Question for atwell writer workshop users

Discussion in 'Sixth Grade' started by newkteacher, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. newkteacher

    newkteacher Rookie

    Aug 29, 2006
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    Aug 7, 2007

    If anyone here uses Atwell's writer's wrokshop I have a question. I will be teaching 6th grade and I want to use writer's wrokshop. I have to teach the 5 paragraph essay and persuasive writing to my class(required). How/Can I do this as the minilessons?
  3. Researcher

    Researcher Rookie

    Sep 9, 2007
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    Oct 16, 2007

    Atwell's Writer's Workshop

    I've been using Atwell's method for only a year now, and it worked really well with my 6th graders last year, because they were so independent. This year, my 6th graders are not as much, and I will have to help them along (read: scaffold) a lot more (everything from topic ideas to more modeling, etc).
    I assume you mean an informative essay when you say "5 paragraph"s. Each month/quarter/set of weeks, I have a writing goal. I may start off the year with reading fiction/writing short stories. We start off with read-alouds a lot in my class, so we use that to cover my mini-lesson topics (ex/ what are the elements in a story? how does an author develop character? etc).
    For Informative Essays, we usually have a pretty specific reason to write. Say, a class magazine/newsletter or presentation that's coming up. ALWAYS HAVE A REAL AUDIENCE when it comes to writing non-fiction. Most students will dread it otherwise. So let them come up with interesting topics for themselves, or help them along.
    This year, I'm using R. Routman's "Writing Essentials" to help. Here's what I've learned:
    1) Model model model. Can't have too much modeling of your own writing. If it's an essay you want, call it something more interesting and just model it. Everyday, if you have to.
    2) Use student helpers to help you write another model. They'll have interesting ideas others may want to borrow or aspire to.
    3) Have students think outloud and bounce ideas off of each other. It's how real writers work.
    4) Give them time to write every day, for sustained periods of time.
    5) Give them the tools they need in order to perfect their writing AFTER they come up with interesting ideas and get into the writing "flow." (ie, don't make red marks all over their work, at least use post-its. Correct spelling/grammar afterwards during the publishing phase).
    6) Give them positive feedback first, then help them focus on 1-2 areas they need to improve at a time.
    7) Make sure they have a real audience they will have to answer to. For example, have them write parts of a school/student manual or Science chapter for an informational essay. Have them write to someone real about a topic they actually care about for the persuasive letter (ex/ mayor for more parks). Whatever is, make it real and something they care about.
    8) Celebrate their hard work.

    Good luck!

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