Woohoo I finally got my writing center all setup. I shouldn’t be toooo proud of myself since my goal was to have this done the first week of school. But for some reason this was something that kept getting pushed down to the end of my ever-growing to do list.

I totally revamped the way I will be teaching writing this year. Last year we did a very adapted version of Writer’s Workshop – which I loved – but I felt like my kids needed more structure. So I created these centers. They are absolutely not independent but I’m hoping some of them will eventually get there. These will be adult guided but I’d like them to try and be as independent as possible!

My main tidbits about teaching writing to children with autism:

  1. It’s so hard. Ugh.
  2. It gets better! I used to dread doing journaling with my kids and now I love it.
  3. Practice, practice, practice, practice… you get it. And I know that it’s this way with all kids, but I think because of how difficult the language piece is for our students it can take that much longer.
  4. Almost everything needs to individualized and one on one. It’s probably not this way for all kids with autism – but the group I had last year really needed the individualized support.
  5. Some kids excel at imaginative writing and others just can’t seem to get it. I wonder if it’s because our kids are so visual and routine based. I had the saddest moment last year where I got one of my kids to write this really awesome story about going to carnival with all his friends and eating purple ice cream and all other crazy things. I thought we had made this huge breakthrough on using our imaginations. I was getting all ready to pat myself on the back for being the world’s best teacher, when my student brought me over his calendar and wanted me to show him exactly what day we’d be doing this purple ice cream eating carnival trip. Ugh.
  6. You have got to DRILL those component skills. We do tons of work on answer wh- questions (who, what, where, when, why), sentence building, and real vs. make believe to in turn, build writing skills.

Okay so the idea behind the writing center is that students will pick a center to work on each day to practice a variety of writing skills including target descriptive writing, narrative writing, sentence building, sequencing, making inferences, vocabulary building, imaginative writing, and more. But since the structure will stay the same – ie. the centers – it will provide the routine my kids need. I plan on keeping the centers the same throughout the year and just making them more complicated/complex as we more on. So now for some pictures 🙂

  • Best part of this: It only takes up a shelf and a half!!! (The yellow binders are part of the language center.) The colored binders, 2 gray bin, and finished bin – that’s it 🙂

  • Students check in:
  • Each center starts out with a simple direction page with visual cues.

  • Some of the center materials:

  • All centers have matching labels (duh…)
Ugh I’m kind of in love with how cute it turned out. Here is a video tutorial. This goes somewhat into what’s in all the centers. I’ll be doing some posts within the next few weeks more in depth on what’s in each center.

These 10 centers are available on TpT. The packet includes labels and visual directions for all 10 centers, prompts/worksheets/printables for the content of each center, photos and directions for setup, the clothing pin schedule, and the following 2 anchor charts (which I post in the front and back of each center).

Click on the pic below to see this product on TpT 🙂

Sasha Long
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