Are you looking for a simple, low-maintenance writing center that also engages your students? Yeah, I was too and found NOTHING that held my students’ attention all year long.
1. Use it to launch your personal narrative unit.
Starting the year off with personal narratives for writing workshop is the BEST. Why? Because they get to write about what they know best-themselves! When students write about their own life experiences, the limits are endless. Click To Tweet
I begin by introducing the emoji family one whole-group mini-lesson at a time. In the beginning of the year, students need help generating topics to write about. We begin with a heart map and read “The Best Story Ever.” The moments that go into our heart map are significant moments full of emotion which is why incorporating emojis is PERF. The happiest, funniest, and saddest memories fill up our heart maps. We really focus on building our writing stamina so each day we challenge ourselves to write about the emoji (emotion) topic of the day.
2. Create class notebooks
Now, once you’ve used the emojis in your whole-group writing time, transfer the emojis into an emoji writing center. Students can go there for inspiration or you could place a star for the emoji moment of the day/week. You don’t have to create class notebooks, but this is a great way to not have to restock the writing center paper. My favorite notebook memory was when I had a student walk in on cloud nine one morning after getting the chance the night before to meet his favorite basketball player. He went straight over to the “Best Ever Moments” class notebook and wrote about his amazing experience.
3. Make them come alive.
Huh? Yea, that’s right. Especially if you teach younger grades and the students will play into it. I tell my 2nd graders that they are there to help them write better. Whenever they’re stuck they can go visit the emoji family at the writing center to help inspire them. Here’s how:
- The most obvious is using them to help brainstorm ideas related to the emotion from personal events
- Another way is when you introduce your fiction or poetry unit. You may choose to bring out an emoji as a feeling they want the reader to have. For example, if you’re writing a spooky story in October, reference how the nervous emoji could be used at a certain part such as the opening. Use this strategy in a whole-group setting or during a writing conference. Once this becomes common language in the classroom students will use it at the emoji writing center during peer editing.
(Check out the preview below or head on over to my store to download!)
The moments included are:
-Worst Ever Moments
-Best Ever Moments
-So In Love Moments (In 2nd grade this means getting a special pet, toy, etc.)
-Special Family Moments
-Family Pet Moments
-First Ever Moments
When setting this writing center up, you can use it as a regular bulletin board, or if you’re out of wall space, use it on a tri-fold presentation board for extra convenience!