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Incorporating writer’s workshop into the elementary classroom



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  • Content Share = Retell and ask questions about writing, Suggest revisions or rehearsal ideasCraft share = Craft techniques, reread writing, share craft with partnerProcess share = Get writing process ideasProgress share = share and reflect on writing progress, set new goals
  • The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant


  • 1. Incorporating Writer’s Workshop into the Elementary Classroom
    Erik Wittmer
    5th Grade Teacher
    Park Hills Elementary
  • 2. Setting The Foundation
    What is your definition of Writer’s Workshop?
    What is your opinion about Writer's Workshop?
    What questions do you have about Writer’s Workshop?
  • 3. What is Writer's Workshop according to Erik?
    DAILY, structured time
    Teacher provides explicit instruction
    Students select their own topics to write about
    Students are encouraged to be risk takers as they develop their own individual writing style
    A community to share and learn from one another
  • 4. Framework for Writer’s Workshop
    The Mini-Lesson
    (5-10 minutes)
    Independent Writing
    (20-30 minutes)
    • 2-3 Students
    (5 Minutes)
  • 12. Components of Mini-Lessons
    Pulling students together
    Setting the tone
    “Show and Tell” the objective
    Get students involved
    5 -10 Minutes
  • 13. Components of Independent Writing
    Initially just write for extended period of time
    Free writing
    Play with writing
    Staring off into space
    Drafting a writing project
    20 -30 Minutes
  • 14. Writer’s Stamina with Katie Ray Wood
  • 15. Components of Sharing
    Simple Response Share
    Survey Share
    Focused Share
    Student-as-teacher share
    Content Share
    Craft Share
    Process Share
    Progress Share
  • 16. Talk Time
    Turn to a Partner and Talk about the Different Components in a Writer’s Workshop
    Be sure to include the time frames
  • 17. Why Writer’s Notebooks
    Practice Writing
    Generate Text
    Find Ideas
    Practice grammar
    Become a stronger writer
  • 18. Structure of Writer’s Notebooks
  • 19. Decorating the Notebook
  • 20. Eliminate “I don’t know what to write about”
    History of a Name
    Writing from a list
    Top 10, Worst 5
    Scary Stories
    I Wonder/Question
    Daily page
    Write off Literature
  • 21. More Ideas
    Topic Blast
    What Bugs Me
    Good Ideas/Bad Ideas
  • 22. Preschooler Talks about his notebook
  • 23. Talk Time
    Turn to a Partner and Talk Writer’s Notebooks
    What are you going to do to promote daily writing?
  • 24. More Ideas for Writer’s Notebooks
  • 25. Primary Classroom Poster for Ideas
  • 26. What’s In? What’s Out?
    In the Notebook
    Daily Entries
    Strategies for launching the notebook.
    Finding Patterns
    Rereading and marking patterns in writing.
    Collecting Around A Topic
    Strategies for thinking about a topic.
    Revision Strategies
    Trying different things for a draft.
    Editing, Grammar Notes
    Class notes on grammar and editing skills.
    Out of the Notebook
    The whole piece is written out on yellow legal-pad paper.
    Revisions the author wants to use are added or deleted from the piece.
    Editing the actual piece before writing the final copy is done right on the draft.
    Final Copy
    Final copies of writing pieces are done on white paper or another published format.
  • 27. Teachers as Writers
  • 28. Goals: What We Hope To See Students Developing Over Time In Their Notebooks…
    A sense of self as writers and personal writing processes that work for them.
    Ways of reading the world like writers.
    Collecting ideas with variety, volume and thoughtfulness.
    Each student possesses personal writing processes that work for him/her.
    Boxes and bullets
    Stream of consciousness writing
    Katie Wood Ray, Wondrous Words, 215
  • 29. Goals, continued…
    A sense of thoughtful, deliberate purpose about their work as writers, and a willingness to linger with those purposes.
    Following an idea through to publication.
    “Living with” a topic over time.
    Katie Wood Ray, Wondrous Words, 215
  • 30. Goals, continued…
    Becoming members of a responsive, literate community.
    Working with “editors.”
    Family Members
    Katie Wood Ray, Wondrous Words, 213
  • 31. Goals, continued…
    Ways of reading texts like writers (for both structure and ways with words).
    Developing a sense of craft, genre and form.
    Studying a variety of genres.
    Studying one writer’s body of work.
    Author Studies
    Writer’s Craft Studies
    Katie Wood Ray, Wondrous Words, 216
  • 32. Goals, continued…
    A sense of audience.
    Understanding of how to prepare writing to share with the “world.”
