What Does Writer's Workshop Look Like in Your Room

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TeacherBug08, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. TeacherBug08

    TeacherBug08 Companion

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    Oct 1, 2014

    I teach 2nd grade and my team and I are in the process of switching writing curriculum. Also I am new to this grade level. So what does writer's workshop look like in your room? Any great books or websites to direct me to would be very much appreciated. My big question is during the independent writing time are students always writing about a story then going through writing process process- prewrite, draft etc. or are their other times when you have them work on something specifically tied to the curriculum. For instance, today I would like you to write an informative piece with an introduction, at least 3 details and conclusion. I could really use some advice/suggestions thank you!
     
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  3. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Oct 2, 2014

    I used to do writer's workshop the way that you described. I would teach a lesson, and everyone worked on that specific skill. Usually our writing piece was tied to our social studies or science unit in some way. Everyone was working on the same project.

    This year we switched to Lucy Calkins, and I LOVE it. My classes have always seemed to enjoy writing, but this year the kids just beg me to give them more time to write. I have parents emailing me, asking what I'm doing, because their kids won't stop talking about writing. Even without the curriculum, you could still follow the format. Here what it looks like:

    10-15 minute lesson: We teach 4 units: narrative, informative, opinion, and poetry (the first 3 are taught 2 times throughout the year). The lesson focuses on a skill. For example, last week one lesson was on starting your story in an interesting way that will hook your reader.
    20-30 minutes to write: During this time they can apply the skill that I taught, or just continue to work on another piece. They just have to be working on narrative writing. Some kids have written a dozen stories, and others are only on their 3rd one.
    5-10 minute mid-workshop lesson: Usually I just reinforce/review the skill taught at the beginning.
    10-20 minutes to write
    5-10 minutes to share

    We usually have writer's workshop for 1 hour. I used to have 30 minutes a day, but I would never go back. I decided to make writing a big priority this year, and I had to take some things out of my schedule to make it work.
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Oct 2, 2014

    Mine is like DrivingPigeon described, but only half an hour, with 1 5-10 minute mini lesson and then 20 minutes to write.

    It is a challenge. I mostly don't give prompts, but my kids do much better when I do, so I am wondering whether I should continue with Lucy Calkins or move onto something with more structure. My kids hate writing and most of their writing is at least 2 years below grade level.
     
  5. TeacherBug08

    TeacherBug08 Companion

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    Oct 2, 2014

    Wow thanks for the insight. My only thing I have left to figure out is this: Do you have a chart that the kids can move to tell you what writing stage they are at? If so do you let the kids move it. My big question is this: What do you if you have some students who are not complete with a given assignment and you have to move on? Do you let them continue with that one or say sorry you will have to finish that one later?
     
  6. Magnolia

    Magnolia Rookie

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    Oct 2, 2014

    I teach kindergarten and also use Lucy Caulkins. We love it! The way it works (at least for K and 1st) is that we teach a skill and the kids use it as they write independently. There is no 'moving on' per se. Some kids are starting a new piece one day while others are on page 3 of their story, but all should be applying whatever skill was taught during the mini-lesson. Management is pretty basic once the kids have the routines down. I have anchor charts all over the place, a writing paper and pen station, and writing folder storage.
     
  7. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Oct 2, 2014

    I don't really give assignments. I teach mini-lessons and then tell them to write, usually with a focus (like a personal narrative). So, they should never have to quit a story they still want to work on. I don't track what stage they're on. I tell them they can choose whether they want to edit a piece, go back and add details, or start a new story. That's their basic assignment each day.
     
  8. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Oct 2, 2014

    That's exactly what I do. Since we don't have "projects," I don't have to worry about whether or not to move on.
     
  9. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Oct 2, 2014

    I am NO expert, but I'll chime in. I just moved to a workshop model school this year and LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

    This is what I'm trying at the moment. I have 50-55 minutes. (Times are approximate.)

    15 min: mini lesson, like what Pigeon described, focused on something they need help with as I've seen from their writing.
    15 min: time to work on the unit we're currently on by applying that skill to their writing (right now it's narrative), I'm conferring or pulling strategy groups
    15 min: creative writing in their writer's notebooks - I like to keep that piece in so they have more choice and can try all types of writing. I have several kids writing LONG stories with chapters right now!, I'm still conferring or pulling strategy groups
    5-10 min: share
     
  10. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Oct 2, 2014

    That's awesome!
     
  11. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Oct 5, 2014

    Our school plans out writing pieces that students must complete, we have about 5 weeks on average for each one. So during independent practice students are working on that piece at all times. We go through the writing process mostly together. So for example this week we're finishing editing, so all students (give or take a small few) are editing and then will publish. This piece was a response to a book students read. The next piece will be informational piece related to our social studies curriculum.
     
  12. TeacherBug08

    TeacherBug08 Companion

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    Oct 5, 2014

    Wow thank you all so much. I think our school will adopt Lucy next year. This writing curriculum we have now doesn't align very well at all with common core. I like the idea of mostly going through the writing process together. That is much more manageable. Do you go around and take notes then on who needs help in capitals, conclusions etc. and then pull those back to your back table. Any tips on being organized for small group writing?
     
  13. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Oct 5, 2014

    Students let me know when they need to conference with me. I leave them feedback about what they're doing well and what they need to improve. I write down what I told them to work on so the next time we conference I can look at if they've used my feedback to improve their work.
     
  14. MissMae

    MissMae Rookie

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    Oct 10, 2014

    My mentor, who is flipping awesome, recommended this book, which SAVED me on Writer's Workshop. I now bequeath that recommendation to you: Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide
    Fletcher, Ralph

    My actual class implementation looks like this: They have between 30-45 mins set aside for Writer's Workshop. I take up 7-10 mins for a mini-lesson on either grammar or writing conventions. Then they are set free to write. I keep track of where everybody is at (brainstorm, rough draft, edit, etc) by using a clip chart. I do conferences through-out, checking, suggesting, asking questions, guiding, selecting helpful texts, finding websites for those who are researching, etc.

    We do this everyday, and so far they like it and enjoy writing, especially when I tell them they can write about anything!

    Hope this helped!
     

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