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Writing academy


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  • What are your goals for the day? What are your goals for the week? We’re going to examine an idea for a Writer’s workshop. Then we’ll look at some other fun writing ideas for students. Teaching students to open up and write expressively is every bit as important as spelling and grammar.
  • When you set up your writing workshop, What are the components you include? Take about 10 seconds and share your ideas with someone nearby. What are some ideas you have? Is anyone willing to share?
  • We’re going to examine how to build a writing workshop. Start with some baskets (show) or bins or a unit of drawers (show). I started with a plastic treasure chest with little canisters but switched to these drawers. Fill them with prompts or words, depending how you want to handle your workshop.
  • Tell the students: the responsibility is on you to use what you know about narratives, expository writing, persuasive, journal writing, and creative writing to create your own masterpiece. It’s not just providing an overload of prompts – it’s giving guidelines and give students accountability for their writing.
  • Refer to the basket or drawers. This will be your next step that students will follow. (read and elaborate)
  • This is the reason for writing workshop – so that students are able to differentiate between prompts. Signs – students can put their name on a sticky note and stick it to the sign for accountability.
  • There will be colors assigned to each form of writing. This will allow for another identifiable way for students to remember which prompts they’ve answered.
  • There is no right or wrong answer, but I’d like you to go with what you’ve seen with students and answer this question: Which prompt do you believe students are most familiar with? Share your ideas and be prepared to share with the group.
  • Don’t put the cart before the course – if students aren’t familiar with the components of each genre, don’t set them free to write. Give them the tools they’ll need to be successful. Here’s a brief explanation of each genre featured in the writing workshop.
  • Expository writing is like informational writing. I say students are “exposed” to new ideas and learning in this genre. You are introducing your audience to a new idea. “How to” writing can also be expository.
  • Students will look for prompts written in orange ink. When choose the prompt, they will use these components to respond. (read)
  • When students choose to respond to persuasive, they will use facts and reasons and give examples. Their explanations should be logical. They can also use a counterpoint (we did this with our Christmas persuasive). They’ll look for purple ink.
  • In journal writing, students can give opinions when responding to prompts. It’s like a free-write. Students can be as creative as they’d like.
  • They can spice up their writing when they use every creative thought to answer these fun prompts.
  • At this point, I want to show you the actual slideshow I made for the students. It was one opportunity they had to take notes. Depending on the age group, you could make a “fill in the blanks” sheet for them to use in their writers’ notebook under “tools”.
  • If the prompt has these words in “tell why” or “explain”, it is expository writing. Students then know from which direction they are going to tackle it.
  • These are the components in an expository piece. (read)
  • If it is asking you to tell how (which would be a “how to” piece), this is also expository. Most students have written a “how to”, and they are somewhat relieved to see a connection of this new work “expository” to a familiar style.
  • In a “how to” piece, these are the components students should include.
  • This type of writing opens the gates for creativity – there are so many possibilities – it could be fiction or non-fiction; you could introduce a unit on transition words and incorporate it here; and sequencing ties in, and we use that everywhere
  • When students choose a prompt in the “narrative” category, they will basically be telling a story.
  • These components will be part of the narrative. At the beginning of each middle paragraph, students will be encouraged to use creative transitions (other than first, next, then, last) – although this is a great start.
  • Personally, I try to stay away from the traditional persuade your parents for gifts writing. We wrote to philanthropists to persuade them to “donate” to a charity - what are other persuasives you’ve used?
  • If the prompt asks students to convince them of something or to persuade them to do something, then students should begin to gather their strategies for this genre.
  • There are many different people students can persuade. Later, we will examine ways to do fictional persuasive writing in a new fun way.
  • The counterpoint part of persuasive writing may or may not be used. I encouraged students to include, “You may not think “so and so” is a good idea because it is too expensive or too that the money could be spent better elsewhere”, but I am asking you to consider….
  • These types of writing require students to use their own background knowledge and opinions to answer the prompts. There are no real right or wrong answers – expectations should be set by teachers in what is expected of students so they don’t rush through.
  • Students should improve on their writing – excellent work starts out as a sloppy copy. Teachers should model revising and editing. We assume they know how to do this, but they can improve by teacher modeling. Anyone want to share a success story about when you modeled writing.
  • 5 of each color notebook. (Yellow writes narrative, wk 1.) Writing prompts should be centrally located. Have 1 or 2 students be in charge of housekeeping at your workshop area, to organize prompts by color.
  • Loosen up – students should free their inner thoughts and voices. Free writes and brainstorming are included here. Tighten up – take your selected loosen up materials and turn them into polished pieces. Sections in writers’ notebooks.
