Writer's Workshop

Discussion in 'Fourth Grade' started by MrsCSoup, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. MrsCSoup

    MrsCSoup Rookie

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    Feb 2, 2010

    Hi! I am really, really struggling with trying to implement "Writer's Workshop" in my classroom. I have a hard time coming up with mini-lessons every day. Does anyone have any words of wisdom/experience that will help me on this?
    I attended a workshop over the summer and left feeling confused but ready to give it a try. I tried to put it in place, but fell back into my bad habits (giving the kids a prompt). I am frustrated with myself and am at the point of scrapping it for this year and starting over next year. I have NO PLAN! AAAGGGGHHHH!
     
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  3. ktshafra

    ktshafra Rookie

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    Feb 2, 2010

    My teaching partner does Writer's Workshop in my class twice a week while I teach Science in her class. She has six stories students write throughout the year (building on the 6-trait writing program). I really like the way they work through the traits and their stories are built. The first lesson of a new story is typically the introduction to the topic and some brainstorming. For example, they've just started their "Messy Room" story, so students used a five-senses chart to imagine their messy room. She explains the structure of the story, then students begin writing their first draft. Students are required to have three drafts. After each draft, they have three students CB (corrected by) their work before they rewrite the next draft. The third draft is not CB'd, but instead typed and submitted (with all drafts) for the teacher to correct. Once corrected, the student writes the final draft.

    I feel that students need a prompt. They need boundaries for their ideas, yet freedom to develop their own ideas within the boundaries (if that makes sense).

    I hope this helped! Don't give up, you'll create some great writers this year! :)
     
  4. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Feb 2, 2010

    There are tons of resources out there for mini-lessons. I have books that are titled "Ten lessons for ...." etc. There are also web sites with mini-lessons. Don't give up. The kids really enjoy writing in my class. I have a prompt board they can use, a notebook of prompts, posters and pictures to inspire an idea, and of course, they are free to write sequels or diary entries. But I also assign topics every once in awhile and see what shakes out of the students. My group of seven, who struggle with language, are getting an assigned prompt tomorrow about things they like to do on the weekend. (informational) I find that they prefer a bit more structure. Most of the other ones come in, grab their folders, and start writing while they are waiting for the mini-lesson.
     
  5. Little Monster

    Little Monster Rookie

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    May 31, 2010

    Have you tried Lucy Calkins Units of Study? I have heard great things about this program... I hear that there are pre-made plans for every day throughout the year. But remember, a mini-lesson can be about writing names on the page, or reminding kids how to staple their work together. Think of mini-lessons as the lessons that your kids need when they need them.

    A good example would be the birthday story:
    ----
    "My son had his birthday last weekend and he really, really, really wanted a new video game. When he saw a great big box wrapped up nice and pretty he was so excited. He unwrapped the big box only to find another box inside! He unwrapped that box and found another, then another, then another! Finally he gets down to a box that is only yay big (hold hands out in about a 1'x1' dimension). Excitedly he tore into that last present and pulled out the tissue paper and.... UNDERWEAR! He went through all of the excitement of unwrapping something knowing that it was going to be great only to be disappointing. Sometimes that's how I feel when I read your stories; I see a great story that leads me on and on and on and I am thrilled and happy and excited for a spectacular ending, but when I get to the end... UNDERWEAR! Man do I feel BUMMED when that happens! When you are writing be sure to leave that big present for your reader... no one wants underwear!
    ----

    That is a mini-lesson. No bells and whistles, no grammar rules... but the kids WILL take something from that and from now on whenever you conference with your kids you can always ask them, are you going to end this story with a great ending, or with underwear?

    Anecdotes are great for mini-lessons.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jun 1, 2010

    I'm going to borrow your story, Little Monster. My students are in the midst of their final writing assignment for the year and I DON'T want underwear!
     
  7. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Jun 1, 2010

    I started writer's workshop in May! I have been assigning writing projects, teaching students the structure of specific types of writing (i.e. fairy tales, reports, poems, etc.). Now that they have some tools they are writing stories indepedently... no prompts. I was VERY nervous and quite convinced that a few would write nothing at all in the months of May & June. However, they are SO excited to write about whatever they want, you could hear a pin drop in my room during writer's workshop. They CHEER when I say it's time to work on their writing. They are ALL writing.

    For mini-lessons, I am doing them based on the posters I have about the traits of writing and using a trait based warm up book. I also do it on what I am seeing in their writing.
     
  8. Braydon's Mom

    Braydon's Mom Rookie

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    Jul 15, 2010

    Love this! I'm gonna borrow this one!!! That is really one of the harder things to teach in writing. I use the analogy about the mountain. Building the reader up with lots of great details, and awesome climax/turning point, then throwing the reader off the mountain just isn't good! :)
     
  9. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Jul 16, 2010

  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 16, 2010

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