For those who use Writing Workshop AND Reading Workshop

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TeacherShelly, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Aug 7, 2013

    I spent four days last week in a Writing Workshop institute by Columbia University's Teachers College. I'm really psyched to start my first real writing workshop. Now I'm eager for next summer when they will train us in Reading Workshop.

    So for those who do writing and reading workshops, what are the main elements for reading workshop that correlate to the elements of writing workshop? For example, the conferring routine for writing workshop is:

    Research - find out more about the writer and the piece
    Compliment - point out something specific they are doing well as a writer with examples
    Teach - show example, model, and practice using whatever your teaching point is. Model it on your own work, not the student's work.
    Link - send the student off to use the new technique in their own work (not necessarily that day, but ongoing).

    Ideas?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 7, 2013

    I confer with my students as readers...hard to get thru whole class in a week...but it follows the same format:
    Research: have kid read an excerpt, talk about thinking in the book/ maybe a resell to check comprehension
    Compliment: I usually say ' I noticed something you did that good readers do...'
    Teach: a strategy, push thinking, give reading work to do
    Link...send them off to do what you discussed

    Also, whenever you can link your reading unit of study to your writing unit, you're getting more bang for your buck...so during a unit on persuasive writing, my kids might have one opinion pieces or articles in their reading bins...when writing poetry, kids often have favorite poetry anthologies in their bins...remember to save time during both reading and writing workshop for a share or wrap up of some sort...:thumb:
     
  4. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    Aug 8, 2013

    Thank you for sharing this piece. While I don't have anything to offer, since I'm just starting with writing workshop this year, I'm so thankful for teachers like yourselves willing to share what you've learned with others.

    This example of what to do during conferring is an excellent piece I needed.

    I can't wait to have a writing workshop for our school!
     
  5. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    Aug 8, 2013

    I wish I had a SUPER like button for your post.

    I have a question for you about sending the students off to work on what you discussed with them, and this might be an "out there" question, but I've never had one-on-one conferencing with students about their reading. Sad, I know. It's the way we were having to teach until this next year.

    Do you find the students actually follow through with what you've asked them to do?

    If not, what are some things you do to prod, encourage, etc.?
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 8, 2013

    Applecore..I keep conferring notes on each student in a reading workshop notebook...some of the work is track able in that kids might be saving thinking on a post it or jotting notes. Or I'll check in on a kid within a day or two to see how its going with what I gave them.
     
  7. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    Aug 8, 2013

    That makes sense. I can see having their accountability to bring back to me when I check with them on the strategy as a great sign whether or not they "got it". I have the Daily 5 & CAFE by the Sisters books, so I'll be digging more in depth over this part. I hope the positive encouragement I will have for them will be enough motivation factor for them.
     
  8. Meggmv

    Meggmv Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2013

    I would suggest using anything by Lucy Calkins. If you did Columbia, you probably got the writer's workshop books so just look into getting the books for reading. The books are numbered because they tend to correlate betwen the two workshops. Not sure what state you're in, but another amazing resource for reading is Nancy Boyles - that's a great answer book. She offers lessons (scripted) that deal with various reading strategies and have activities presented with the "testing terminology" and format kids could expect to see on the state test. It's very aligned to common core because kids are constantly having to look back to the text and do tons of writing. When I student taught I really relied on these two resources because they're super thorough, align to CCSS and sequenced in a logical manner. Even though they are scripted, you clearly can spruce it up with your own style, and like me, change up the read alouds to fit your students needs and interests.

    When it comes to small group reading instruction, I use more of the cafe style to plan focus of instruction. Being the new first year teacher, many teschers informed me that my district uses a very obsolete guided reading program, so I plan to supplement a lot with reading a-z as well as short readings that pertain to things we are discussing in social studies & science (killing 2 birds with 1 stone approach). Oh based on the reading levels I was given, the class size, and time for literacy, I'm planning on seeing my lowest groups 3x a week, middle group 3x and higest readers 1x a week. As suggested, groups ideally stay within the suggested 10-12 minute time frame.

    What do you all do in small groups? What materials do you use to teach? How often do you see your groups? How long are your meetings?
     
