Rules For Writing Circles

Follow the rules of Writing Circle
  • Listen
  • Be serious enough and polite enough
  • Don't interrupt by blurting out. Raise your hand.
  • Don't talk too much.
  • Make sure you say something in each meeting.
  • No put downs.
  • Don't make fun of writing or students.
  • No cell phones.
  • Stay on topic.
  • Pay attention by taking notes you can start a discussion with.
  • Don't ask to go to the washroom.

Strategies for Sharing Works-in-Progress

  • Roles must be strictly followed for the circle to work.
  • Decide what you want to share before the circle meeting.
  • You should first ask yourself some questions about your piece of writing, like "Did the opening grab the reader's attention?" Could I change the opening before I read it aloud?
  • Organize you pages so that you read what you intend. Often first drafts are messy. Perhaps you want to rewrite the section you intend to read so you will not get mixed up. Or you could highlight the part you want help with.
  • Have a pen ready to write brief notes that are suggested during circle meeting.
  • You may want to practice out loud before meeting. Find a quiet corner.
  • Choose the way you will share your writing. You may want to give each person a copy of the part you want to share. Ask the teacher to photocopy that part. Perhaps you only want to share with one other person, ask the teacher if you and a partner can form your own circle.
  • Decide before circle meeting what you really need help with so that you are not just reading randomly. Prepare by figuring out what you want to change so that someone in the circle will not comment on something you like already. In this way you remain in control.


  • The notebook may be a section in your portfolio [binder] or if you choose it may be a larger journal-style notebook where only your personal writing and musings are kept. You may keep research notes and lists on topics such as types of shoes or any other list of things you may need in the course of your writing.

  • If you are absent, writing becomes homework to be shown to the TEACHER upon your return.


  • ABOUT CIRCLE MEETINGS: Groups are negotiable. You may choose a group but I have the final say if the group stays together. You have a one week TRIAL PERIOD to prove the group works well together. I will switch groups up only if they prove to be off task during the trial. Meetings are every second or third day, only if productivity is high. That is, if all members have completed the new work or rewrote former pieces. Groups should not exceed five. You must set times and use a group tracking sheet for meetings.

  • Twice a week you will get into your writing circles and use the reviewer feedback forms to critique several members of the group. The student wishing to be critiqued must fill in a form  to present to your group during meeting. The students who are critiquing must fill in this feedback form.

  • You will keep all rough drafts, peer comments, revised copies and good copies in this your notebook section of your portfolio. Some days you may write only a brief note or simply the title of a piece of writing. However, you need to read if you cannot write something on that day. When you begin to write that day your writing may go nowhere and you have to leave it alone and begin a new piece. In this instance you would write in your log, incomplete and then record the same date and the new piece of writing.

  • Once a cycle, [every day six]  you will choose a piece of writing to revise, proofread and, add sensory/figurative language. This writing will be marked for: creativity, style and mechanical/grammatical correctness. It must be one page and should be typed. You can e-mail it to me if you are out of ink! 20%each. I would rather a typed copy over a hand-written one.

  • You should have no more than five of these good copies in the seven week time frame.