Writer’s Workshop: My
Campbellton Middle School
February 17th, 2014
The workshop model allows for the flexibility to do what
works for you and your students (no one size fits all
Establish procedures/routines from the beginning.
Continuous teaching and reinforcement of these
procedures/routines as you go.
Use what works, change what doesn’t.
Mini-Lesson/Quick Write (5-10 mins)
Independent Writing/Quick Checks/One on One
Conferencing/Peer Conferencing (25-30 mins)
Sharing/Exit tickets (5-10 minutes)
**My students read and write EVERYDAY. We normally
focus on our writer’s workshop one week and reader’s the
next doing 2 or 3 of these during the week. Others fit both in
during the week and that is fine. Remember – whatever
works for you and your students!
Based on student needs or what you want to see in their
Example: “Heart Mapping” and “Funnelling” were two mini
lessons that I did earlier in the year to help students develop
a bank of topics for memoir writing and to narrow these
ideas down. TONS of mini lessons can be found through
reading literacy experts such as Nancy Atwell (middle
school), Penny Kittle (middle/high) or Kelly Gallagher
Short writing lessons/activities based on real world topics.
Set a purpose
Share a news article, video etc.
Discuss, returning to the purpose for our lesson (i.e defending an opinion,
persuading an audience, etc.). Important to frontload and set students up with
Guiding question. Provide time for students to respond (could be anywhere
from 3-10 minutes depending on the time you have at your disposal. Ours
vary from 3-7 minutes. Important to write for the time that you are given.
Take a couple of minutes and share (partners or group). Sharing is a vital part
of student development as writers. It is important that read and hear what their
peers are writing.
All students are working independently on their own
writing pieces. Some are planning or free writing, some
are drafting or revising a 1st draft. There may be no two
students at the same stage in the process but
EVERYONE is writing.
Circulate around the room. Important to be moving around!
“How is it going?” or “Tell me about what you are working
Take some quick notes and move on.
You can easily get to 10-12 students spending 45 seconds
to a minute with each.
Keeps them on task and gives you lots of information about
how they are doing. Use this information to plan one on one
conferencing (if a student is really having difficulty with a
conclusion, a one on one conference may be needed).
One on One Conferencing
Conferencing table. Hold up one finger for a conference or I invite those
students that I need to see (from quick checks). I add students to my list and
they go back to work until I get to them. I may get to 7 students in a period, I
may get to 4 or I may get to 2. It depends on the stage they are at and their
ability as a writer. My philosophy here is “less is more”.
Students take ownership. They come to me with a specific question or a small
portion or their writing that they need assistance with.
“Is this good enough?”, “Can you read this?” or “Am I done?” is unacceptable
in my WW.
“I’m having trouble with my conclusion. I tried starting it this way but it doesn’t
have a nice flow to it. I also tried _________. Do you have another suggestion
I could try?” is acceptable. It shows that students are taking ownership of their
writing and have a purpose for conferencing.
Ensure that this has a purpose (not all “peers” will take
full benefit of this)
PATS (Praise, Ask a question, Tell what stuck,
Model this early in the year
Have students provide notes (post-it note or on their
Students have the opportunity to share something in
their writing that they are proud of or that they feel they
are improving on. Some will read their entire piece but
this doesn’t often occur in the middle of the process.
Some will share a technique that they tried, something
they liked in a peer’s writing or ask a question about
something they didn’t understand
An exit ticket may be used if a particular skill was
reviewed or taught (example would be a lesson on
their, they’re, there….)
Some final tips…
Read what the experts say. Talk to other literacy
teachers. These are the best ways to find and try what
works for you.
Write with your students (and it doesn’t need to be
perfect!). If they see you as a writer, they’ll see
themselves as writers.
Have students share.
Twitter campaign for Gil Junio to be Canada’s flag
bearer at the closing ceremonies
Question: Should Gil Junio be Canada’s flag bearer at
the closing ceremonies? Explain. (5 minutes)
PATS (Praise, ask a question, tell what stuck,
Whole group share!