23 July 2014

Work on Writing - A Writing Center Makeover

How many of y'all struggle with your writing center?  I know I do.  Every year.  I want my kids to be engaged and excited about every part of the writing process.  I want them to LOVE to write.  I want them to CHOOSE to write when they have free time.  This is not always the case for every child, but I'm DETERMINED that it will be!!!

Writing is a HUGE part of our day.  We write for EVERYTHING.  We have about 30-45 minutes for Writers Workshop...then there's Shared Writing...and of course the Writing Center.  And we're writing in all other academic areas as well.  You'd think it's easy to get 'em excited to pick up their pencils.  

However, the novelty wears off.  I've noticed that when I keep doing the SAME things...keeping out the SAME writing activities....the SAME writing materials....my kids take on the "I'm over it" attitude.  And let's be real.  We're the same way.  When we do the SAME exact thing...year after year...the novelty wears off.  We need to change it up to make it exciting for both us AND the kids.  
I feel like I'm always trying to find "one more thing" to add to the writing center.  One more thing to make it fun.  One more thing to make it exciting.  One more thing to keep them engaged.  They need options.  Lots and LOTS of options.  They also need freedom.  The autonomy to choose what they want.  After all, our goal is to instill in them a LOVE of writng, right?!  

Sometimes...a lot of times...kids need a nudge.  Most of the time they need a giant PUSH.  Although they have a menu of items from which to choose when they head to the writing center, I still hear the phrase, "I don't know what to write!" from at least one of my sweeties almost every.single.day.  I'm determined to rid their vocabularies of that phrase!

Clearly it was time for a writing center overhaul.  And that's just what I did.  I gave my writing center a little makeover full of activities and prompts to keep them excited about writing.  

Task cards for prompts, books, making lists, writing letters & how-tos, and vocabulary cards, too.  That's my other goal.  Increase vocabulary. And then a few "extra" activities that will be available, as well.   My kids will also be able to choose to write what THEY want.  I just loved the idea of having  a variety choices from which to choose so that the whole "I don't know what to write" becomes non-existent :)

I created this little resource with my 1st grader in mind and knowing how many kids come into Kindergarten at such varying stages of development I knew that differentiation and options with lots of support were necessary.  

My emerging and new-to-writing learners will have writing options that give them the support they need and my more "seasoned" writers will have lots of options as well.  There are ALWAYS kids at the beginning of the year who can do SO much more than their classmates and I wan to keep them excited and engaged, too!  I also love that my first grade friends will be able to utilize this resource to the fullest and offer their friends in need of more support lots of options as well.

The task cards are divided up into different writing genres....lists, writing letters, prompts, making books, and writing expository pieces.  OBVIOUSLY I won't expect Kindergarten friends to do MANY of these activities at the onset of the year.  I will probably choose a couple of task cards for the kids to work from and add more as the year progresses.  However, this will be perfect for my 1st grader!  He's already started on some of these writing activities at home!!  I actually have this little center set up in his room at the moment....he LOVES acting like he's got his very own classroom and I love that he doesn't realize he's learning :)

I LOVE that the little task cards will give them ideas when they just can't think of anything to write.

So far, my son's favorite writing activities are writing lists and letters.  I made a blank list template for him to use so that he can help me with my grocery list every week :)  Nevermind the fact that he's real quick to make his very own grocery list for me.  Bless his heart.  A pantry can only hold so many cookies, kid ;)

He's also diggin'  my little Spin a Sentence and Write About It activities, too.  Anything that involves something that is constantly changing is right up his alley.  Crazy enough, that sweet boy is such a creature of habit.  It's just fun to see him get so excited about writing!  I mean, he's always had this crazy love for learning, but watching him take to these activities has been really cool to see!

I am SO excited to see this writing center in action.  I'm sure I'll be adding even more options as the year goes on.  In the meantime, I'm just pumped to have a head start on the back to school craziness.  

If you're interested in sprucing up your writing center, you can check out this resource by clicking on the pic...

I have a writing center for September and October in the works and *almost* finished, too!

And today's Christmas in July deal brings you two of my favorite alphabet resources!

You can check them out here if you're interested:


  1. So cool! This is one area of my classroom I have really never been content with during my 4 years of teaching. I always struggle with students returning things to the center or leaving things presentable, but this looks pretty easy to maintain!

  2. This looks wonderful! I always struggle with getting my students to want to write. Especially rereading and editing their work. I love the idea of the spinners. What a great way to provide some ideas to write about but keep it some what random. My students would love a writing center like that.

    Ms Richards's Musings

  3. Yesterday I started reading 6 + 1 Traits of Writing by Ruth Culham and oh my word! I haven't been able to put it down. I'm over halfway through already. You have given me some great ideas for a writing center. Thanks for sharing!

    Little In Betweens

  4. I LOVE all of this. I know my kiddos will love the Spin a Sentence. Later in the year my kiddos love to write about pictures I take from silly greeting cards. They are hilarious! Hobby Lobby always has fun cards that make great picture prompts. :)

    Love ya friend!

    Heather's Heart

  5. So cute, Cara! I'm in love with your ideas as always!

    Miss Peluso's Kindergarten

  6. Did I see on Instagram that you were going to be offering 40% of the Work on Writing pack? Or did I miss it? :(

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  8. This is one thing I always struggle with as well! I love that you thought to laminate these sheets so they can write and wipe off. Will save paper and will allow for good practice! :)

    Miss Case's Classroom

  9. I love this setup! I really love your task cards that is a wonderful idea :)
    I am new to blogging so any tips will help as well. I'd appreciate it if you follow me!


  10. That looks SO COZY! I love it. So many fun activities!


  11. We just LOVE your new Work On Writing Bundle...one of our FAVORITE purchases ever!!! We can't wait to get it all prepped and ready for our 1-2 multi-agers! And we are so looking forward to seeing your next writing packet. Thank you for creating such quality products!☺
    2 Thankful Teachers,
    Victoria & Tricia♥

  12. It reminds me of my dad's work bench when I was younger. I think the design alone will draw children to it and your material will keep their attention. It looks awesome!

  13. Those little task cards look adorable! And I really like the Spin a Sentence and Write About It activity. Looks like a great writing bundle.
    The Chalkboard Garden

  14. Love this center center and the set up! How did you or will you get the pegboard to stay up? I love the easiness of switching things out. Thanks for sharing your awesome creations!


  15. This writing center looks awesome!! Lots of great ideas :)
    ♥ Jen
    Teacher by the Beach

  16. Hi Cara. Do you have your kindergarten word lists that you use at your writing center for sale somewhere? I'd love to buy them. Thanks a bunch.

  17. I love your ideas for the Writing center. I'm trying to spruce up my area and make it a little more inviting. Do your students stay at the writing center during their assigned writing time? Or is this just a station to get the tools they need?