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!