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Writer's Workshop

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Here is a collection of ideas for implementing a writer's workshop in your classroom.
writer's workshop
Posted by:Jen #47855

Writer's workshop is simply an organized way of going through the writing process, giving students freedom in deciding what they want to write, and how far they want to take each piece. The steps are: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. You can also talk about sharing and conferencing sort of as steps of the process. In my class, we use a writing folder, made of bristle board and split into three sections: Drafts, To be Published and Other (prewrites, record keeping, topic lists) can organize it though any way you want.

I find it is good at this point to brainstorm a list of types of writing (letters, articles, poems, narrative, expository, etc). This allows the students to draw from a variety of types of writing when they are working individually later.

Then at the beginning of the year, we go through the...

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Writer's Workshop (LONG)
Posted by:StephR #76445

My Writer's Workshop time is actually very simple to implement (although, looking at the size of this email, I am not so sure anymore!) The schedule is as follows:

10 mins Sustained Silent Writing
10 - 20 mins Mini-Lesson
20 - 30 mins Writing Block
5 - 10 mins Author's Chair

Sustained Silent Writing -- The students begin each Workshop day with 10 minutes of uninterrupted writing. Similarly to Sustained Silent Reading, they may do nothing but write. They may either continue a story they are currently working on, begin a brand new story, or write in their journal (I always have some topics posted for those who are stumped) During this time, their pencil MUST be moving....

Mini-Lesson -- During this time, I teach a writing lesson. Any lesson that is appropriate at that...

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Writer's Workshop etc.
Posted by:Debbie #39818

Hi Fiona,
I too had difficulty keeping track of what I'd done with whom. I did implement a 'status of the class' form mid year so I'd know where everyone was in the writing process, and help guide (light a fire under) a few of the kids who had a great deal of difficulty staying focused or completing a draft. There was an area on the large scheduling white board to sign up for revision/editing conferences. When we got together, I used a 2 X 4 stickie to record the date, topic, genre and the suggestions of the group for the writer. As I listened to their pieces, some common threads appeared, at which point I did mini-lessons for a small group or the class. But I didn't keep track of these very well. One year, I used a two column list in the back of their writer's notebooks 'I am learning to..., I...

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Writing Workshop
Posted by:Julie/IN #50860

I love Writing Workshop. I've had so many successes with it this year. The three main components of a good writing workshop are a brief mini lesson, student writing time and finally share chair. I organize my writing workshop with binders. Each child has a binder with their digital picture printed off and slipped into the plastic cover at the front. The binders are divided into 5 sections: narratives, expository, book responses, letters, and poems. They add more pages when they need them. Then I have a list of steps for Publishing:

1. Think of an idea
2. Write your story
3. Read your story
4. Read your story to a partner
5. Revise your story. Add details.
6. Edit your story (They come to a table where we have red pens and they use the editor's checklist. They can circle 5 words that they would like help with.)

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writer's workshop
Posted by:BookMuncher #111535

The more I read, the more I find that as teachers, we expect kids to re-write and edit too often. As long as they understand the process of editing and can do it independently at some level, I think it's only necessary to edit their really good pieces. When I first started teaching, I kind of just followed along with what everyone else was doing. The pattern was brainstorm, graphic organizer, write, revise, edit, publish, repeat. The kids were such robots!

Now, I break down skills that I want my kids to know (ex: things like writing a satisfying ending or grabbing beginning, using appropriate description, or how to use quotations). Then, I spend about a week or so doing short minilessons that include modeling and reading excellent literature that uses that particular element. In the meantime, they just...

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writer's workshop
Posted by:Lise #51270

I think letting the students choose the topic works best, although sometimes I give a topic when we're doing a particular theme or book. I still struggle with writing workshop after 14 years! It's so difficult to get to every student and feel like I'm spending enough time with them. I just started reading a book put out by Scholastic called The Reading-Writing Workshop:Getting Started. I like it so far and plan on reading more of it. Maybe you can give it a try.