    Learning about publishing opportunities for young writers.
    Focusing on what happens during the publishing process.
    Katie Wood Ray, Wondrous Words, 216
  • 33. Mini -Lessons
    Active Engagement
  • 34. Connection
    Students learn why today’s lesson is
    so important and how it relates to their prior work
    Opens the mini-lesson
    Teacher repeats previous day’s teaching
    Teacher names today’s teaching point
  • 35. Teaching
    Children are taught a new skill and strategy
    that they can use often when they write:
    Tell/State the teaching point and explain when and why a writer might use it
    Show (method of delivery)Demonstration (modeled or shared writing)
    Explicitly tell and show an example
    Inquiry (notice techniques authors use)
    Guided practice (scaffolding)
  • 36. Active Engagement
    Children briefly use the strategy taught
    while the teacher is there to provide support:
    Tell: Repeat the teaching point to get students ready for what they will practice
    Coach: (practice)Can be practiced by having students try a quick example in a writing notebook
    Can verbally try it with “Turn and Talk” strategy
    Can practice this strategy using a piece of mentor text
  • 37. Link
    This is not a closing but a launch!
    Make the transition from the mini-
    Lesson to independent writing:
    Restate the teaching point into clear language that students will remember
    Get students excited to try what they learned, if it applies
    Remind students that this teaching point can be used in the future, when needed
  • 38. Kindergarten Mini -Lesson
  • 39. Talk Time
    Turn to a Partner and Talk Mini-Lessons
    What are the four main parts of these short, powerful lessons?
  • 40. Selecting the Focus of the Lesson
    Mini-lesson may be based on:
    Procedures during Writer’s Workshop
    Writing process
    Traits of good writing
    Resources to assist with planning:
    PA State Standards
    Observing students’ work while roaming the room and conversing
    Collecting student writing to evaluate
  • 41. Independent Writing Time
    Students write on their own to:
    Practice skills and strategies previously taught
    Develop understanding of multiple genres of writing/reading
    Gain writing fluency and stamina
    Share their experiences through topic choice
  • 42. Guided Writing
    Students write and attempt to apply what has been previously demonstrated and practiced
    Teacher guides, responds, and extends the students’ thinking
    Groups of 2-6 students with similar needs based on data and observations
  • 43. Conversing
    Decide and Teach
  • 44. Research
    Determine what the child is beginning to do well and what you want to teach them to do better by:
    Reading the student’s work
    Asking open-ended questions
    “How’s it going?”
    “Can you tell me what you are working on as a writer today?”
  • 45. Research Continued
    Consider what you already know about the writer using conference notes
    Research the same skill and/or strategy until you know the writer can use it independently
  • 46. Compliment
    React like a reader:
    “Wow! Your details really helped me to picture what was happening!”
    Clearly state the skill and strategy used and show where they used it
    Explain why it is important to continue using it
  • 47. Decide and Teach
    Of all the things that I could teach this child, what is the one thing likely to make the most difference on this piece and in future pieces?
  • 48. Decide and Teach Cont…
    “How will I teach this to the child?”State the skill and/or strategy
    Explain when and why to use it
    Show how to successfully use it
    Coach as they practice it in their own writing
    Comments and questions to ask:
    I have one suggestion to make.
    Can I show you one thing?
    Can you try?
  • 49. Link
    Repeat the teaching point
    Name what the child has done
    Remind him that this skill and/or strategy can be used in the future, as needed
  • 50. Components of Sharing
    Based on conferences and guided writing groups, the teacher stops writers to quickly share:
    A need of the majority of students
    An extension of the mini-lesson, revisit something taught earlier in the year, or a new concept
    Something great seen in a student’s piece that she wants to strategically point out
  • 51. Sharing Cont.
    Points to remember:
    The share always includes teaching: State the skill and/or strategy
    Explain when and why to use it
    Show what it looks like to successfully use the strategy
    Use student work as much as possible or a teacher created piece
  • 52. Types of Shares
    Simple Response Share
    Survey Share
    Focused Share
    Student-as-teacher share
    Content Share
    Craft Share
    Process Share
    Progress Share
  • 53. Other Types of Shares
    Fish Bowl
    Author’s Chair
    RAGS – Read Around Groups
  • 54. 1st Grade Class Buddy Sharing
  • 55. 5th Grade Celebrations = Sharing
  • 56. Talk Time
    Think about all the different types of shares that were presented. Do you use one that wasn’t mentioned?
    How important is this portion of writer’s workshop?
