Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Writing Center Blog Hop!

I am participating in Pre-K Partner's Learning Series Blog Hop and the theme this week is the writing center.
 I love the writing center in my classroom.  I have tweaked it many times and this set up seems to work the best for my little learners.
I am lucky enough to have an actual writing center unit in my class.  There I am able to keep lots of materials handy for my students to create wonderful writing work.  {I will alternate and switch things out periodically throughout the year}
 Little ones don't often think of themselves as authors.  They think books come from the store instead of realizing an actual person wrote the book and drew the pictures.  The writing center is extremely important in early childhood to help children connect the natural writer inside them to a life of expressing themselves on paper.  You will see your students go through the natural progression of writing from scribbling, to writing a random string of letters, to using inventive spelling, and to finally sounding out words.  It's a process, but so worth the results!
 Here is a close-up look of items I currently have in the writing center.
 I have dry erase boards with a variety of dry erase pens available.
 Several paper options are readily available, ranging from lined paper to index cards to construction paper.
 I purchased these blank books at Target Dollar Spot.  They are perfect for creating stories and take home books.
I also make my own books for students to use by stapling several pieces of paper together.  An easy way to do this is to run how many pages long you want your book through a copy machine and set the finishings to staple.
Other writing options available are notepads, old planners/calendars, small notebooks, and notepads, such as to do lists {also purchased at Target's Dollar Spot}.
During the year, I will also collect greeting cards to place in my writing center.
I also found these adorable mini envelopes at Target.  They are the perfect size for a little notepad piece of paper!
I keep smaller items stored in totes to help things stay organized.
Other resources I have available include any and all alphabet books, alphabet charts, vocabulary words, letter sound charts, and Handwriting Without Tears materials
Teacher resources include both these books, which are chock full of wonderful ideas on how to implement book making in pre-k/k classrooms.  I highly recommend both these books.

Matt Glover is a regular presenter for our PD days and I have been lucky enough to hear him numerous times.  He even made a visit to my classroom last year.  I have learned so much from Matt, but probably the most important thing is the teacher's role during writing engagement.  I use the pre-made books with any where from 4 to 9  pages stapled together.  After using mentor texts to teach a mini lesson on topics such as book making, using more than one color in your illustrations, staying on topic, filling the page, etc., I give my writers a blank pre-made book and tell them to go make a book.  You wouldn't believe how excited they get!  They view themselves as authors and illustrators, which is totally the goal!  Here are some of my little loves working this week on their books and then sharing them with the class.
There are lots of different levels of books being made, and that's ok!  One of my students who returned this year surpassed my expectations by adding 'speech bubbles' to his book! 
We had been looking at Mo Willems books and I had pointed out the speech bubbles.  He also picked up a lot of cues from the book "Can I Play Too?" that he added to his book.  It was a proud teacher moment!
Here is my Mo Willems book stack that I used before sending my writers off to make their own books.  We read these books throughout the week and I would point out things the author and illustrate did when writing and drawing.  I use different book stacks, depending on the mini lesson I am teaching.
I could go on and on, but it's time for you to hop on over to the Learning and Teaching With Preschoolers to see another writing center in action!

Thanks for reading!  Have a great day.  :)