April 22, 2016

Do You Want Your Students to Love Writing?

Do you want your students to love writing? I have a few tips to make writing more fun and ideas on how to set up a whole writing center in your room! My writing center has quickly become a favorite place for students to visit! 
All of my tips have to do with GIVING STUDENTS CHOICES! Just by letting your students have more choice in what they write, will encourage them to write more. 

1. Give students a VARIETY!. I know we all have topics and types of writing that we have to cover throughout the year, but why not let your students choose the format in which they want to write? If students are writing about small moments, they can choose to make a book, write it in a friendly letter, write a postcard, etc. It gives students more choice and makes writing interesting instead of just writing in a journal everyday. 

2. Let students WRITE WITH ANYTHING & EVERYTHINGI did a whole blog post about a month ago about Expanding Student's Writing Tools and letting them write with something besides a pencil all the time. Do you write with the same blue pen every day? Of course not, that's so boring! 

3. Provide HELPFUL RESOURCES for students to use. Are you students always asking you what letter is...how do you spell...what can I write about? Providing some posters on the wall, whether at the writing center or just on the walls in the room, help students become more independent writers. They don't have to rely on you, but can start to become resourceful. 

It's never too late to add a writing center to your room! It's April, and I just put this one up. I wanted to make writing more FUN! Therefore, I created a writing center bundle that has everything you need to set up a writing center for the whole year! It provides a variety of resources for your students, so they never get bored of writing. Some teachers have asked where I found this border and it's from Creative Teaching Press, you can find it at a local teacher store on on Amazon here
Here's a close up of some of the HELPFUL RESOURCES I described. At my writing center, I put up posters for the alphabet, colors, numbers, days of the week, months of the year, monthly vocabulary words, examples of writing, a writing checklist, and ideas/topics they can write about. I see student referring to these often. 
   
The right side of my board includes posters that I change out periodically. I know students like to write about things that are happening each month, so I created a poster with monthly vocabulary words. Students would always want to know how to spell Santa, leprechaun, turkey, etc. depending on the month - now they have a reference sheet for that!

When we learn about a new type of writing, I can easily change out the "I can write" part of the board and put up a sample as well. Here are the signs I included for that area: alphabet, sight words, words, sentences, stories, letters, postcards, recipes, books, cards, poems.

   
Check out how I let students WRITE WITH ANYTHING & EVERYTHING! If you're a teacher, I know you  love Mr. Sketch markers, Sharpies, Flair pens,  gel pens, and anything that is colorful and fun to write with. Why don't we let our students have that kind of choice? At my writing center, I have a big tub FULL of writing tools. I can tell you that the students absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE having choice and rarely grab the pencils. The gel pens are actually some of their favorite things to use.  Isn't is just beautiful?!?
I found all of these containers/trays  at The Dollar Tree, so this center was cheap to set-up as well! I got the pencils, chevron pens, gel pens, stamp markers, and paper cups there as well. I also included fat markers, skinny markers, crayons, gel pens, colored pencils, and the new Mr. Sketch Twistable Crayons. They are the coolest!

These trays are stackable, so you could have even more writing sheets available at your center than what I have pictured. Below I have cards, letters, books, and generic writing paper available for students to use.
This writing center will allow your students to progress throughout the year.  Here are some of the generic writing sheets I have created. At the beginning of Kindergarten, I will use the alphabet sheets, then move on to beginning sounds, and then sight words. You can slowly start to add the writing sheets, books, and card for students to get used to writing simple sentences. Later in the year, you can introduce how to write a friendly letter, postcard, or recipe. It's all about providing a VARIETY of writing resources.

I have also included writing paper with dotted lines and regular lines, depending on the ability of your students. You will also find some of the writing sheets provide a space for a picture, whereas others are full sheet for students to solely focus on the writing. We all have those students that when given space for a picture, that's all they want to focus on. Now you have a choice of what to give students. 
Maybe because this is new, but the kids seriously love to go here and can't wait until it is their turn to visit the writing center!
This girl chose to write me a letter about how much she loves the writing center and can't wait to go back! :) As you can see, the kids can write with whatever they want and even switch writing tools throughout their writing. I remind them that they need to focus on writing and not just choosing what to write with, so they pick their selections quickly.
 This sweet girl wanted to make a Get Well Soon card for her friend that was sick. So sweet!
I also wanted to provide students with some writing prompts. I created 2 writing prompts for each month. Some are holiday themed and some are not. I once again made the option of dotted lines or regular lines for these as well.
There are pages in this bundle as well to teach students different types of writing. Here's a student sample of the How To writing page. I let students choose any topic they wanted to write about, which of course makes the writing more personal and exciting!
Here's one last look at my writing center. I'm in LOVE with it! It's so colorful and inviting. 
If you decided to use this writing bundle in your class, I'd love to see pictures of how you set it up! 

TPT has featured this post on their blog!! Check it out and see all the other amazing posts they have shared!