  • 57. Ticket Out the Door
    3 – New Ideas you can use next year within your writing community
    2- Sharing ideas that were new to you
    1 – Something you would like to see covered tomorrow
  • 58. Setting Up the Process
    Peer Conferencing
    Completed Papers
    Writer's Notebook
    Mini - Lessons
    Status of the Class
  • 59. Status of the Class
    Before/After Mini – Lesson
    Easy way to check in with every student
    Lets them know you are “watching” each one of them
    Can be one of the following:
    3 x 5 cards
    Anything that shows the writing process
  • 60. Materials
    3 Hold Punch
    Colored Pencils
    Any material that can help to make the students move papers on
  • 61. Peer Conferencing
    Student giving advice to Student
    Not about anything but writing
    Alternative ways?
  • 62. Day # 2
    Think about all that we covered yesterday.
    What are you still unclear on or need help clarifying?
    Writer’s Notebooks
    Stages of Writer’s Workshop
    Most important part?
    Conversations instead of conferencing
    Different type of sharing
    Units of Study
  • 63. Agenda
    Mentor Text
    Sample Lessons using Mentor text with 6 Traits in Mind
    Find some of your own Mentor text
    6 Traits and How the language can be used
    Setting up the entire workshop
    ABCD of writing (Kelly Gallagher and Amy Tarbell)
    Graphic Organizers
  • 64. Conversation
  • 65. Routines and ExpectationsRoutines give students something to count on, a place to hang knowledge, a place to share and explore every day.
    Done through mini – lessons
    Takes at least three to four weeks
    May need to repeat lessons
    Moving from desks to writing areas
    Moving around during writing
    Status of the Class
    Publishing papers
  • 66. Model Lesson on Routines
    Moving from mini- lesson to writing
    When I say, “Go ahead and write” you have 1 minute to get in the zone
    When you hear this signal, that means it is time to be writing
    Let’s try it now.
    Same goes for when writer’s workshop is over.
    Play music to key students to wrap it up and come to the sharing area
  • 67. Setting up the Routines
  • 68. Why Mentor Text?
    Mentor text are pieces of literature that students can relate to
    Mentor text are pieces of literature that are studied and imitated
    Mentor text provide students with powerful connections
    Mentor text help students take risks and try new strategies
    Mentor text are the literature that students can relate to and can read independently
    Provided by Rose Cappelli and Lynne Dorfman, 6/28/11
  • 69. Katie Ray on using Mentor Text
    “I often think that when I watch a really good teacher of writing, it’s almost like there are life-size cardboard cutouts of authors all around the room. Jane Olen is standing by the chalkboard and Eloise Greenfield is just by the door to welcome students as they enter… With a room full of authors to help us, teaching writing doesn’t have to be so lonely.”
  • 70. Choosing a Mentor Text
    You must connect with the book and love it
    Subject matter
    How does it serve your student’s needs and connect with your curriculum
    Can students relate and/or read alone
  • 71. Choosing a Mentor Text Continued
    Balance of genre
    Fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and poetry
    Just like most things in writer’s workshop, it comes down to a personal decision
  • 72. Introducing Mentor Text
    First time through complete as read aloud:
    Appreciate the story and characters
    Message, rhythm
    Second time through using eyes of writer
    Teach to read like writers when using mentor text
    Demonstrate reading-writing connection
  • 73. What Do We Learn by Using Mentor Text
    Craft of writing
    They there are places from which writers gather ideas
    Help students find ideas
    Breathe courage into their writing by helping them take risks
  • 74. Your Turn Lesson
    Shared/Guided Writing
    Independent Writing
  • 75. Modeled Lesson
    Hook -When I was Five by Author Howard
    Purpose – Taking Big Idea and Making into one you KNOW
    Brainstorm –What can you add to your writing territories/seeds now that we read this story?
    Model – Inverted Triangle
    Shared/Guided Writing – Students try triangle
    Independent Writing- Continue
    Reflection - How did this strategy work for you as a writer?
  • 76. Reflection + Talk Time
    What was going through your mind as this lesson was being taught?
    How do you see yourself using a lesson format like this?
    Different and bit longer than mini-lesson
    Talk to your table about the positives and negatives you would see doing something like this in our classroom
  • 77. Modeled Lesson
    Hook –Lily’s Purple Purse by Kevin Henkes
    Purpose – Adding Details through questioning
    Brainstorm –Recent things you did at night, on the weekend
    Model – Share my list
    Shared/Guided Writing – Bring two students to front of room and have a discussion
    Independent Writing- Question marks in their writing
    Reflection – How did this strategy work for you as a writer?
