Making Writing Workshop WORK!

If you know me at all, you know that I have a passion for Guided Reading and meeting the needs of all students during Guided Reading in my classroom.  What you might not know is that as much as I love Guided Reading, Writing Workshop is actually my favorite part of the day... there are two big reasons why!

 1.      The kids LOVE writing workshop.
2.   Each student is working at their own level! 

Please know that what I write in this blog post is how I run my Writing Workshop.  I realize different things work for different people.  What I am going to write about works for me and my kiddos.  I hope that maybe I can give you some ideas to add to your writing workshop time…

Why do I choose to teach writing in a Writing Workshop format?
  • ALL students are working at their own level!
  • Students get to choose topics that interest them to write about.
  • The mini-lesson allows for Interactive Writing (share the pen).
  • Writing Workshop allows the teacher to conference with students individually or in small groups to focus on their needs.

How do I get started with Writing Workshop?
  • I start on DAY 1.  I encourage students to just write, write, write from the start.  Anything goes and no matter what they are writing about- it is AMAZING!
  • I get REALLY excited each day before we start writing.  I tell them how much I love writing workshop and how much they are going to love it too!  Positive energy about writing is really contagious!
  • The first days/weeks I really focus on the rules, routines, and organization of Writing Workshop.

If you were to walk into my room during Writing Workshop, what would it look like?
  • Writing Workshop lasts about 45-60 minutes every day.
  • First, we do a mini-lesson (usually on the SMART board).  I try to keep the mini-lesson between 10-15 minutes.  Many times we are writing together doing a shared interactive writing and writing stories together.
  • After the mini-lesson students will begin writing on their own.  I call table groups to get their writing folder as we watch how well everyone can get started quickly and quietly.
  • I have soft music playing.  I usually listen to a Pandora station.
  • Students will be spread around the room.  I switch off each day, BOYS will work on the floor one day while the GIRLS are at their seats and then visa-versa.
  • Students on the floor are sitting on mats in their own area (they get to choose).  I don’t allow students to go under desks though or else it turns into a fight of who gets to sit where.  They must not be able to hold their arms out and touch another student.
  • I meet with students (usually about 5 each day).  We discuss their writing and talk about where they are going with it.  I focus on WHAT they are writing and spend very little time worried about mechanics.
  • Students write for about 20-30 minutes and then come to the “story pit” to share. 
  • I have sharing/conferencing charts that I use.  Each group has about 5 students and I meet with those students that day and then they also share.  They share their stories no matter where they are in the writing process.  We focus by giving 2 compliments and an idea.

My newest product is structured the way that I run my Writing Workshop.  I did these lessons with my first graders and they are now writing up a storm!  I love to see how excited they are when writing time comes around every day. 

This product includes:
·      25 Narrative Writing lessons including getting started with Rules, Routines, and Organization
·      Lessons are also set up in SMART Notebook Files to allow for interaction on a SMART board (this is not needed but is an added bonus!)
·      Writing Folder (pages to set up your writing folder)
·      Set-up directions
·      Conferencing sheets
·      Narrative writing rubric that focuses on skill taught during lessons
·      Sharing Charts (editable)
·      Letter to send home to parents explaining Writing Workshop

Lesson Topics include:  

Each lesson is set-up along this format...

Here is a sample from Lesson #1

There is so much more that I could write about but I didn't want this post to go on and on... if you have any specific questions about how I run my Writing Workshop or any questions about this product, I would love to hear them!


End of the Year Activities!

So, only 14 school days left.  I am ready!  I have a couple of fun activities to share with you to make the end of the year a little more exciting!  

First, I like to do a little COUNTDOWN.  I just do the last five days of school but I made a packet that has 10 days.  So, you can either do all 10 days or just pick and choose the activities that you like the best!

Basically, I put a slip of paper in an envelope for 5 days.  Each slip of paper has a "special treat" that we get to do that day.  Here are the choices:

We open an envelope everyday to countdown the last five days!
This is a FREEBIE in my store!

Last year, I also made a TIME CAPSULE!  This was so much fun and I can't wait until the kids graduate and can open their time capsules!  Basically, I send home a letter that asks parents to send in some items from this school year.  They send in pictures, pictures of "popular toys", or they can send in the toy if it will fit in the envelope.  For example, last year many kids sent in Silly Bands...
Then, we do a lot of activities in class the last few days of school to add to our time capsule.  They tell about themselves, technology today, and some of their favorite things.

This is for sale in my store for only $3.

Also, if you are ready to start getting ready for next year, I just finished my Narrative Writing:  The Ultimate Writing Workshop Unit.  This has about 2 months (25 Narrative Writing LESSONS) worth of lessons.  I also explain how I run my Writing Workshop.  Each lesson has a SMART Notebook file that can be used on a SMART board but it isn't necessary to have this technology to use this product.  It's just an added bonus!  I'm so excited for this product and I am also working on Opinion and Informational Writing!

Happy End of the School Year!  


New Product: Narrative Writing: The Ultimate Writing Workshop

I LOVE Writing Workshop (maybe even more that Guided Reading) after creating my own Narrative Writing Unit with complete LESSON PLANS.  Yes, you heard it right- complete lesson plans.  This unit lasts about 2 months.  There are 25 lessons (including "start-up") lessons to get the rules, routines, and organization established.  Each lesson comes in PDF form and also SMART Notebook that you can use if you have a SMART board.  BONUS!  No fear- if you don't have a SMART board, the unit is still just as effective!