Writing Workshop / Stamina

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by otterpop, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jan 8, 2016

    For those of you who follow a writing workshop model...

    How do you get kids to understand they need to write the whole time? I think that most of my kids are used to prompts, which is not how workshop works. I give them a "job" for the day, and they're supposed to be doing that and then doing whatever else they need/want to work on (we talk about their options). I tell them I have two rules: work quietly, and write the whole time. However, I still have about 1/4 of the class who wants to tell me "I'm done" in the middle of writing time. Any suggestions? Will this fix itself with time?
     
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  3. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Jan 8, 2016

    I have had some problems with this too in 4th grade. Recently I have had to attach a small grade to their core writing (opinion writing - 5 paragraphs) just to make sure that they work on it for a good length of time.
     
  4. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Jan 8, 2016

    My time is broken up oddly, so I don't perhaps have the same exact kind of model, but how much time are you spending with the "writing the whole time"? I have been having similar struggles with focus, but the past couple days, when I gave them a specific time frame (you'll be planning/drafting/revising for 15 minutes, then we'll break for 5 minutes to meet with writing partners to discuss areas you'd like to get some feedback on, then go back to writing for another 15 minutes), that they've done better the past couple days. I think it also helped them realize that they can keep working without feeling the need to stop and wait to ask me a question - knowing they'd have time to discuss trouble spots. We also started talking at the end of the time about how much they were able to accomplish, trying to positively reward those who made progress (as many were going rather sluggishly and/or focusing too much on perfection with an initial plan/draft). This seemed to also excite them and they seemed so much more driven, as they would have the opportunity to share what they did. That internal motivation, I think, is so very important.

    (That being said, I'm a second full-year teacher...so take it with a grain of salt!)
     
  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I always start the year by reading "Ralph Writes a Story". It's a lovely picture book about a boy named Ralph who struggles to write during writing time. It's a hit every year!

    Then I train for stamina, similar to the Daily 5. I do mini lessons on generating ideas, writing the whole time, what writer's workshop looks like, sounds like, etc. and then I let them loose. I sit at the conferencing table while they all write. As soon as 1 person is off task I ring the chimes (my signal that writing time is over), everyone cleans up and we all gather at the carpet to talk about what went well, what needs to improve. Lather, rinse, repeat until everyone is on task for the desired length of time and I can actually start conferencing. (In grade 1 and 2 this took a while, but they could do it in the end, and all that training was SO worth it!)
     
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  6. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Thank you! Would this book be appropriate for older kids - not too babyish?

    I have done Daily 5 before and this is what I was thinking, too. I don't have a carpet area, although I wish I did! But this would work in our classroom I think.
     
  7. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    My mini lesson is usually 10 minutes (includes model text read aloud), they write for 15 minutes, and then choose 2 people to share to the whole class for 5 minutes. I'd like to spend more time on the writing but we just don't have it available in the schedule. I've noticed, though, that the sharing is a huge area of motivation for them. I think it's a good idea to let them discuss their writing with classmates. Maybe, sometimes, instead of sharing with the class, they can all turn and talk to a partner.
     
  8. MissMae

    MissMae Rookie

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    Jan 9, 2016

    I really think it depends on the class. Last year my students could write for an hour straight and beg for more time or cry if we didn't get to it, and ask of they could work on writing for early finishers.

    My class this year is a whole different story. They can write for maybe 35-40 minutes before they get tired. They don't really want to do extra work on it. half the class understands the skills I teach during mini-lessons, and the other half is clueless.

    I set my expectations that each lesson builds on the same project, that each skill is like a clue to help them complete their writing. They need to be either writing the whole time, or making lists showing their thinking. I also tell them they cannot come tell me in 5 minutes they are done because that tells me they didn't try. Before they show me they need to check that they have complete sentences with capital letter and punctuation (Yes, in 3rd grade I have LOTS still forgetting this!)

    Again, depending on the class it will either get better or stay the same.
     
  9. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I believe a picture book works at any grade level. Older kids will probably recognize themselves in Ralph quicker than my grade 1s and 2s.
     
  10. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I once made a chart of all the things one can do during writing time. Worked great.
     
  11. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    That's a good idea too. While most of my kids hear me, for some of them, I feel like my words go in one ear, out the other. :rolleyes: I like to be able to point to things when they ask me questions about things I've already explained.
     
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  12. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I did this, and coupled with just more time in our routine, I had far fewer kids telling me they're done in the middle of WW. Hopefully they keep improving. Now I just have a couple who struggle with the "I don't know what to write" problem.
     

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