I have always loved shopping the Back to School deals; I could never resist purchasing fresh packs of crayons, colorful bunches of 1 cent pocket folders, several spare glue sticks to squirrel away for mid-year needs, bright baskets to hold dozens of paperback books in my classroom library...the list goes on and on and on!
But, even better than shopping the late summer specials was the knowledge that it was...time to set up my room!!!! Now, that was and still is a job I enjoy. There is just something so energizing about setting up the desks and chairs and tables and bookcases on a shiny waxed floor, still sparkling and scratch-free. I could rearrange the different areas of my room each year, altering the character and vibe of our classroom community as I did so.
My favorite nook to design was, of course, the writing center. You may call it a center, a station, a table; it doesn't matter. What does matter is that you create some place in your room where writers can go to find the tools they will need to create and publish their work. Christy Yates gave us a terrific list in her comments on my last post. Her writing center includes "date stamp, ink pad, stapler, staple remover, hanging file folder container, numbered folders for each student, pocket folders for each student, unlined paper, two-lined paper with picture space, more lined paper with picture space, pencils, pens, colored pencils, crayons, markers, and scissors." These are the nuts and bolts our young writers may use to turn their stories into picture books. And don't forget word walls and dictionaries and charts...
This week I will be helping where I can in the kindergarten and first grade classrooms in my building. Teachers will put their own spin on what a writing center should look like in their classroom community. Each classroom will look different, but each will provide a spot where serious writers can find the materials they might need. Perhaps my colleagues will let me take a picture or two to post on this site. :)
Good luck as you set up your writing room. Remember that providing our writers with the tools they will need frees them up to imagine and create and compose. We can help all kids write by creating an organized space to hold the tools of their trade.