In my end-of-year survey, some of my students requested writing centers where they could work on a writing project while they were in library. I’ve been keeping an eye out for ways to incorporate writing into centers. Here are a few things I’ve come across:
Graphic Novel Writing Centers:
I accidentally came across this when I was looking up something about the Lunch Lady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka.
I think it would be so much fun to see how different kids end the story! The graphic novel aspect might even attract some kids who aren’t in to writing in the traditional sense.
After stumbling upon that Lunch Lady finish-the-story, I looked at a few other graphic novels my students love. I also found Babymouse fill-in-the-stories here, here, here, and here from Random House!
You could also have kids create their own comics by printing out comic strip boxes for them to fill in. They could write about almost anything – a favorite scene from a book, a new story about a familiar character, a nonfiction topic, etc.
Library Mouse Books Center:
This is a center I’ve used for a few years but I can’t find a single picture of it! I typically use it for a few weeks after reading Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk. It’s a very easy center to set up. I have a basket with little blank books and writing tools. I usually fold several pieces of scrap paper into 3-4″ books and then staple them together at the spine. This is a great job for a library assistant center. Daniel Kirk has instructions for making little books on his website if you want a fancier Library Mouse Book.
Creative Writing Center:
A few weeks ago, I saw little blank hardcover books at the Target Dollar Section. I thought they would be so much fun for a center but then I had a reality check that I’d have to buy an awful lot of books to have a fully functioning center for my 450 kids. Instead, I will probably grab some composition books from our supply closet because we have a ton. I envision this to be a permanent center that is available all the time. I would likely have a basket or folder-holder for each grade level and students can keep their notebook there.
Please Write in This Book Center:
My students really like Mary Amato’s Please Write in This Book. If you aren’t familiar with this book, it’s about a teacher who leaves a blank notebook with instructions saying “Please write in this book” at the writing center. As students find it, they read and respond to each other’s writing, beginning with a battle over who should be able to use the notebook. I really enjoyed it myself and as I was reading it, I thought it had the potential to be a writing center.
I tried out a Please Write in This Book center for a few weeks this year with mixed results. I bought some fun notebooks hoping students would do some collaborative writing. Students were excited about this center but there was very little writing going on and a lot of silly doodling (but nothing inappropriate or unkind). I think a lot of that could be resolved by my presentation of the center. I know I rushed through my intro and didn’t spend much time at all talking about expectations for writing aside from making it school-appropriate and kind. I’m going to give it another go next year but with more discussion about the expectations for writing, how the notebooks can be used, and I will read a chapter or two from Please Write in This Book to give students who haven’t read it a better idea of what it’s about. I really hope with more guidance, this can be a great center!
PS – I noticed on Mary Amato’s website is she has examples of her writing and revision process from the actual books she’s written which is always great to show students!
I’d love to hear about any writing centers or activities you’ve used in your library!