Sunday, September 22, 2013

Writing centers that work like a charm!!

How do you manage writing centers?  When I first moved from 2nd grade to 1st grade I realized that what I did in 2nd grade was not going to work for my cute little 1st graders!  Of course I turned to my more experienced teammates and pinterest for inspiration.  I loved all the writing center menus that I saw online but when I tried those it was too many choices for my students and then spent their time choosing or fooling around and making mulitple choices per center rotation.  That is when I decided to dedicate a different writing activity to each day of the week so that they would have variety and consistency!  I bought a set of plastic in boxes and labeled them with the days of the week and put the materials in each day.  It has worked like a charm ever since.  Check out my Daily Writing Center Menus in my TPT store and feel free to download the preview for a closer look!

Here is the order for our daily writing centers:


Write a friendly letter!  I have a selection of writing papers that they can choose from and they get to pick anyone from our class to writing their friendly letter to.  At the begining of the year, I ask them to make sure their letters have a greeting, closing and at least 3 sentences.


Make a book!  Sometimes I use books from Enchanted Learning or DLTK!  My kiddos also like to create their own books using construction paper and lined papers.


Write and create!  This is my one of my favorite days because I get to use different pieces of artwork or cool photographs  to inspire my kiddos.  I use the See, Think, Wonder strategy to have them use critical thinking skills to analyize the artwork.  They have to write one thing they See, one thing they are Thinking about when they look at the picture, and one thing they Wonder about after looking at the picture.  There are so many cool resources and ways to differentiate this on the


Think and Thank Thursday!  This is my favorite out of the whole week!! My principal actually started this awesome tradition in our school.  Every Thursday morning during announcements he reminds the students that it is "Think and Thank Thursday", he charges them with finding someone to thank that day and to think about how that person has helped them in some way.  So during writing centers that day my kiddos make a Thank You card using construction paper.  They glue a precut piece of lined paper on the inside right panel of the card and write a thank you note to someone in our building.  I have a list of people who work in our building and used pictures from our website so that they can pick someone new each week.  They decorate the front of the card when they finish the writing and then I deliver the cards after school that day.  Everyone loves Think and Thank Thursday!!  Thanks Mr. Kaplan for the GREAT idea and motivation!


Free writing!  On Friday I have different types of lined paper that they can choose from to just free write about anything they want.  Sometimes the paper has space above the lines to make a picture of their writing and sometimes I mix it up and give them decorated papers to just practice writing.

That's the whole week!  I have the menus hanging on a bulletin board where my writing center table and supplies are.  I put each page and anchor chart in a top loading sheet and then put them into a an old binder that I cut up and stapled to the board.  At the end of each day, I just flip the page to show the next day of the week and I am ready to go!

My classes have loved doing their daily writing activities and they look forward to their favorite days of the week too.  It's cool to hear a student tell another student, "Oh, I love Think and Thank Thursday!"

I hope you will share some of your writing center ideas because I am always looking for ways to keep my writing center engaging and fresh!

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