  • Raft is an acronym for a writing style. Take your sticky note and write RAFT on it, and take your best prediction as to what each letter RAFT stands for. Bring it up and stick it on the wall (table)
  • We can use RAFT writing to enhance students’ understanding of the topic. Brainstorm roles – the decide on the audience – then identify a topic. Assign the RAFT for all student, or I like to give them a choice by putting 2 or more RAFTS on the board for them to choose.
  • Here’s a fun example of a RAFT to use. You notice that the format is a campaign speech. Students may get tired of writing 5 paragraph essays. Demand the same excellence you would, no matter what format.
  • Here are 4 examples of rafts to use, each shows the role, the audience, the format, and the topic. (read them)
  • Here are more examples of rafts to be used at any age in all content areas. (read them) The next slide shows 2 more examples of RAFTS. As you can see, you could create your own very easily using these examples as a starting point.
  • This concludes the RAFT portion. I want to touch base quickly about guided reading time. How many do guided reading groups? How many do conferencing? I use this during guided reading time, while students are doing independent reading. They respond to their independent reading (or a read aloud I may be doing).
  • This is what I use. Students put their clothespin with their number on their prompt. They are required to do a variety of prompts in letter form. I use it as part of their writing grade by assigning a few points (rubric). Share journals. I have copies of my prompts to share – on the front table.
  • NPR – Alzheimers could not recall and were told “no” “that’s wrong” when they tried to remember. When pictures were shown and patients were asked to tell what happened before this – what’s happening now – what happened next – it opened up their thinking.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Start with• baskets, bins, drawers• prompts
    • 2. •Choose a prompt from a basket.•Follow a formula for each style of writing.
    • 3. •Return the prompt to the bin. (color code)•Evaluate your writing.
    • 4. •Narrative Genres•Persuasive•Expository •Journal •Creative
    • 5. • Cart and Horse
    • 6. Expository:main idea,supporting details,conclusion (blue ink)
    • 7. • Narrative: sequence of events; can be fiction or non-fiction; transition words (orange ink)
    • 8. Persuasive:facts, reasons,examples,logical (purpleink)
    • 9. •Journal:•point of view•(pink ink)
    • 10. Creative writing: use sizzle,give reader spice
    • 11. •Expository
    • 12. ExpositoryPurpose: explain Clue words: tell why explain
    • 13. Expository introduction first reasonsecond reason third reason closing
    • 14. Expositoryclue words: tell how
    • 15. Expositoryintroduction first step second step third step closing
    • 16. NarrativePurpose: narrate Clue words: what happenedtell a story about tell about t
    • 17. Introductionwhat happened firstwhat happened secondwhat happened third c closing
    • 18. PersuasivePurpose: persuade Clue words:convince, persuade
    • 19. Persuasivewho is the audience in theessay? The principal, your parents, a classmate?
    • 20. Persuasive Introduction First advantageSecond advantage Third advantage (Counterpoint) C Closing
    • 21. Journal WritingCreative Writing
    • 22. Students should….• feel comfortable when writing.• not have to share their writing. Teachers should…• model, model, model
    • 23. Organize• Have a spiral writing workshop notebook.• Genres shared by groups each week.• Prompt stick to your desk.• Return to proper location.
    • 24. Writing Notebook•• Tighten up Loosen up
    • 25. ROLE AUDIENCEFORMAT TOPIC• Concepts to be learned• Brainstorm RAFT• All students – or choice of RAFTS
    • 26. RAFT examples for mathRole: ZeroAudience: Whole numbersFormat: Campaign speechTopic: The importance of zero
    • 27. Parts of a graph VariablesTV audience EquationsScript LetterHow to read a graph Role of variablesLungs FrogCigarettes TadpoleComplaint LetterEffects of smoking Life cycle
    • 28. Colorado River DuckRafters U.S. SenatorsTravel guide LetterWhat you’ll see here Effects of Oil SpillBird PlantWright Brothers SunComplaint Thank you noteDisruption of Skies Role in my growth
    • 29. • Colonial teenagers writing a play for younger children Final ideas of RAFTS explaining hunting on the river.• As a fish, write an article for Field and Stream describing the influence of a factory along the river.
    • 30. Reading Response• Circle• Clothes Pins• Journals to share
    • 31. •How do we reach all students in reading and writing?
    • 32. In closing• Story of Alzheimer’s patients• Connections to our young students
    • 33. Thank You!• Did I sign your paper?• Please take any copies.• Please let me know if you’d like me to email you with any information covered today. (I have the list)