3 Things Student Writers Need
• Ownership of form and subject
• Feedback from other writers
• Time to draft and revise
What does this look like in the
The Essential Characteristics of the
• Choices about Content
• Time for Writing
• Periods of Focused Study
• Publication Rituals
• High Expectations and Safety
• Structured Management
How do these characteristics
Day by day!
The Essential Components of the
Writing Workshop Class Period
• Mini-lesson/focus lesson (5-10 minutes)
• Writing time/conferences (30-35 minutes)
• Sharing time (10-20 minutes)
• The whole group of students is engaged in a
directed lesson, usually by the teacher, but a
lesson my also be taught by a student or a
The topic of the mini-lesson varies according to
the needs of the class, but it typically falls into
one of the following categories:
• Writer’s process/strategies
• Qualities of good writing/
• Editing skills/written conventions
Mini-Lessons: Across the Process
• Generating Notebook Entries
• Choosing an Idea
• Developing an Idea
• Revising and Crafting
Mini-Lessons: Show and Tell Your Objective!
Some ways to “show and tell” the objective of your
• A quote of advice from a professional writer
• An example from a published text
• A piece of student writing
• A piece of the teacher’s writing
• A story or a metaphor
• A report on a conference
• Some public writing the teacher does
• Students work as writers (which may include
both time to write and writing inquiry) while
the teacher confers with individuals or small
• Students share strategies, problems, and
insights from their day’s work as writers.
Sharing may be done as a whole group, in
smaller groups, or in pairs.
Create a Community of Writers
• Establish a warm, welcoming, safe, classroom
environment from day 1
• Introduce the idea of the workshop with an
emphasis on student ownership
• Engage students in collaboratively developing
class norms during week 1
• Model sharing your own writing with students
• Writers’ Notebooks
• Reading and writing every day!
• Establish the weekly structure
“A writer’s notebook gives you a
place to live like a writer . . .”
The Purpose of the Writer’s Notebook
The principle, the purpose—not the name—is
what’s important . . .
• A place for students (and writers) to save their
words—in the form of a memory, a reflection, a
list, a rambling of thoughts, a sketch, or even a
scrap of paper taped on the page.
• A place for students to practice writing
• A place to generate text, find ideas, and practice
what they know about spelling and grammar
Writing, writing, writing . . .
• The most important aspect of a notebook is
that it allows students the practice of simply
writing . . . in what ever form.
• Writing, rereading, reflecting, and writing
some more promotes fluency.
• Keeping a notebook is a process. (It) leads you
from one thought to another until you
experience the writer’s joy of discovering
something you didn’t know you knew.