Writing center is the place where students are able to really practice their handwriting and work on sentence formation. At this center, students get repeated practice with high frequency and “juicy words” and can enjoy writing about a variety of topics. Also at this center, students can use things like markers and colored pencils to make it more exciting!
What I use:
Blank paper with sentence starters or idea cubes
Pre-printed paper with high frequency word practice
Handwriting practice materials
Pencils, crayons, markers and colored pencils
Reference charts and/or book with usable words
A viewable word wall
(I keep all of my extra worksheets (extra copies of worksheets I have used in lessons) at this center. When students finish, they can use these to play their word games or they can simply use them to write their ideas on, and also practice review skills.)
What I do to set up the center:
- I make it so each student has their own placemat where they can see all of the materials they will need for any task at this center.
- I put extra word games at this center in case they get done early.
- I have lots of reference materials to help them write more easily.
* For the first round of centers in the year, I let students copy my example. I hang it on the center so it’s easily viewable. I do this so they will know from the beginning what my expectations will be for their work. I begin with a practice of high frequency words and a simple sentence frame: “I am…”
* I tend to have students work on handwriting of letters for the first 4-6 rounds of centers. They repeatedly practice 5-8 letters at a time, upper and lower case, and also practice their names, first and last.
* After handwriting and name practice is over, I begin having students practice high frequency words and then working on sentence frames. This way, they will have one practice task and one task where they get to express themselves as well. They like having both options because they can use the high frequency practice words in their writing and they can then illustrate their idea as well. This task helps build their confidence in writing.
* As the year goes on, I take time to think about what words or skills my students may need help with and I put those as the practice words in that center. Also, I use them with the word games that are provided there (in case both partners complete their work). For example, I have similar words on a spinner that students can spin and write, such as: to, two, too, this, the, then, there.
* Around the middle of the year, I make my high frequency word practice shorter and allow more time for sheer writing. This starts with sentence frames and then moves to independent writing towards the end of the year.
*This center is really easy to mold to the needs of your students and it can match any theme you want! It is fun for holidays, specific units, etc.
- Write your name on your papers, first and last, correctly.
- Complete your high frequency word practice. Make a sentence using one word at the bottom of your practice page. Turn your page in.
- Complete your writing assignment. Follow writer’s rules. Check your handwriting. Draw an illustration that represents what you wrote.
- Read your work to yourself to check it. Read it to your partner. Turn your work in.
- Play word practice games or practice letter handwriting.
Students know that they can use markers or colored pencils when they are completing their high frequency word practice. They also know that they must use pencils only when they are completing their writing assignment.
(This makes the monotonous practice of familiar words more fun and it reminds students that they can always erase when writing.)