Writer's Workshop

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by legoofy, May 16, 2009.

  1. legoofy

    legoofy Rookie

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    May 16, 2009

    I am planning on doing more with writer's workshop next year and wondered if this is typically done everyday in the classroom and for how long?
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    May 16, 2009

    Do you have any of the books on it? They help a great deal.

    The program is used daily. There is usually a 15 minute or so mini-lesson, journal writing for an extended time (you might have to work up to 20 minutes or so for first grade), then sharing.
     
  4. tgi1515

    tgi1515 Comrade

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    May 24, 2009

    Whew, this ended up being long... sorry (Can you tell I loved WW?)

    When I did WW, I had 20 minutes between specials and lunch. Since it didn't seem to be enough time for anything else except DEAR time (which was impossible for the group I started with.. I had more of a T1 class) or a bathroom break, I started WW.

    I did a 5 minute "mini" lesson (or review) every day. (ex. There's ALWAYS a capital at the beginning of a sentence.... There's ALWAYS a space between words... There's ALWAYS a "stop sign" at the end of a sentence to tell you to stop reading... Later in the year... Did you use descriptive words? Did you answer the reader's questions? etc.) I had a poster that would write our new lesson on each time I introduced something new. It was left hanging all year so they could review it. I think it ended up with 5 or 6 main points... (including... Is your name on it?:dizzy:)

    I would use an overhead projector to "model" what I wanted them to do. (I started out with one or two sentences and built on that until we were writing over a page or two at the end of the year.) They ALWAYS wrote about themselves or something they wanted to write about. I NEVER gave them a writing prompt.. although I sometimes gave them some suggestions.... if they were stuck.

    Every month I added a "mini" word wall on a piece of art paper (in a cute shape) for whatever season or holiday was current (Fall, Halloween, Community Helpers, etc.) Old ones were posted high up near the ceilings, out of the way. One of the things that irritated me was the constant "HOW DO YOU SPELL ____?" even though we used inventive spelling. At first they couldn't do the long words. That's why I had lots of picture dictionaries and word walls.

    Right after lunch and recess we would come back into the room and have "Writer's Spotlight". After I checked to see who's work was ready (gone through all the steps of revision and illustrating)... I would turn off all the lights and 3 students got to stand in front of the overhead projector light and read what they wrote and showed their illustrations. I allowed 3 students since we only had about 15 minutes to do this. I also allowed 2 or 3 students to raise their hands to make "nice comments" about the author's work. "I like your picture", "I like the spaces between your words", "I like the periods at the end of your sentences". After each student was finished I always made 2 comments. One complementing them and one "Next time I would like you to..." comment. It was usually... add at least one more sentence to your story, use more descriptive words (adjectives), or to remind them of a mini-lesson we'd had in the past (the word I is always a capital, etc.)

    I kept track of who shared so that I could make sure everyone got to share... even the most timid would do this since it wasn't threatening. When they finished reading and listening to comments, the masterpiece was then "3-hole punched" by me and put in their "Writing Workshop" folder to take home at the end of the year. I had them out when we had Parent Teacher conferences or if I had a parent activity in the room. They loved looking at their WW folders to see how much they accomplished over the year.

    The best letter I ever got was from one of these students that next summer. It was 2 pages long and told me more than I ever wanted to know. I still have it, 4 years later. :wub:

    If I were still teaching 1st, I would probably add in some "book making" activities, too. (Especially for fast finishers.) I love the book "Already Ready" by Katie Wood Ray. (There's a book group thread for it on AtoZ) Although, it's written with Pre-K and K in mind, I think beginning writers in 1st grade would love making their own books.

    There's lots of books and references for you, but here's a couple of web sites you might get some info from...
    http://clerccenter.gallaudet.edu/Cl...iteracy-It_All_Connects/Writers_Workshop.html I used this one... even tho the site is for Deaf Education... although I did my own steps to fit into the time I had. (I wish I'd had the opportunity to follow all their steps...) They also have some suggested books too.

    http://www.teachersfirst.com/lessons/writers/index.html This one is a little more "basic".

    Good luck.... I loved WW even though it was a lot of extra work, I hope you will too.:hugs:
     
  5. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    May 25, 2009

    I start by using it every single day to get the kids used to the routine of it. After about a month I go to using it 4 days a week most weeks because I try top incorporate a reading response writing activity at least once a week.
     
