My writing centers are one of the pride and joys of my classroom. The structure, flexibility, and ability to individual makes me smile. I am now starting year 3 with them and I find that I am always able to make them more complex for my students who have more experience with writing and use them as a perfect guided direct instruction activity for my guys who are newer to this writing game. In addition, these centers take up a little less than two shelves which in my busting-at-the-seams classroom is a insanely ideal. And most importantly – they are so dang pretty! 🙂
Words of Wisdom about Teaching Writing to Children with Autism:
- It’s so hard. Ugh.
- It gets better! I used to dread doing journaling with my kids and now I love it.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 centers 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 🙂
- Some of the center materials:
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 – it’s one of my all-time best sellers! 🙂