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Creating a Writing Center

How to set up and maintain a place where students can publish their writing

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

Since my students are involved in Writing Workshop everyday, it is important that I have a writing center in my classroom where the students can go to find the necessary supplies and materials they will need to draft and publish special pieces of writing.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the workshop is when students are finally able to publish a piece of writing. My Writing Center is where I store paper and all other materials students will need to do this. I have purchased many different types of decorative paper at local dollar stores and office stores that have thematic borders. Parents have also been kind enough to donate paper. I use Microsoft Word to create a page of lines that will fit inside the different borders, and then I run the decorative paper through the copy machine so that the lines are transferred to the bordered paper. For each story that students publish, they are allowed to choose a decorative paper for their first page and then plain colored paper for additional pages.

I also purchased a plastic organizer with drawers that I keep at the writing center. Inside I store materials such as pencils, erasers, glue, white-out, tape, scissors, staples, markers, highlighters, sticky notes, etc. that students can use when they are drafting and publishing. Of course, an electric pencil sharpener is also important to have in the writing center.

Once students are finished with their final copies, they insert the finished writing pages into page protectors and then put them into their personal Writing Portfolio Binders. My students used PrintShop in our school computer lab to make special cover sheets for their writing portfolios. I also make copies of the final drafts and include them in a large binder that is kept in the classroom library so that students can read their peers' writing. Each student has a tab in the Class Writing Binder so that readers can easily locate other students' writing.

Finally, I have two plastic shelves labeled "First Drafts" and "Writer Reflection Sheets." Students turn in their first drafts to let me know that they are ready to conference with me before making revisions and beginning a final draft. After students have published a story, they fill out a "Writer's Reflection Sheet" on which they reflect on the specific piece of published writing. The reflection sheet is added to their writing portfolio. Here is the Writer's Reflection Sheet I created.

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