Publishing centers are used K-12, in all content areas, and they are student-directed. They provide printed tools to enhance visual literacy including communicating the following: location through maps, sequential events through timelines, and measurement through tools such as beakers, thermometers, and clocks. Publishing-center graphics are available for students to select and use at any point during projects, notetaking, journaling, and notebooking activities. (See photograph of a publishing center below.) When students learn to use these visual graphics to meet their personal needs they become tools for differentiation. Publishing Centers are cross-curricular; it is not uncommon for maps and timelines to be used in science and rain gauges to be used in Social Studies. Our publishing center pages are available as downloads and are formatted with anchor tabs for notebooking. Templates are $.50 each. All pricing in US$.
Dinah Zike first explained how she set-up and used publishing centers in her continuing education seminars during the 1980s and in her 1989 book, Classroom Organization, It Can Be Done.
At the Academy we demonstrate how to set up Publishing Centers based on Dinah’s use of quarter- and half-sheets of paper for student writing. The cornerstone of this money-saving Publishing Center is cut paper — quarter-sheet and half-sheet sizes of notebook paper and white photocopy paper.
When I asked students to “take out a sheet of paper” for a writing activity, not every student had paper. They either never brought any, used up what they had and forgot to tell their parents they needed more, or they wasted away their last sheet minutes before they needed it for the days graded activity. So what did they do? They borrowed paper from their neighbors or students on the other side of the room. Then once all students had a sheet of paper, the questions began.
“How many lines?” was usually first. Then “Is this for a grade?” would usually follow. Depending on the class and the writing activity, I’d get questions like…Does it have to be in cursive? Do I have to use a pen? Does spelling count?
One particularly difficult year, after having been asked over and over again, “How many lines?” and repeatedly replying “half a page” or “14 lines”, or “to the middle hole on your notebook paper”, I snapped. I picked up a new ream of 500 sheets of notebook paper, marched to the teacher’s workroom while ripping off the plastic covering the paper, and I placed all 500 sheets under a guillotine sized paper cutter and tried to cut all 500 sheets in half. The stack was too thick, but after cutting smaller sections of paper I soon had 1000 half sheets of paper.
I marched myself back into the classroom, waved the half sheets of paper at the class, and said, “This is how many lines! Don’t ask me how many lines, this is how many lines1” Little did I know at the time that my frustration and drastic actions would result in the beginning of my publishing center, which is currently used by teacher’s internationally.
An example of how to set up a Publishing Center in your classroom.
Examples of Downloadable Publishing Center Pages.