Writing at the second grade level is a challenge for many students. So today I set up centers and tried to give the children some choices. We have been studying the ocean so I wanted to stick to that topic to tie in science.
The children had to produce a piece of writing by the end of the center time. They could work in groups or independently.
At the first center I had shells, sea urchins, sea stars and sponges. The children observed these with a magnifying glass and explored these artifacts using their senses. I had a printed piece of paper that had a place to draw a picture of the ocean on the top and a space on the bottom for writing. I used the five senses. The ocean feels,smells, looks, sounds like and so on. I got the most clear vision from these children. They used adjectives!!!! It sounds like the playground at recess, the roar of the crashing waves and squawking of the sea gulls.
The next table was full of books about the sea creatures and plants that we had been learning about. At this center they were to simply write down facts. One girl wrote One and a half pages of facts that she accumulated on lobsters. She loves facts and the writing was incredible.
Last option was a table with various samples of kelp. These children had to imagine that they were the kelp. Write an imaginary story about their life. This is the table that I saw pairs of children talking about their lives as kelp. It got a bit noisy at this center but they were actively engaged in spinning a story together.Again I saw a lot of communication, cooperation and enthusiasm about writing. Once again the final product was more than I could of hoped for. They wove in tidbits of information about other animals that we were learning about in science. How cool is that?
My experiment was a success. I had all students engaged in writing. Each child chose if they wanted to work alone or together and which center appealed to them the most. Looks like I will need to get busy to create some more writing centers.
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