  6. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    May 25, 2009

    Writing Workshop should be done EVERYDAY!!! I think some teachers have difficulty with the success of WW because they skip days, don't implement it consistently or don't take the time to nurture the kids with the program. WW usually involves a minilesson on some strategy or writer's craft you want to teach them. So for example, minilessons could be on: revising to add details, adding dialogue to stories, using an editing checklist for convention work, stories with strong beginnings, stories with strong endings, writing small moment narratives by picking a seed moment from our lives, writing a realistic fiction story with a problem & solution etc.
    After the minilesson, students should be given at least 30 minutes to write (30min.+15min. with minilesson = 45 min.) Primary students can write using primary writing paper and store them in a folder or some students in 3-8 grades use composition notebooks. At the end of WW, students need time to share either whole group or partners can share their writing with each other. The reason why share is so important is because writers can be complimented on the great work they did and also to maybe give the other writer ideas on some great things they can do with their writing. Maybe Child A used dialogue in her story which made the story more interesting, Child B may not have used dialogue today, but surely she can add dialogue to her writing tomorrow.
    The consistency of knowing WW will occur everyday helps with the management of it all and helps writers to be more accountable and successful.
     
  7. Iteachtwo

    Iteachtwo Companion

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    May 25, 2009

    In our district, we use Lucy Calkins. As a reading coach/specialist, I recommend that classroom teachers implement it everyday for a minimum of 45 minutes. This workshop format includes a mini-lesson, writing, and sharing. During writing, the teachers are asked to confer or work with a small group. At the end, they can have a student share or review the skill/concept that was the focus of the earlier mini-lesson.
     
  8. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    May 25, 2009

    Great thread! I've been thinking about WW myself. I have done WW for the past 2 years with my 3rd graders...I love WW! But I know my 3rd graders can write stories over several days- do most 1st graders write one or more stories a day and then pick some to revise and publish after a while?

    Do you start your WW lessons with having them write a sentence or two (or as much as they can) and draw a picture?
     
  9. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    May 25, 2009

    My school is a TC school and we adopt the Lucy Calkins Units of study as well. I feel so lucky to have this reading & writing program i our school because I see how writers soar and grow from the beginning of the year to the end.
     
  10. taryn_liz

    taryn_liz Rookie

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    May 31, 2009

    I want to implement WW in my class next year, but have only seen it done in a 3rd grade class. Do they mainly write a new story every day and then share? In the class I observed (3rd grade), they wrote the story, than illustrated it, then put a cover/back on it. When all that was done, they read it to the class. Different students would be at different stages of writing, so there were some days some read, and other's no one did because their book wasn't complete. I like the idea, but wasn't sure if it would be possible in 1st?
     
  11. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    May 31, 2009

    Leigh- I know when I ST in 1st grade , she really couldnt even start a WW untill almost Oct or Nov, Handwriting was used as a prep for writing then built into writing a sentance. I started them with one sentance and then they had to write a second sentance on thier own. I like to go to the zoo. I like to see the....., they love finishing the sentances. When I went back to visit they were writing a paragraph! wow!!


    I am hoping for a 3rd grade position and if I get it I will need your input on 3rd grade WW!!
     
  12. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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  13. nattles19

    nattles19 Comrade

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    May 31, 2009

    Some students may share part of what they are in the process of working on. That way they can get feedback for revision.
     
  14. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Jun 1, 2009

    Leigh, my kids work on books for a week if they are publishing them.

    My writer's workshop is one hour, from 10am to 11 am. I do it everyday and sometimes my kids choose it for their free time. There are times when I have to move it to the afternoon but we still do it.

    I teach first grade. I started WW the 2nd day of school but it looked different then. Initially, my mini lessons were about coming to the carpet properly, raising hands, our writing folders, what was a polished piece of writing, how to use the interactive writing wall bulletin board etc.

    Some things were constant throughout the year. I read a book every day and have some sort of mini lesson 95% of the time. I excuse them the same way everyday. I have creative pieces of writing paper and various books for them to use. By books, I mean blank pieces of paper, or lined paper with picture boxes on top stapled together in some fashion. They get eye to eye and knee to knee to share at the end of WW (need to be more consistant with this next year) and I conference while they write. I have a "focus of the week" and "juicy words to try" (four of them) and I have these on my writing wall. If students use these words they can sign their name on the wall. I change them out each week.

    There is a writing wall with expert work and where students move their magnets so I know which stage of the writing process they are on. That way I can glance up at the wall and see who is ready to conference.

    We incorporate the six traits of writing so after we went through procedures and what the writing process is (did a class book for this) I began the six traits one at a time with appropriate mentor books.

    I agree that WW should be at least 45 minutes and every day. I also believe they should not be given prompts. Save that for another time if you feel strongly about it. Model, model, model.

    Rarely do we use journals for WW in first grade.
     
  15. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Jun 1, 2009

    We added a unit to our WW plans. We also use the Calkins Units of Study but felt the need for a story telling unit in the first weeks of school. We believe good writers are good story tellers and we begin with just an oral story, then a picture and telling a story that goes with it. And the plans are more detailed and it lasts the first 2 weeks of school, then we get into the Launching Writer's Workshop from Calkins.
     
  16. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Jun 1, 2009

    Thanks Lemon...you rock :D
     

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