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Write the Room Tips and Tricks

One of the best things about being a primary teacher is that little learners are full of energy and enthusiasm! The trick is to harness that energy into meaningful learning activities. This fun literacy center, Write the Room, is a perfect way to get your kids up and moving while they work on reading and writing skills – which is way better than a worksheet!

Write the Room activities are great for handwriting practice. As students record the words on the paper they are actively working on forming letters, capitalization, and spacing. Write the Room is also good for building student vocabulary.

Write the Room is such a fun activity in the Kindergarten and First Grade classroom. It's easy to put together and switching the themes keeps it fresh and engaging for students. Check out this post where you'll find Write the Room tips and tricks for implementing this center as well as things to consider and ideas for early finishers. You can also check out how to plan your Write the Room center for the entire year!

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Easy preparation:

Step 1: Print, cut, and laminate the color vocabulary picture cards. You’ll want to print the picture cards on card stock so they are durable and you can re-use them so you only have to do this step once. 

Step 2: Print multiple copies of the black and white student recording sheet. Each student will need a copy.

Step 3: Place the laminated picture cards around the room. I like to hot-glue plastic clips or wooden clothespins to surfaces around the room and attach cards to the clips. That way I know exactly where the cards are every time (and don’t misplace any) AND my students know where to find them every time (and don’t “forget” where they’re allowed to look and go wandering all over the classroom). This is especially helpful for early in the year. Later in the year you can mix up the card locations.

For a DIY idea, you can write sight words on sentence strips and have students use handwriting paper to walk around the room and write the words down.

Things to consider:

Before introducing a Write the Room activity to students you’ll want to think of your rules and expectations while students are at this center.

Classroom Layout: One thing you’ll want to consider is your classroom layout. Are there any sections in the classroom that you don’t want students walking through? For instance, during guided reading you may want the teacher table to be off-limits. Also, you 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 students cards are not in those “off-limit” areas so they aren’t looking for them. 

Student Directions: How do 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?

You’ll also want to consider whether you want this to be an independent activity or if can students ask a fellow Write the Room-er 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 learners working on the floor, they are to walk around the group not over or through the group. Welcome to Kindergarten. 🙂 

How students Write the Room:

All students need is a clipboard, a pencil and a recording sheet. You can use the traditional brown clipboards or spice it up with colored clipboards. Once they have their supplies, they set off and explore the room to find one of the picture/word cards.

Next they match the picture on the card to the one on their recording sheet, and write the word from the card. Students continue circulating around the room until they have completed all the cards or they run out of time. 

I typically place 8 to 10 cards around the room. I usually plan for no more than 4 to 5 students per group and have a hard and fast rule- one student at a time per card. This prevents kids from bunching up and turning literacy time into social time!

Write the Room is such a fun activity in the Kindergarten and First Grade classroom. It's easy to put together and switching the themes keeps it fresh and engaging for students. Check out this post where you'll find Write the Room tips and tricks for implementing this center as well as things to consider and ideas for early finishers. You can also check out how to plan your Write the Room center for the entire year!

Helpful tips:

Model this activity for your students before setting them off on their own. 

Show students where the clips (and cards) are located and how to carry their clipboard and pencil around. Demonstrate how to match the picture on each card and copy the word onto their recording sheet. Also model how to get from one card to the next (no running!). Try a practice session with the whole group so you can walk around and help any kids who need a little coaching. 

Plan for early finishers.

You might find that this center often takes less time than others, so it’s a good idea to make sure students know what to do if they finish early. Most of the time I have them choose one of the words, and then draw a picture and use the word in a sentence on the back of their recording sheet. They can also color the pictures on the recording sheets. If they still have time, they can read their library book.

Another idea is to have them “Read the Room”. They can get a pointer and walk around the room reading the environmental print around the classroom.

You could also have students revisit each card to read and spell the card. Students walk around the classroom with a fun pointer, read the word and then spell the word quietly to themselves. You can have students challenge themselves by closing their eyes and trying to remember the letters to spell the word.

Fun variations:

Repurpose last week’s cards into a word work station.

Use last week’s Write the Room cards as this week’s word work station with magnetic letters. Students read the word on the card and spell the word with magnetic letters. You could also have students use play dough to form the letters. Write the Room is such a fun activity in the Kindergarten and First Grade classroom. It's easy to put together and switching the themes keeps it fresh and engaging for students. Check out this post where you'll find Write the Room tips and tricks for implementing this center as well as things to consider and ideas for early finishers. You can also check out how to plan your Write the Room center for the entire year!

Turn it into a treasure hunt!

Once students have gotten the hang of the activity, change it up and hang the cards in different places. I wouldn’t use clips for this, otherwise you’ll have them glued all over your room! They’ll be excited to search and find, but remind them that only one student can work on each card at a time. You might want to make one or two of the cards harder to find. 

Do a fancy version.

Have a supply of headbands, fun glasses, boas and other dress-up items for students to wear as they explore. 

You can easily switch it up by adding a different writing utensils – maybe pens, smelly markers, themed pencils, etc. Allow students to pick one special writing utensil or marker to use while writing the room, instead of switching for each word.

Write the Room All Year Long:

Write the Room is one of those staple centers that you can have in your class all year long. You can easily change it to match the theme, season, or holiday.

I’ve done the planning for you by putting together a year-long Write the Room bundle. This bundle includes 42 different themes, which is more than enough to change out the theme every week!

Two different styles of recording sheets are included. There is the option to write in a box for beginning writers or on a primary printing line for more advanced writers. 

Seasons and Holidays: winter, spring, summer, fall, New Year’s Day, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Earth Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July / Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas

Year Round Themes: alphabet Aa – Jj, alphabet Kk – Tt, alphabet Uu – Zz, our schedule {school activities}, off to school {school related words}, bugs, camping, fire safety, dental health, community helpers, outer space, weather, fairy tales, zoo, western/cowboy, farm, transportation, beach, pets, colors and color words, arctic animals, ocean animals

Write the Room is such a fun activity in the Kindergarten and First Grade classroom. It's easy to put together and switching the themes keeps it fresh and engaging for students. Check out this post where you'll find Write the Room tips and tricks for implementing this center as well as things to consider and ideas for early finishers. You can also check out how to plan your Write the Room center for the entire year!

There are so many ways to make literacy fun for early primary learners! Write the Room is an engaging, active way for them to work on letter recognition, learn new vocabulary words and practice their fine motor skills. And kinesthetic learners will love being able to get up and move around the room. 

Click to see the Write the Room bundle in my TpT shop.

You can find more center management tips and tricks here on the blog.

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