Getting Started with Write the Room

One of the best things about being a kindergarten teacher is that your little learners are full of energy and enthusiasm. Harnessing that energy into meaningful learning activities, like Write the Room, is the key to keeping students engaged and on task.

Read on to learn the benefits of Write the Room and how to get started using this literacy center in your classroom today!

Pirate and Snowman Write the Room Activities

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What is Write the Room?

Write the Room is a literacy center activity that harnesses students' energy into a powerful learning opportunity.

Kindergarten students have a lot of energy and need opportunities to be active and move around. Write the Room gives them a structured opportunity to do just that.

Write the Room allows students to move around the room while practicing key reading and writing skills.

What are the Benefits of Write the Room?

Copying Words

As students complete this activity, they learn how to copy words from the picture cards to their recording sheet. This is an important skill to learn as they move through their school years.

Handwriting and Fine Motor Skills

They also work on handwriting skills and strengthening their fine motor muscles. As students record the words on their paper, they are actively working on forming letters, capitalization, and spacing.

Letter and Sound Recognition

Write the Room is a great way to practice letter and sound recognition. Students work on connecting the sounds they hear in the words to the letters they write. This activity is perfect for literacy centers.

Increases Vocabulary

You can also expect to see an increase in students' vocabulary by introducing them to words they may not be familiar with.

To take the vocabulary learning a step further, begin the lesson with a vocabulary mini-lesson to discuss the words and pictures they'll see in Write the Room that day.

Real-World Connections

You can also help students make real-world connections by asking them questions about the pictures and vocabulary words. Call on students to share an experience about the picture when relevant.

Increases Independence

In addition, this activity is movement based, which is great for little learners who struggle to sit still. They begin to learn independence and self-control by following the classroom rules while moving around the room.

Letter Hunt Write the Room

Helpful Tips for Using Write the Room

Model Write the Room First

Before turning your students loose with Write the Room, it's a good idea to model this activity for students first.

Show students where the picture cards are located around the room. Model how to use and carry a clipboard and pencil properly (and safely!) around the room.

Demonstrate how to match the picture on each card and copy the word onto the Write the Room recording sheet. Model how to get from one card to the next by walking, not running.

After you've modeled all of these things, try a practice session with the whole class so you can walk around and help any students who need a little coaching.

Plan For Early Finishers

You might find that this literacy center takes less time than others, so it's a good idea to make sure students know what to do if they finish early.

A simple way for early finishers to pass the time is to color the pictures on their recording sheet. You can have students choose one of the words and draw a picture of it on the back of their recording sheet. To challenge them, have them write a sentence using the word that matches their picture.

For more Write the Room early finisher ideas, check out this blog post.

Review Vocabulary Words Before Putting Them Out

Before putting new Write the Room cards out, be sure to review the vocabulary words and pictures with your students.

This will help them expand their vocabulary knowledge and make connections with the words.

Choose Themes That Align With the Seasons and What You Are Studying

Choose Write the Room themed cards based on the seasons, holidays, and topics you're studying in your classroom.

This makes the activity even more fun and reinforces vocabulary words and the learning in other subjects.

Thanksgiving and Fall Write the Room

Things to Consider Before Starting Write the Room

Before introducing Write the Room to your students, think about your rules and expectations for students at this center.

Classroom Layout

One thing you'll want to consider is your classroom layout. Since students will be moving around the room and you'll be placing the picture cards around the room, classroom layout and size is an important factor.

Are there any sections in your classroom that you don't want students walking through? For example, during small groups, you may want the teacher table to be off-limits.

You also may not want students behind your desk or in areas where other students are working.

Avoid putting cards in the areas that you don't want students to be in. Be sure to tell your students that there are no cards in those “off-limit” areas, that way they don't go looking for them.

Student Directions

Consider how you want students to get from card to card. Should they go in order from one card location to the next or can they pick the order and walk around the room freely?

If you have a small classroom, consider having students go in order, that way the chaos and kids bumping into one another is limited.

How Will Students Complete the Activity?

You'll also want to consider whether you want this to be an independent activity or if students are going to be working in partners or small groups. If you choose to do small groups, keep your groups to no more than 4 students.

