Question for those who use writer's workshop..

Discussion in 'General Education' started by **Mrs.A**, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. **Mrs.A**

    **Mrs.A** Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2009

    What advice would you give someone who wants to start implementing writer's workshop? What should I expect my first year doing this?? (This will only be my second year of teaching) Should I take baby steps and not expect to be doing everything my first time around? It sounds so easy when you read about it, but I know it's going to be a challenge. :dizzy:
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jun 18, 2009

    I haven't started yet, but hope to in my classroom (when I get one). I'm going to lay it out in small, baby steps.
     
  4. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    Jun 19, 2009

    I love reading & writing workshops! This last year almost every parent told me that their child has really enjoyed reading a lot more, and I saw great improvement in their comprehension and writing skills.
    The resources I've used the most are Revisiting the Reading Workshop by Barbara Orehovec and Marybeth Alley and Units of Study for Teaching Writing by Lucy Calkins.
    My favorite book is Writing About Reading by Janet Angelillo - it explains how to connect the read aloud, reading workshop, and writing workshop. I used this model for creating many of my mini-lessons for reading workshop.
     
  5. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    Jun 19, 2009

    I love Notebook Know How by Aimee Buckner for writers workshop. It was awesome!

    This was my first year teaching, but here are some of my thoughts. I struggled at the beginning with the mini lessons--I tended to have a big lesson and then we worked on that the rest of the week. I did get better at the end with shortening my lessons--not the content, just getting down to the nitty gritty.
    I hope to do a lot better with that this year. We have a literacy coach and I'm going to have her in to do sample lessons to help guide me with that.

    I struggled a bit with conferencing also. I used the notebook set up that The Sisters recommend and it helped. I just found that I wasn't meeting with students often enough and didn't really know what to guide them to focus on. Honestly, this just improved with time and teaching.

    It is overwhelming to start with. I did chunks of things at a time, instead of all at once. I wanted to be good at some things instead of rotten at them all. :) But that is just my style.

    There is a lot on this site about writers workshop. Do a search and you'll find lots of great info and tips.

    :)
     
  6. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jun 19, 2009

    I recommend In the Middle and Lessons that Change Writers by Nancy Atwell. Love her and love both books!
     
  7. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I second Silver's recommendation. Using Lessons that Change Writers is the best thing I've ever done. I found great success once started using the mini lessons in this book. I do not follow Atwell's workshop formula exactly; I've modified it to work for my style and my students, but it is a place to start.
     
  8. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    I'm going Amazon-ing tonight to find that book! Can't wait to get it. It sounds great! :)

    Another good one is Craft Lessons by Ralph Fletcher
     
  9. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Jun 19, 2009

    Best advice, don't kill the spirit of the writer by being too critical.

     
  10. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    Jun 19, 2009

    Look up Nancie Atwell's books on heinemann.com (the publisher). I've found that this is actually cheaper than amazon. Plus there are tons of other books to check out!
     
  11. Petite_Teacher

    Petite_Teacher Companion

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    Jun 20, 2009

    I would say start with baby steps. The book recommended is a great starting point. Be encouraging with the writers workshop and give constuctive criticism where the student can see how change will benefit.
     
  12. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I've had a bit more time to think about what I did this past year that made my workshop so successful. Here's what I remember...
    First, I spent quite a bit of time teaching and practicing the procedures for workshop: what IS workshop, what does workshop look like, what does workshop sound like, what should a peer conference look/sound like, how to give constructive criticism, what are our writing territories, etc. Then I jumped in to the writing minilessons. I also wrote with my kids, using my own writing as models. I would often think aloud my process for them so they could see that my writing struggles were often the same as theirs.
    Do know that your workshop will not be perfect from day one. I have been using workshop off and on for 15 years, and last year was the first year I was really happy with what went on. Like all things in teaching, growing a writing workshop is a long-term project!
     
  13. love_reading

    love_reading Comrade

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    Jun 20, 2009

    This is my fourth year using Writers' Workshop and I am still revising certain things. Each year I can tell I get a little more comfortable and can add on more things. What grade do you teach? That can make a difference. The first few weeks you will start out modeling and teaching what WW is and expectations/routines. My school uses Linda Dorn's books and she has one about writing for K-3 teachers. Also, jmeacham.com has really good mini lessons for the K-2 teacher. Have fun! My students LOVE writing and never complain about it!
     
  14. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    Jun 20, 2009

    That is what I want - for my kids to love to write and to feel confident about their writing skills. I know that not every student will love to write, but I want them to feel more confident at it.
     
  15. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jun 20, 2009

    Happy bday, Chele!!
     
  16. **Mrs.A**

    **Mrs.A** Comrade

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    Jun 20, 2009

    Thank you for all the responses.. I'm really looking forward to trying WW this coming year.

    I have another question.. It seems WW is a process where kids can be working on any type of writing. They can be collecting ideas, writing a narrative, letter, poem or song. Not everyone is working on the same piece. Is this correct? If so, how do you address those genres we are required to teach?? I have to teach narratives, functional, literary response, research, poetry and expository. If everyone is working on their own thing, how do you teach the genres within WW?

    Last year, we all worked on narratives then we started on functional text and then persuasive and so on... I really struggled with writing this year and that's why I want to attempt WW. I've started reading The Art of Teaching Writing..Does Lucy Calkins talk about this in her book?

    Thanks!!
     

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