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writing workshop
Posted by:Debbie #50859

Hi Kat,
I LOVE WRITING WORKSHOP! I make sure that my actual mini-lesson is no longer than 10-15 minutes tops, or you loose them. I select the lesson according to what I see their needs are. In the beginning of launching it, I use large manila folders and have the children illustrate themselves. Then their writing pieces go into that folder. THEN, like at this point of the year, I ask for a 2 pocket horozontal folder. I use labels on each side. GREEN MEANS STOP, don't take my writing piece out, i'm not finished, and RED means OKAY, i'm ready to publish- or, I don't want to revisit this again. The book of all books is written by LUCY CAlKINS- WRiting and reading. She is WOW and I went to a workshop at Teachers College in NYC for a week and I was amazed!...

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Writer's Workshop
Posted by:Judy #10712

I am using Writer's Workshop in my classroom modeled after the format I saw Irene Fountas(co author of Guided Reading, Interactive Writing, and others)present at a workshop. There are many parts of it I like, but some aspects I feel need some refining. Maybe you can share some of your experiences with me.

When you have your students write, do you give them a variety of paper from which to choose? Do you use personal journals in your classroom? If so, how and where do they fit it? Are they used at another time of the day, or do the children use them during WW?

What do you do with those students that finish their writing before you are ready to begin Sharing?

Also, as a kindergarten teacher, did you use WW? I would really like to see our K teachers get involved in...

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Writing Workshop
Posted by:Glenda #10718

We have been using AlphSmarts as a writing workshop tool this year in my first grade classroom. The students are able to "journal" without the risk of making a backwards, upside down letter that they can't remember and can write in the floor, upside down etc. With the AlphaSmart, they can find the letter and press it for the sound they need. And the "magic" space bar allows them to space their "words". It makes it easier for them to "read" back what they write. At the beginning of the year I allow them to choose journal buddies to write with. When they have completed their story, we plug it into the computer, they press the send button and we can print our multiple copies for them and me.
We also have writing folders and sometimes we write on lined paper instead of the AlphaSmart . We construct...

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Writer's Workshop
Posted by:Carol #64695

Writer's Workshop should be a separate piece from your Reading workshop program. You do a mini -lessons first 5 to 10 minutes, then give them 2 minutes of time to work in their notebooks then regroup for a share time.

Whatever the genre is you should spend 3 days reading books in that genre, then 3 days in notebooks, then 2 days dratfing, 3 days revising, a day to recopy and then publish. During revising your mini-lessons can be on grammar.Conferencing can takeplace during their independent time.

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writer's workshop
Posted by:Mary Nanninga #79186

Organization is key! Read Nancie Atwell's In the Middle. Her kids are a little older than yours, but the difference is not so great.

You also need to make kids accountable in Reader's Workshop for what they've accomplished every day. They need to write down how many pages they read today, their response to the reading (NOT a summary) and one interesting word they discovered in their reading today. You must either grade these, or let the kids think you'll be grading them.

Yes, you most certainly can do both, it's very doable and it's the very best way to teach language arts.

Good luck! It's the sign of a great teacher to want to stretch and try new things!

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writing workshop
Posted by:Karen #82703

I teach in WI. I agree with making writing "special". I made 3 prong folders to store "finished" writings for the year and made labels on my computer with their names and a writing oriented picture. I store them in a basket which the kids have access to. I find they treat/respect the attitude we bring to writing workshop if it's reflected in the materials and set up just like you have. I am combining ideas from In the Middle, Lessons that Change Writers (Atwell), & GRW for writing along with what seems to have worked for me. We have only had 2 days of school so far. I brought in my journal including a small one I keep in my purse for those ideas that hit any time, any place. We had gotten a donation of small pads of paper last year, so I gave each child one encouraging them to keep one as...

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writer's workshop
Posted by:Kellie #80523

Hi, to answer your questions, I don't view w.w. so much as an area like a center, but as a time for woking on writing. As long as your students have a place to sit and write or can opt to use clip boards on the floor, you can set up materials in many ways. I usually have one large table in my room that is kidney shaped and seats six students. It doubles as my desk/work space so I have all my supplies and files nearby. Then during reading or writing times, I can easily pull my small groups or individuals for conferences, testing, etc. I kept their writing folders in a tub which they had access to and I could easily check to take notes and individualize my lessons for the next workshop. It is necessary for my class to have lots of print in the room for support (as we learn it)...

