and why yours is effective. Take a picture and share with us. We would love to see your center!
Date stamps are also great until the kids realize they need to date thier work. I also have fun little notebooks, colored paper, and different shaped paper in the center ( this usaully goes with my theme like: animals, cars, apples, and etc.) I teach kindergarten so I incluse scraps of paper, stamps and ink, magzines, newspapers, and invitations for the kids to look at or write on.
Often times decorative pencils, or “pretty pencils” as we called them in my first grade classroom, could become a distraction in everyday instruction. So these pencils are now set up for use only in the writing stations and the students looked forward to it as a special perk of being in writing that day. It’s a nice simple change from their daily use of yellow pencils and it really excites them.
I’m so glad that I found this article about creating a writing center in your classroom. This year will be the first time that I have a separate writing area in my classroom. Not just the same old thing (like I had before) where the kids are just at their desk. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I feel as though my kiddos this year will really like visiting an actual writing center in the classroom. Including what’s already been mentioned, I also include stamps and stickers in that center so the kids can either create a story with stamps or with stickers. They love this!
Really a good idea. working for a corporate school.will defenetly put the idea to use
Love the ideas!! I am a Kindergarten teacher, so a writing center is one of my most important centers. I love keeping it organized and still engaging!
Stampers and stamp pads are also nice….this will help those students who may need the rebus type activity to keep their creativity flowing. I like the organization of it all!!
Having your favorite books that have great phrasing or words to inspire you is a must for me along with my fa vorite Mentor Text. A dictionary and a thesaurus are a must for me as well.