Writer's Workshop


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What the process looks like in my classroom.

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Writer's Workshop

  1. 1. Writer’s Workshop: My Classroom Ryan MacDougall Campbellton Middle School February 17th, 2014
  2. 2. Introduction  The workshop model allows for the flexibility to do what works for you and your students (no one size fits all approach)  Establish procedures/routines from the beginning. Continuous teaching and reinforcement of these procedures/routines as you go.  Use what works, change what doesn’t.
  3. 3. My Routine  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!
  4. 4. Mini Lessons  Procedures/Routines  Skills  Writing craft/techniques  Based on student needs or what you want to see in their writing.  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 (middle/high).
  5. 5. Quick Writes  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 background knowledge.  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.
  6. 6. Independent 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.
  7. 7. Quick Checks  Circulate around the room. Important to be moving around!  “How is it going?” or “Tell me about what you are working on”.  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).
  8. 8. 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.
  9. 9. Peer Conferencing  Ensure that this has a purpose (not all “peers” will take full benefit of this)  PATS (Praise, Ask a question, Tell what stuck, Suggestion).  Model this early in the year  Have students provide notes (post-it note or on their drafts)
  10. 10. Sharing/Exit Ticket  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….)
  11. 11. 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.
  12. 12. Activity  Quick write  Twitter campaign for Gil Junio to be Canada’s flag bearer at the closing ceremonies  CBC article  Question: Should Gil Junio be Canada’s flag bearer at the closing ceremonies? Explain. (5 minutes)  PATS (Praise, ask a question, tell what stuck, suggestion)  Whole group share!