Making A List: An Early Independent Center

Making A List: An Early Writing Center COLLIER

Making a list is a Back to School Center. We all know students come to school starting at a variety of levels and we varying levels of background knowledge. We spend the first few weeks assessing where they are and what they know, so we can move forward with explicit instruction.

We are eager to get small group instructions started and this also requires us to start independent centers. Setting up centers at the beginning of school can be a challenge.

I have many previous blog posts about setting up centers, make sure you check out Literacy Centers: Independent Centers Help with Classroom Organization and Process/Product Centers: Classroom Organization for Teachers and Students.

The best writing routines at the beginning of school start with requiring students to help make anchor charts for the classroom students will help make color anchor charts number anchor charts shape anchor charts and a name chart.

One of the earliest writing centers can be making a list. This center has also been called fab 5. At the first grade level it can be called top 10. It is essentially teaching students how to make a list of words all relating to a topic or having a specific characteristic.

Making a List with Anchor Charts

Once you have made the anchor chart one of the guaranteed necessities is making sure that students use the anchor chart.

We do not want these charts used as just a classroom display or decoration.

One way to do that is having a center like make a list.

Making A List: An Early Writing Center COLLIER

If you make a color chart, students can write their fab 5 favorite colors. Using the anchor chart they can copy the correct spelling and color in the correct color.

Using shape charts students can choose five pictures in one particular shape and write the words associated with those.

Using the name chart students can make a list of their new friends and quickly illustrate their friends. As an option, the teacher can have pictures of the students copied and cut in the center and the student simply glues the picture beside the student’s names.

Making A List: An Early Writing Center COLLIER

Using books to make a list

Having students independently search for words with a specific pattern allow students to make firm connections.

Using the make a list center students can use books previously read to find books starting with a particular letter or words found in an illustration.

You can require students to make a list using specific vocabulary from the book or just finding any word that fits the pattern that is required.

Using task cards to make a list

One of the biggest arguments teachers have with task cards is that students may not have accountability to the task cards.

They use dry erase markers to write or clothes pins to clip the specific answer, but unless someone is sitting there watching students do the task cards they have a hard time believing in their value.

One way teachers can make sure task cards are of value is having a recording sheet.

Making A List: An Early Writing Center COLLIER

That recording sheet could be task card specific meaning the students would write the number or letter of the task card and the answer beside it on an answer sheet another way of holding students accountable for task cards is using a write a list, fab five or, top ten list. Students would complete the task cards and then write five or 10 of them on the answer sheet.

Making A List: An Early Writing Center COLLIER

Making a list is a center that students can start at the beginning of the year, by copying words from a chart, book or card.

It’s an easy 4-step process.

As the year progresses, students can be required to use what they have learned to write the list independently while completing a secondary task.

The secondary task may be writing a sentence about one of the things on the list or writing a story to include one or more things from the list.

This center is without a doubt a process/product center. Once you teach the process you are requiring students would complete the product each week.

I have created sets to help make this activity as easy as print and go. Teachers simply make copies of the form and provide students with charts, books, or task cards.

Cathy Collier
Making A List: An Early Independent Center
Making A List: An Early Independent Center

There are also sets for seasons, holidays, animals, letters and a compose set for the beginning of the year.

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