If students are working independently, can they ask a fellow Write the Room student for help if they need it?

It's a good idea to reiterate with students that they need to walk around the room, not run. Make sure your students understand that if a group of students are working on the floor at another center, they need to walk around the group, not over or through the group.

How Long Do Students Have to Write the Room?

Another thing to consider is how long students will have to complete this literacy center. Do they have a full center rotation to complete the activity?

Do they need to spend half of their center rotation doing Write the Room and the other half completing a different activity?

Since students will be up and moving around, putting a time limit on this activity can help keep them on task.

Pets and Pirates Write the Room

How to Prepare For Write the Room

When it comes to using Write the Room in your classroom, you need to prepare the actual activities, your classroom, and your students.

How to Prepare Write the Room Activities

Write the Room is a super easy activity to prepare. First, print, cut, and laminate the colored vocabulary picture cards. Print the picture cards on card stock so they are durable and you can re-use them year to year.

Next, print multiple copies of the blackline student recording sheet. Each student will need one copy.

How to Prepare Your Classroom and Set Up Write the Room

After printing and prepping the cards, place the laminated picture cards around the room. Glue dots work great on the laminated vocabulary cards.

You can also hot glue plastic clips or wooden clothespins to surfaces around the room and attach the cards to the clips. Just be sure to check with your principal or school maintenance person first.

By using clips or clothespins, you and your students will always know exactly where the cards are. This is especially helpful early on in the year. Later in the year, you can mix up the card locations for an added challenge.

Switch the themes out once a week after all students have cycled through the set of vocabulary cards. Depending on your center rotation schedule, you can switch your cards out more often or less often.

If you'd like to DIY this Write the Room activity, write sight words on sentence strips and have students use handwriting paper to walk around the room and write the words down.

How to Prepare Students for Write the Room

Once the activity is prepped and the room is set up for Write the Room success, be sure to prepare your students for this activity.

Go over your expectations for what the activity will look like. Practice and model the routines and procedures for properly accessing and using clipboards and pencils.

Model how to transition to and from the activity and how to walk around the room in a calm manner.

Discuss classroom management expectations, such as working independently or quietly with a partner or small group, not interrupting other students, and staying on task.

Go over what to do when students are finished, such as where to place their clipboard and recording sheet and what to do if they finish early.

Fall Write the Room

How to Store and Organize Write the Room Activities

Store each theme's vocabulary cards and recording sheets in a mesh zipper pouch or zipper top bag for grab and go access.

When not in use, store the Write the Room sets inside the mesh zipper pouches inside plastic containers. You can have one container for seasons and holidays and one for year-round themes.

Keep a designated Write the Room area in your classroom with all the supplies you and your students will need, such as clipboards, pencils, pointers, props, etc.

Next to this area, keep a plastic tray with the recording sheets so students can easily grab the recording sheet for the theme they're working on and get started. You can have a separate tray for completed recording sheets as well.

What Materials Do You Need for Write the Room?

One of the great aspects of Write the Room is that it only requires minimal supplies. All students need is a clipboard, a pencil, and a recording sheet.

You can use traditional brown clipboards or spice it up with colored clipboards. Once students have their supplies, they are ready to explore the room to find the picture cards that match their recording sheet.

How Do Students Write the Room?

Students will walk around the room with their clipboard and recording sheet looking for the picture cards that match the pictures on their recording sheet.

Once they find a match, they write the word from the card next to the matching picture on their recording sheet.

Students continue circulating around the room until they have completed all the cards or they run out of time.

Each theme has 8-10 word cards to place around the room. It's a good idea to make it a rule that only one student can be at a card at one time. This prevents kids from bunching up and turning literacy time into social time.

Snowman Write the Room

Write the Room All Year Long

If you're ready to Write the Room all year long, you can grab this Write the Room Year-Long Bundle.

With 42 different themes, both seasonal and year-round, all of the planning and hard work is already done for you!

All you have to do is prep the cards once, print the recording sheets, and you'll be ready to Write the Room year after year.

If this sounds like your teacher dream, click here to grab the bundle!

Do you use Write the Room in your classroom? Comment below and let me know what your students' favorite part of this literacy center is!

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