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Posted by:Mary #92419

Consider implementing writer's workshop. It's really not hard at all to run, and it gives kids lots of choice. That helps them buy in more. Also, with WW, you are giving specific minilessons, in short conferences. What you teach depends on what the student demonstrates a need for. How to run WW is too involved for this response. Take the Writing Project for your state. They teach teachers how to do workshop by having the teachers participate in one. You get four hours of graduate credit for it, too. Well, you do in Colorado. I don't know about where you live.

A really good way to evaluate student writing is to use a good six-trait rubric. It should be a one-sided rubric, and should list advanced, proficient, partially proficient and unsatisfactory along the edge. Then, for each of the six traits, highlight each descriptor that...

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Writer's Workshop
Posted by:Debbie #20143

Hi all,
There have been many outstanding books published about writer's workshop...see the following authors for possibilities: Lucy McCormick Calkins, Nancie Atwell, Donald Murray, Ralph Fletcher, Georgia Heard, Jerome Harste, Regie Routmann, Fountas and Pinnell, among others...If you'd like specifics in set up and organization, try Guiding Readers and Writers GL 3-6, by Fountas and Pinnell.
Our Writer's Workshop begins with a minilesson..a read aloud, a modeled writing, a procedural lesson or whatever is needed by the majority of the group...This lasts for maybe 15 minutes, then the children move to quiet writing. While they write, I work with individuals or small groups to extend and support them as writers. Each child has a writer's notebook, in which the 'seeds' of writing (ideas, thoughts, etc.) are planted. They use their writer's notebook to select topics for writing. The entire writer's...

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intro to workshop
Posted by:Mary #84069

Well, I'd take it in small minilessons. If you introduce everything at once (how to workshop, how to revise, how to share with a peer, how to edit, how to publish, how to choose a topic, how to narrow a topic), well, you can see how that is overwhelming both for you and the kids. My first minilessons would involve how to set up writer's notebook, then how to use a writer's notebook, then brainstorm all the genres in which kids can write, and put some fun stuff in there like menus (get examples from local restaurants--this is a great tool for word choice), then how to choose a topic, then I would model how to write a rough draft (both the writing of it, and the behavior that needs to be displayed--until we're peer revising, we work quietly and independently at our seat--this one is...

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Writer's Workshop
Posted by:Laura H. #77215

My writer's workshop consists of editing of:
1. small desktop 3 drawer organizer with one drawer full of green pens, one of red and one of black.
**All students revise in green (Ask for keep on going). Edit in red (poster on wall about center has editing marks and they use the editing checklist to go through their parnters for stop and fix) and Black pen for first drafts... this way they can't erase or important step to the writing process..

2. Each student has a yellow legal pad that is housed in a side-open poly-folder that ties shut. All of this was bought at Big Lots for about .47 a student!!!! ALL drafting, revising, editing and final drafts go in the legal pad (we use front/back). Notes are also taken about the particular genre we are writing about. So like...

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Writer's Workshop
Posted by:Jayne #45307

I have been using Steve Dunn's Writer's Workshop in my classroom for three years. It is very successful. You begin by teaching children how to get ideas. You share stories from your childhood with them and have them share with each other. Have them list the topics they brainstorm. Show them how to use books and pictures to get good ideas. Teach them to share story ideas with each other and how they can check and make sure their story has all the important elements before they write it. This should take a week and children should have a topics list of at least ten stories at the end. Then train them how to do a storyboard. Take a week and start each session by modeling your own storyboard for them. Start with 3 or 4 squares depending on your grade level. Show students how you think through the story while you are drawing. The next...

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Writer's Workshop (long)
Posted by:Mrs. L #90204

It's my first year teaching, but I have been fortunate to have come to a school where they have just adopted a writing program. For the beginning of their writing, don't edit at all! Instead (now these are just suggestions), be their writing coach! Walk around with a clip board everyday (writing down what you dicussed)and get to as many kids as you can discussing their story and helping them to become better writers by telling them a good thing about their story, then instead of editing, talk to them about what else they could add (more detail in their picture, left out a word, add a describing word or two). After about 2 months of writing (maybe one), then start editing. But be in a different place (maybe call them back to a table). This way they know you are being the editor and not their coach. Editing kids...

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