How do you start YOUR writers workshop?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by VANewbie, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Sep 11, 2011

    I am pretty good at introducing reading and I am using Daily 5. This is really helping me. But how do you start writers workshop? I have never done this before so I do not know where to start. Our school does not have a writing program that we use.

    Is there a planning sheet online someone that could help me get started?
     
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  3. jwteacher

    jwteacher Cohort

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    Sep 11, 2011

    Always start with a mini-lesson on what you want to teach for the day. If you're introducing a new unit, I read a great example of quality work to show kids what the end result of a writing project could look like. The great thing about writer's workshop is that you scaffold mini-lessons each day so that students build the writing skills they lack.
     
  4. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    I guess that is my problem. Where would you get your ideas for a mini unit? You pacing guides?

    So for example if you need to teach letter writing you could do a read aloud and then a mini lesson and then the students go to their seats to practice?
     
  5. jwteacher

    jwteacher Cohort

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    Yes, you could do exactly that. If you wanted your kids to write a biography, you could read a short biography and have the kids brainstorm the elements of a good biography afterward.

    When I started a mini-unit, I got together with my team to go over the grade-level expecations and figure out some general guidelines of lessons we wanted to teach. We had to be flexible to allow for additional lessons if necessary.

    There are many books on mini-lesson ideas. A good book for starters is called Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide.
     
  6. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Sep 16, 2011

    Oh I see. So it is pretty much what I have been doing.

    Got it!
     
  7. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Sep 17, 2011

    A big element is to think of what the major points of a unit might be, break it down to mini-lessons and then make a spread sheet with the kids names and the points you want them to get along with some basic writing conventions (using punctuation, spacing, etc...). Then you have a good way to keep track of what the kids need and ideas for small group stuff.
     
  8. massteacher

    massteacher Companion

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    Sep 17, 2011

    We use Lucy Calkin's mini lessons for our Writing Workshop block. She has 6 or 7 books for each unit, so it's really easy to pick and choose mini-lessons within that unit that apply to your state standards or that you see the kids struggling with. Good luck!
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 17, 2011

    I'm grade 3...my kids are used to a workshop approach. We T chart what writers workshop looks like and sounds like. I have the kids personalize the outsides of their notebooks. We makea maps of our hearts for writing ideas.
     
  10. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Sep 17, 2011

    czacza, could you elaborate on this? How do they personalize their notebooks? And not sure what you mean that they make aps of their hearts for writing ideas...sounds interesting to me.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 18, 2011

    Kids take their notebooks home and personalize them by gluing on family photos, magazine cut outs of things they love, stickers. Kind of a personal collage.:love:We just shared ours on Friday...the kids were so proud of their books and the pictures sparked a lot of conversation with partners as they shared stories of the photos and pics.

    Maps of the heart ( sorry, aps was a typo:eek:) kids decorate heart cut outs with little sketches and words depicting the parts of their lives that are most important. These can be hung in the room for writing inspiration, or you can have the kids make smaller hearts that can be glued into their notebooks.

    Here's one way they might look:
    http://www.playfulearning.com/Playful_Learning/Blog/Entries/2009/1/13_Map_of_My_Heart.html
    Here's heart map lessons on Scholastic:
    http://www2.scholastic.com/content/collateral_resources/pdf/h/HPLesson1_Final.pdf
     
  12. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Sep 18, 2011

    WOW, thanks for sharing.

    I want to do the notebook activity also. Do you give them any other special instructions? Do they glue it on with whatever? And however they want? Does it stay on or do you Modge Podge it later? I love this idea and the heart map also...
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Some kids put clear contact over theirs...I'm not sure what mod podge would do for photos...I send a note home about personalizing the notebooks and making them as special on the outside that the words on the inside will be...each student's is unique, just like each student is!
     
  14. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Are you talking about spiral notebooks? Do you tell them they can use tape or glue to put the photos on the cover? Do they stay on or do you have problems with the photos and pictures falling off as the year goes on? Thanks.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 19, 2011

    We use marble composition notebooks. I don't like spirals.:rolleyes:
     

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