Using Classroom Space for Writing Development

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  • 0:00 Writing Development
  • 0:43 Centers & Spaces
  • 3:05 Objects & Decorations
  • 5:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

How can the environment help students develop their writing? And how can teachers design a classroom that encourages writing development? View this lesson for ideas about how to use classroom space to encourage writing.

Writing Development

Maggie is in school to become a teacher, and she's been given a project to design a classroom to help students develop writing skills. Maggie isn't sure what a classroom has to do with writing skills. How can she design a classroom for writers? What should go into the classroom?

Writing is a process, and early writers, in particular, often need support to help them develop their writing skills. The environment in which they learn can have an impact on students' writing development.

To help Maggie with her project, let's look at how classroom space can be used to support writing development.

Centers & Spaces

Maggie has to design a classroom that will help the students become good writers. She's unsure of what she should do.

The first thing that Maggie should think about when designing her classroom is the general way that the classroom is arranged. This includes centers and shared spaces to help give the students an environment that supports them.

A writing center is an area of a classroom for students to explore writing. Writing centers are often a table with a few chairs in a quiet section of the classroom. They often have writing materials, like paper and pencils, as well as tip sheets to help students with vocabulary or grammar. They are a good place for students to sit and work quietly or with other students and their teacher.

Maggie thinks that a writing center is a great idea and definitely wants to include one in her classroom design. But what other centers and spaces are important to writing?

A shared space that offers a place for students to sit together and collaborate on work can be used for collaborative writing activities. For example, Maggie could have an area with beanbag chairs or a small couch where students can sit together and have discussions about their writing. An activity where Maggie has students pair up to figure out how best to revise their writing can be done in the shared space in the classroom.

Maggie is resolved to have both a writing center and a couple of shared spaces in her classroom design. She wonders if there's anything she needs to keep in mind when putting these spaces together.

The first thing to remember is that the writing center should be in a quiet area of the classroom. We mentioned it before, and it's very important. Because writing takes concentration, Maggie won't want to put the writing center in the middle of an active play area of the class. Instead, she'll want to put it in a quiet corner where students can work.

Maggie should also keep things neat and organized so that students can find materials easily. If a student at the writing center can't find paper or a pencil, it's not a very successful writing center! Keeping pencils in a can and paper in a neat pile can help students feel at ease and know how to get the materials they need.

Finally, Maggie should make the writing center a writing only area and encourage children to respect the different spaces. If students want to play with toys or sand, they should do that elsewhere; the writing center should be exclusively for writing.

Objects & Decorations

Maggie's classroom design project is coming along. She has a writing center and a couple of shared spaces where her students can collaborate. She wonders if she's finished with her design. Is that all there is to creating a writing atmosphere for her classroom?

Not quite. Both within the writing center and around the classroom, objects and decorations can be used to help inspire and guide young writers. By carefully choosing what she has in her classroom and on her classroom walls, Maggie can make her classroom an even better space for writing development.

Alphabet posters and word walls help students with vocabulary and spelling development. For example, Maggie can design a word wall in her classroom where she can post the latest vocabulary words that her students are learning. Another wall decoration for writing development is grammar posters, where students can quickly look for help with common grammatical rules, like when to use a question mark or an exclamation point.

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