In Writer's Workshop, students are learning to be writers. We work on developing stories, making corrections, publishing beautiful work... but most importantly, we work on loving writing. Students will be writing throughout their educational careers, and we want to develop a love of writing and the feeling of being an author that will stay with students for years to come!
Writer's Workshop is very independent. Students work at their own pace on projects of their choosing. Students also do all editing and correcting of their work... so, the published work is truly your child's writing! I do not correct student work in Writer's Workshop, and I do that for three reasons.
1- I want your child to learn to find his/her own mistakes.
2- I want your child to develop a love and appreciation for his or her own work.
3- I want us to have a record of what your child can write and spell... not what I can write and spell!
I do correct spelling and writing during other parts of our Literacy Block... just not during Writer's Workshop.
This year, we're working on 4 genres during Writer's Workshop. We'll be spending approximately 9 weeks on each unit of study. Our units are:
1. Narrative- Realistic Stories
2. Functional Writing with Persuasive Elements
3. Informational (Non-Fiction) Writing
4. Narrative- Fantasy Stories
What does Writer's Workshop look like?
The Mini Lesson: 10-15 minutes
In the Mini Lesson, I make suggestions to the whole class about what good writers do. We raise concerns, explore issues, model a technique, or reinforce good writing strategies. I try to choose a teaching idea that will benefit the class, meet them where they are in their writing, and extend the genre we're writing.
Some Mini Lesson Topics for our class during the Narrative Genre study include...
*What is narrative?
*Elements of Story- Plot, Characters, Setting
*Realistic vs. Fantasy Narratives
Work Time: 10-20 minutes
During Work Time, students work in their Writer's Notebooks to collect entries that may turn into published pieces of writing. They make lists, start story ideas, develop characters, and plan settings. This is the prewriting part of our writing process.
Once students have a story idea that they like, they start to develop a draft of that story. They work on a rough draft of their story, and then they move through the editing and revising process to improve their story. Finally, students publish a final copy of their story. These published copies will be kept in each student's Writing Portfolio here at school.
Conferencing with Mrs. Jones: throughout Work Time
During Work Time, while students are writing, I meet with my writers. I listen to students read their work, help students decide their next steps, provide feedback, reinforce strengths, and help writers stay on track. I keep a notebook of our conferences to document students' progress and help me plan my mini-lessons. At our Parent Conference, I will share my notes from your child's Writing Conferences so you can see what we're discussing.
Author's Chair: last 5 minutes
During Author's Chair, one student sits on my stool and reads his/her work aloud to the class. As I'm conferencing during Work Time, I will choose one student whose writing exemplifies what we're working on, gives a good example of the concept taught during the Mini Lesson, or just plain sounds good! That student will read their work and receive feedback from classmates. It is a great way to have students teach others while also reinforcing and building up our pride in our writing!