  • 78. Other Ideas for The Writer’s Notebook
    Memory Chain using Letter to the Lake
    Every Picture Tells a Story = Gallery Walk
  • 79. Setting the Stage Reading Like a Writer
    Notice something about the craft
    Talk about it and make a theory about why a writer might use this craft
    Give it a name
    Have you seen this craft in other books?
    Try to imagine how you could use this craft in your own writing
  • 80. The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
    • Structure = Circle
    • 81. Ways with Words =
    • 82. Commas a lot
    • 83. Puts periods in places that aren’t sentences
    • 84. “Funny” words like hugging time
    • 85. She uses dashes
    • 86. She repeats words (hugging, breathing)
  • Notice something about the craft
    Often general statements i.e – “Puts pictures in my mind
    Need to get right on top of either the words, the way the words are put together (including punctuation and marks)
    Structure of the text to help envision the craft of their own writing
  • 87. Talk about it and make a theory about why a writer might use this craft
    A writer’s conversation about why the author might have done what they did.
    Specific questions about the craft
    Think about the why
  • 88. Name
    Give it a class name
    Doesn’t need to be from a grammar book
    As long as students remember it within the walls of the classroom
    If the craft has a name, call it by that particular name
  • 89. Other Text
    Have you noticed this craft in another text
    Becomes easier as we understand this process
    Try to have set so other text have similar craft early on
  • 90. Envision using the craft
    Don’t force it so students must use it
    Envision it so they can use the technique in the future
    What would it sound and look like in a writing piece
    “So, if I am writing and I want to ____ , then I can use this technique.
  • 91. Reflections
    Very important
    Used throughout the process
    Students see themselves as writers
    Helps develop the revision process
    Memory Chain
    Inverted Triangle
  • 92. Craft Lesson on Talking Bubbles
    Hook –Magic Tree House Series by Joanne Cole
    Purpose – Add discussions into stories
    Brainstorm –What are some conversations we might hear at the family dinner table?
    Model – Draw picture of Aidan and Brielle informing about their trip to Dutch Wonderland
    Shared/Guided Writing – Students look at their stories
    Independent Writing- Try it out with speech bubble
    Reflection - How did this strategy work for you as a writer?
  • 93. 6 Traits of Writing
    Sentence Fluency
    Word Choice
  • 94. The Language of 6 Traits
    Take writers where they are and move them forward one step at a time
    Matches specific needs and abilities
    Appropriate scoring guide is key to successful teaching
  • 95. Examples of what students can say during revisions or to start a conversations?
    Does my writing make sense?
    Does my writing show that I understand my topic?
    Is my writing interesting?
    Do I start off strong
    Are all my details in the best possible order?
    Are similar thoughts grouped together
  • 96. Examples of what students can say during revisions or to start a conversations?
    Can the reader here me in the writing?
    Can the reader tell I care about this idea?
    Is the voice I’ve chosen right for my audience?
    Word Choice
    Do the words I’ve chosen sound and feel just right?
    Have I painted a picture with words?
  • 97. Examples of what students can say during revisions or to start a conversations?
    Sentence Fluency
    Does my writing sound good when I read it aloud?
    Do my words and phrases flow together?
    Have I included sentences of varying lengths and with different beginnings?
  • 98. Examples of what students can say during editing or to start a conversations?
    Is the punctuation correct and does it guide the reader through the text?
    Did I capitalize all the right words?
    Is my spelling accurate – especially for words I read and write a lot?
    Did I follow grammar rules to make my writing clear and readable?
    Did I indent paragraphs in all the right places?
  • 99. Student Example
    What trait are you working on?
    Focus on just that skill
    Keeps you grounded in focusing in on one area rather than the entire paper
    Universal scoring guides are consistent
  • 100. Publishing Projects
    How often
    Sticky Notes
    At different times
  • 101. Mentor Sentences
    “All Students need to become sentence stalkers , finding them in the literature and the world.” Jeff Anderson, pg 17
    Short phrases and a quick process within the mini - lesson
    “What do you notice?”
    “What do you like about the sentence?”
    Wall Charts become the norm
  • 102. Express Lane Edits
    Short and to the point
    Use students 1st draft
    Come up with a list of grammar rules that have been taught
    Focus on one or two
    Students take those and edit their paper
    Model, Model and Model some more
  • 103. ABCD For Writing Prompts
    Helps attach a writing prompt
    Needs to be modeled, guided
    A = Attach the prompt
    B- Brainstorm ideas
    C- Choose the order of the response
    D – Detect errors
  • 104. My Mentor Text
  • 105. My Mentor Text Continued