Is it time to upgrade those old worn out privacy shields to some shiny new writing offices for your kiddos to use during Writer’s Workshop?
Do you have kids that sit at tables and it is easy for them to get distracted by what is going around them during independent work time?
I have a suggestion on how you might want to approach it this time around. Plus they should hold up much better than these old yellow ones. They will look much better and be more useful for the kids.
Having a privacy shield is a great idea for a classroom but having a writing office is even better. Not only will a writing office help kids focus but they make better use of all that blank space on the inside of the shields.
Having a better looking writing office really helps everyone. The kids will like using something that is much more interesting and helpful and frankly you will also want something that you will enjoy looking at for several years.
Most writing offices are very busy looking and I think they give a feeling of sensory overload! I like things simple but with a little cuteness. Most seem to require lots of cutting and pasting and I wanted to keep that to a minimum especially if I would have to make a complete classroom set!
I came up with an easier solution.
I kept the inside information to four pages and four pages to decorate the outside. No cutting required!
I thought a lot about what information would be best to put on the inside . . . right in front of their faces. I considered checklists and rubrics but they change throughout the year. I considered the writing process and traits but I think kids would tune those out very quickly. The information would have to be something that wouldn’t change and would be applicable five years from now since I wanted them to last several years.
I decided to stick with the basics: spelling, capitalization, punctuation and grammar. I created one page for each of these.
- On the capitalization and punctuation pages I explain the rules and give examples. Sort of like mini anchor charts.
- I created 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade spelling lists to choose from. There are also word lists of numbers, family members and days of the week.
- The grammar page has common contractions, compound words, homophones and irregular verb tenses. This is handy information the kids can use no matter what kind of writing they are doing: narrative, informational or opinion. I think it will also make less work for them when they edit because they will have already referred to the pages on their writing office when they write their first draft.
I decided to run with a construction theme and I immediately connected building and constructing with writing. I also liked the idea of making it a special working/writing zone where the kids are working away and shouldn’t be disturbed. This theme is my most popular writing office.
For folders, I liked the Smead straight cut letter size. They come in various colors and they are thicker. With the straight cut you don’t have to cut the tabs off. The folders are reinforced which makes them even stronger when they are taped together. These puppies will last much longer!
These folders are not easily found in office stores. I found a place online at Amazon that provides these folders in 10 fun colors. With many colors to choose from I am sure you can find color that will work in your room.
Here is how I approached making a writing office . . .
Once you get these lined up you want to put a piece of scotch tape on the folders to hold them together temporarily.
- with their writing
- with fewer questions
- with less moving about
- with less talking with neighbors
- and more focused on their work