This week we bought school supplies for our kids. Although there was a list and three excited children, I found it difficult to focus. Instead I was envisioning the possibilities for writing centers. I’ve come to believe when there is access to supplies, there is access to inspiration. When supplies and inspiration are available, stories, poems, and articles are not far behind.
Here are a few thoughts about supplies and organization and encouraging writers.
- First, I trust there are going to be kids who forget things. Make a plan now for the ones who forget. How sad that an entire writing day could be lost simply because something slipped someone’s mind. It happens to all of us. This means there’s…
- A cup of pencils. Make them obnoxious so they won’t run out the door. I’ve taped giant fake flowers on the ends. When I’m pressed for time, I simply made a long masking tape flag, with Return to Mrs. Ayres! written in Sharpie. Why battle the no-pencil-problem when the solution is an easy fix — borrow one!
- Paper — If notebooks are traveling between home and school (and I believe they should), I add a basket of paper cut to fit writer’s notebook for kids to use when they forget their notebooks. Then they take the page and tape, glue, or staple it into their notebooks. Sometimes kids worked it the other way too. They left their notebooks in the classroom, but took the extra pages home to complete notebook work outside of class. Then if it was lost, it was only a page instead of the entire notebook. Kids know if they have issues with misplacing things. If so, help them find a system that works for them!
- Drafting Paper — We just found notebooks for 7 cents. If I were an upper grade or secondary teacher, I think I would have bought a slew of them for kids to use as draft paper. (That’s if I couldn’t flip my classroom.)
- Considering younger writers. They need blank books, pencils with great erasers, and colored pencils. There are a couple of options:
- House all of the supplies in a central location and kids take what they need.
- Make pockets of supplies throughout the classroom. Basically these are like mini-writing centers in several locations. This way there isn’t crowding at a single writing center.
- Make it possible for each child to have their own supplies. I prefer to use jars or cups filled with two great pencils and an array of colored pencils. Then put the jars throughout the room and kids can pick one up and take it to their writing space.
- Possibilities for writing away from desks.
- Clipboards (or something hard to write on)
- Comfy spots tucked here and there throughout the room
- Other needs
- Sticky notes
- Colored pens (just for fun or for revision and editing work)
- Folders (or another system) for storing in-progress work
- Digital Writing Workshop. I’m sure it’s no surprise to many of you that I’m spinning in my brain what it might look like if I were in a digital writing workshop. What are some of the supplies needed for this?
- Google Docs
- Hmmm…still more thinking to do here. What are your ideas?
Naturally I also expect a writer’s notebook to be in play. However, that’s another post (and one to come on Monday). What are some ways you are considering organizing writing supplies to support and encourage the writers in your room?
Bonus Idea: I love Stacey’s post for meeting area supplies.