  9. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Aug 8, 2013

    Applecore, thanks for the thanks! I'm so happy you're getting something from the thread :)

    My teacher said that whether or not to have students go immediately work on the newly taught skill is "something smart teachers disagree about." Her point of view was that the student should use the new skill the next time it makes sense to. For example, if it is about how to write a great hook in an informational piece, that could be used when he starts a new informational piece; or he may have learned two ways to start an informational piece and can choose one. If, though, the new skill isn't being used, she will remind the kid in a conference.

    Meggmv, yes, it was all part of Lucy Calkins' Reading and Writing Project. She reportedly leans toward egalitarianism when seeing groups (another thing smart teachers disagree on) and confers with everyone four minutes a week. A kid who needs help staying on task might be seen for four 1 minute conferences, while a more motivated student might get a single 4 minute conference.

    The hardest thing for me in Writing Workshop, in theory, is being able to think fast enough and find materials for the on-the-fly decisions about what to teach each small group, who should be in it, what materials will I need, and keeping the time just long enough to make the teaching point. It all depends on the dynamics of everything at the moment.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 8, 2013

    Shelly...my class is all in the same unit of study at the same time...so we'd all be writing informational pieces. So my mini lesson might be about a hook sentence for a lead and I want EVERYONE to give that a try when I teach it...then they continue wherever they are in their IEPs as I confer either individually or in groups.

    I'll keep a basket of mentor texts out during each unit so I can grab one during a conference or use as examples during mini lessons.

    Since I'm in grade 3, my kids have been following a workshop model for several years by the time they get to me so they are familiar with the structure and expectations. :love:
     
  11. TeacherShelly

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    I'm going to have everyone in the same unit at the same time, too. I probably won't have everyone stop their work and start a new piece with a new lead sentence at the same time, though. I don't know, I'll see how it works in real life.

    Our training was optional, but all of the K/1 teachers are going to use this method if they weren't already. We have some very experienced teachers who have been using it for a long time.
     
  12. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Aug 8, 2013

    Are you going to have continued training through the year? That is a huge help to be able to ask questions that come up and get input on future units. I also learned a ton from watching them teach a lesson.
    Kindergarten is a little different, but I love workshops now and have a fee general tips.

    You don't have to stick to 1:1 conferences, if several kids need the same strategy or needs reteach, pull a small group and get more bang for your buck. If half the class or more needs a skill, it's a whole group lesson, if less than half need it, pull a group.

    Anchor charts are key, be sure the kids are part of creating them, and make it look pretty later. Only leave charts up that are useful and that they currently need and refer to, no more than 3 should be up at a time.
     
  13. TeacherShelly

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    Tasha, we can email the teachers but no more training. They did teach us about small group conferring in addition to 1:1 but seemed to be saying we should TRY to meet every kid 1:1 every week, too.

    I got a CD with a lot of charts on it. I also took pix of the charts the teacher made during class. She used 8x5" post-it notes to make her charts, which I thought was pretty genius. She put a few words on one, slapped it onto chart paper, then added to it as we went until she'd made a complete chart.

    Thanks for those tips, too!
     
  14. TeacherShelly

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    Sep 1, 2013

    So two weeks into it - I have two big challenges. The first is a couple of kids who can't think of anything to write about. I've had a minilesson on small moments and another one on writing meaningful stories, but still, "I don't know what to write about." They brought in pictures and practiced telling their memories about them to their parents and writing buddies. Still.

    The other challenge is getting a few to sketch the story across five pages before writing the story. They are so accustomed to starting with no story in mind, then just going on and on until they either cannot finish or just abruptly stop. I LOVE the planning format, but it's a chore to help some of them plan before starting off.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    1.Nothing to write about? Write about your breakfast, honey....amazing how quickly they come up with an idea then! Create a class list of writing ideas, have kids create maps of their hearts for inspirations...do a mini lesson on getting ideas.

    2.Maybe before sketching out, have them tell across five fingers first?
     
  16. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Sep 2, 2013

    I really like this. The way some teachers do writing workshop in our building involves students all working on individual projects and no whole class lessons with inspiring texts. You are doing some awesome teaching.
     

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