Tips on Using Write the Room Activities in Kindergarten

Hey there!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I absolutely love write the room activities! They are a great way to get your students up and moving, while learning or reviewing. You can do them with any subject- number recognition, beginning sounds, CVC words, counting, sight words, even vocabulary. Today, I am going to share a few tips on how to successfully run a write the room activity, as well as a write the room freebie for you.

1. Setting up
To start Write the Room, you will need to hang up the cards beforehand around the classroom. The first thing you must think about is your classroom layout. Your students will be walking throughout your classroom to do this activity. Are there any sections of your classroom that are "off limits"? In my classroom, I did not want my students going behind my desk, so when I hung up the cards, I made sure to stay away from my desk area. If you are doing this activity as part of your centers, definitely consider where other centers are and not put cards there. Some teachers like to hide the cards, like under chairs or in hard to see places. Sometimes I will do one hard to find card, but if you do more than one or two, it will take your students longer.

2. Using Clipboards
One of my must have supplies is a classroom set of clipboards! Clipboards make these activities very easy to do, because your students will be able to write wherever they are in the classroom. You could also use a hardcover book or even the floor if you have tile, but I've found that clipboards are so handy to have. We also use clipboards to do mini lessons on the carpet or when they use their flexible seating options. 

I got this set from Amazon and used these for 5 years in my classroom. I just take a magic eraser and wipe them off at the end of the year and they are back to looking brand new. 

3. Teaching your students how to do Write the Room
If you were to give your students clipboards, a recording sheet, and a pencil, then said "Go!", you would have a VERY chaotic room! If you teach Kindergarten, then you know that you need to teach your students step by step how to do even the simplest things. It's important to take the time to teach your students how to correctly do write the room activities. 

When I teach my students, I pretend like I am the student. I walk to grab my clipboard, clip on the recording sheet, and take my pencil. I walk quietly to a card, then say the answer (and how I figured out the answer) out loud. I show my students where and how to write the answer. Last, I go find another card. 

Another suggestion is to do the first card together with your students. I hold up the card and have my students point to where they write the answer. We talk about what the answer is and they write it down. I walk around to check and help out those students who may not understand. This is helpful because I know my students understand and I can help those students who might need a little extra assistance. 

4. State your expectations 
This one is probably the most important! Before you do this for the first time, think about your expectations.

Here are some things to think about:

Will I do this as a whole group activity or during centers?
I've used write the room in both! In centers, it is more of an independent activity and it's a smaller group, so usually it's more quiet. As a whole group, it may get a little more chaotic and be a little loud, but it's a great lesson activity.

Will it be completely silent or can students whisper? 
I let my students whisper only if there is another student at the same card. They cannot talk unless they are asking for help.

Is this a completely independent activity or can students ask others for help? 
I always let my students ask others for help, but they do not give the answer. If they are missing a card, a friend can point them in the direction to find the card. If they are unsure of what the picture is, they can ask a friend what it is. I do tell them that they fill out their recording sheet independently.

How will students go from one card to another?
Walking, ALWAYS walking in the classroom! I emphasize this when going over expectations. It is NOT a race to see who finishes first.

What will students do when they are finished? 
If there are pictures on the recording sheet, they can go sit at their desk and color. Sometimes, I will have one of the early finishers help a struggling student.

How do I handle when there are too many students at one card?
For this last question, I have this simple rule- Only 2 students at a card at a time. If a student walks up to a card and there are already 2 students there, they can either go find a different cards or wait patiently for one of the students to leave. This eliminates any pushing or shoving to get to a card or the "school of fish" problem- just picture all your students staying together going from one card to another.

Here's your freebie!
If you want to try this out in your classroom, you can grab this freebie! Just type in 12 of your sight words, print, and play! Click the link to sign up for my mailing list and get this activity sent directly to you.

If you are looking for more Write the Room activities, you can check them out at my Teachers Pay Teachers store here! This "forever growing bundle" includes ALL my Write the Room activities, PLUS you will get access to any activities that I add in the future at no additional cost. You pay one time and get forever access!

I hope you will want to try out some write the room activities in your classroom!


Guest Post: Introducing Writing through Labeling by The Gypsy Teacher

I am so excited to share the second guest post on Sweet for Kindergarten! Today, we are sharing all about introducing writing in the classroom. Allie from The Gypsy Teacher is here to talk about using labeling to start writing with your Kindergarteners! She is currently the Academic Coordinator for a small international school in Tanzania, East Africa, but has lots of experience teaching Kindergarten, First Grade, and Fourth Grade. She shares about her life in Africa, teacher tips, and all of the things she loves, like her family, coffee, books, and handlettering. You can find her as The Gypsy Teacher on her blog, Instagram, and Facebook!

Hi Teacher Friends! 

I am so excited to be a guest on Sweet for Kindergarten today! I love all of Kristina’s teaching ideas and tips and I hope you can use some of my ideas in your classroom! I love teaching literacy; it thrills me to see our students grow throughout the year and become readers and writers! Today I hope to inspire you with some ideas on getting your students writing!
When I teach Kindergarten, I love introducing writing through labeling. I do this at about this point in the year – once we have mastered most of the letter sounds, and know which letters make which sounds. To kick off my labeling unit, I have my students label the TEACHER! Here’s how it works:
I start by writing different body parts and clothing that I am wearing on sticky notes and stick them to the board before class. Then, I tell my students that we will be working together to read the words on the sticky notes, and then they will stick the words on ME! Depending on your class’s abilities, you may have to do more scaffolding for them to be able to read the words, such as, “What is the first sound in this word? What do you think the word may be?” And, as the students read the words, I choose one student to come and stick the word on the correct part of my body!
They LOVE this and think it is HILARIOUS! It is a simple, yet engaging way to introduce labeling to your class. By the end of the activity, you’ll have sticky notes all over, and the students will have had a hands-on experience labeling!
Then, the next lesson, we will make a labeling anchor chart together. This transitions them into using labels on paper, and we work on writing down the sounds we hear in words. I don’t have a picture of this, but I got the idea from My Crazy Life in Kinder. I think it’s really important that our students practice the labeling with us, so that we can talk about bow we try our best with writing the words. If you don’t know how to spell a word, you try your best to stretch the word out and write the sounds you hear!
After we have worked on labeling a picture together, I will use one of my Label and Color resources for the students to try this independently! I have made these to use all year long in my classroom and have found them to be so useful in my writing centers, and as whole-group and small-group writing activities!
For each of the themes/pictures, I have three differentiated printables – Label the Beginning Sound, Trace the Label, and Write the Label. This way, each of your students can practice at their levels. Once the students have labeled all of the parts, they get to color the picture! (Their favorite part!) If you’re interested in using these in your classroom, you can click HERE to find them in my TpT store! I have a bundle of twelve for the whole year, or you can purchase them individually! It is so exciting to see the students’ progress from the beginning to the end of the year with these Label and Color activities!
Once the students have gotten used to labeling pictures that I give them, we work on writing our own stories by drawing a picture and labeling the important parts. It is so exciting to guide our learners to become detailed writers, and this process helps them do that!

I’d love to know how YOU teach your students to write! Leave a comment below with your best tips! And a BIG thanks to Kristina for having me on the blog today! I have loved sharing with you!

-Allie: The Gypsy Teacher

Find Allie here: