Creative Strategies For Your
Language Arts Learning Centers!!

Teachers can create language arts learning centers to encompass so many aspects of the Language Arts/Literacy programme.

The learning centers can also be integrated in other subjects as well.

I will briefly touch on a variety of topics where you can expand and create engaging language arts lesson plans which will also lead you to language arts activities and games.

First off, I'm sure that you are familiar with the 6 different writing strategies: 1) Recount, 2) Narrative, 3) Exposition, 4) Explanation, 5) Report, 6) Procedure.

You can start all these strategies right from Kindergarten, right up to Grade 8. You can incorporate these in various language arts learning centers.

1. Recount - oral picture sequencing, oral news, journal writing, recount plan, independent construction, graphic organizers, book reviews, autobiographies, and of course direct modeling of ideas.

2. Narrative - story telling, drama, story map character puppets, graphic organizers, writing in role, direct speech.

3. Exposition - likes and dislikes, model and oral discussion, T charts, debates, introduce sentence structure, graphic organizers, paragraph essay, editorials, letter writing, sharing/modeling writing.

4. Explanation - cause and effect( because ... why), oral strategies, tell from a diagram, response journals, tell a peer.

5. Report - show and tell, shared brainstorming, discovery of framework, fact sheets, problem solving, oral presentations, research reports, direct model.

6. Procedure - shared/modeled activity of the day, sentence strips, introduce vocabulary, direct model, role play, interviews, science experiments, recipes, lists.

All 6 writing strategies incorporate model/shared/guided writing which you can include in your language arts lesson plans and your language arts activities.

You will incorporate all these writing strategies and some you may want to expand and integrate into other subjects, e.g. science, social studies, art or drama.

Let's take Expositions for instance. example topics for written expositions can be: 1)Informal and formal debates, 2)Be the Expert, 3) Change the point of view, 4) Character defenses, 5) Examining persuasive tactics, 6)Direct model, 7) Modeled and shared writing, 8) Problem solving approach.

One of your language arts lesson plans can involve the Exposition framework which consists of the thesis, assertions/arguments and lastly the summary/conclusion.

Biographies are a good example of one of the language arts learning centers where your students can choose a person from any field, such as historical, sports, explorer, entertainment, etc. One of my language arts worksheets, Components of a Biography, include personal facts, events, setbacks and achievements. Another sheet can be a biography checklist.

Other suggested language arts activities on biographies are "take a walk in their shoes", "exploring their character", and "story map" - the list can go on and on.

At the beginning of the year, you as the teacher can introduce literature by having them listen for memorable language through beautiful picture books. When you read to them, pay close attention to what words and images stand out for them and use the author's language that they particularly like.

There should be a classroom discussion afterwords and then time given for your students to write in their "writer's notebook", encouraging them to read like writers, so that they can express their thoughts and ideas.

They could take home one picture book and write down their memorable language to be shared the next day. All this can be written in your language arts lesson plans.

Other language arts activities of possible writing genres can be: memories, narratives, letters, poetry, chart displays, etc. Brainstorming as a class, group, or with a partner is always a good way of starting off the activity.

You can also focus on the 5 senses. Choose a book that includes sensory details, e.g. "Letting Swift River Go" by Jane Yolen and read it orally to the class. During discussion, write down on chart paper, what your students heard and noticed involving the senses.

Perhaps one of the language arts games could be, having them choose a picture of one of the senses and then write down their description of it and then share and compare.

Another day, your students can work on similes and metaphors and conjure up images as they read various books. They can then write them down in their "writer's" notebook and then pair/share. You can then use this as another one of your language arts learning centers.

You can also write language arts lesson plans involving parts of speech - nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. Instead of using the ordinary everyday words such as nice, fun - use charming, entertaining, brilliantly, etc. Your students can make lists to create clearer images and expand their vocabulary. A master list can be visually displayed during their writing workshop so everyone can benefit.

When your students are working on completing these numerous language arts learning centers, they will develop a real sense of the qualities of good writing and incorporate these qualities into their various writing strategies.

Language Arts Worksheets

Language arts worksheets can be used in your language arts activities or incorporated into your language arts learning centers.

What's great about these worksheets is that you can integrate subjects - Language Arts/Literacy with Art, or Social Studies or you can stick to one subject.

When you give your students a choice of worksheets, some may choose an easy task, and that's okay. You do, of course, give them guidance and have high expectations of them, more that they have of themselves.

Sometimes, after your students have completed many of your worksheets, have them create their own activity. You may be pleasantly surprised!

When I decided to do this, some of my students created some awesome worksheets that were much better than the ones that I had given them. Give your students a chance, you never know.

There are a lot of worksheets, that can accompany your language arts activities.

Here are some examples of worksheets that may compliment your language arts activities that your students will enjoy completing. Have fun!

1) The Postage Stamp.

2) Exposition.

3) Character Caricature.

4) Charm Bracelet.

5) Couch Critic.

6) Story Outline.

7) Rubric - Descriptive Paragraph.

8) Components of a Biography and Checklist.

9) Writing a Friendly Letter.

10) Writing a Business Letter with Addressing and Envelop.

There are so many more worksheets that you can create for your language arts learning centers - just use your vivid imagination!

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