Writer's Workshop

What I do Overview



Workshop Overview



The purpose of this workshop is to provide educators with a few ideas that have worked in my classroom. I hope you find the information helpful and useful while following writing instruction that focuses on the writing process. All lessons follow this process of prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and final publication. I have incorporated the learning outcomes framework for Language Arts as recommended by the Department of Education.

Class Management 

Teachers who establish 'rules of engagement' early in the workshop will have good success with students staying on task. Positive reinforcement often works much better than threatening or cajoling students into better writing habits.

The changing teacher's role in writing workshop often leads to students who are willing to risk telling their narratives. Teachers also should take a risk and write something to share with students. I found this often helped reluctant writers to share and attempt to write.


One last part of my purpose. Spelling. Love -hate relationship. When students first begin to write, I concentrate on what's good in their writing. I always get them to read it to me first. I tell them I don't want to concentrate on the grammar, this way I can hear if the writing is coherent. From this oral I help them work on the organization, voice, content, word choice and sentence fluency, leaving proofreading, revising and editing until last.


[I have a six day cycle- sixty to seventy minutes per day]

My Workshop - One Six Day Cycle

Mini-lesson Day1: First Day Print out Rules and Expectations for students. Talk about what good writer's do. Hand out this print copy of Writer's Handbook. Give one to each student.





Mini-lesson Day2: Students should make a section in their portfolio called Write Space. Next I run off the sheet for daily log. This is kept at the beginning of this Write Space section. Here is where students actually record what they plan to write each day of writing workshop. On a new sheet of paper I have students  decorate "WRITING TERRITORIES"  at the top of the page. This is where I teach about writing territories. I hand out the example sheet from Nancie Atwell's binder [or Print Copy ] and we discuss what these are.  Students begin jotting down a few writing territories.

Students use a divider in the Write Space section for Quick Writes.

Keeping a quick write section. Make this and hand out some of the prompts. Some days students write about their own topics and other days students will use the prompts. Explain these will be done as soon as they get to class. Sometimes they will be timed. But they begin writing as soon after they sit as they can. Do a six minute quick write. They do not stop writing during the six minutes.

Buy a small notebook to carry around with them. This often is a big hit with junior high. They get to share this at intervals during the workshop.

Mini-Lesson Day 3: Ten Minute Quick Write. Go over Group Behavior Guidelines. Have students write at least two more things on their Writing Territories Sheet. I hand out information and discuss Memoir writing.
  Mini-lesson Day 4: I begin with a quick write 10 minutes: Today is an independent day. However I began memoir writing yesterday so today they will begin their rough draft and finish it for homework. [Note: Students will do three or four independent rough drafts over the next few weeks but will only proofread, edit, peer edit, teacher conference one of these and redo a good draft. They will type it and hand it in to be marked.]
  Min-Lesson Day 5: Begin with ten minute quick write. Begin the lesson on Voice. You can pick and choose what you want to do from this page of ideas.
Mini-lesson Day 6: Quick Write for ten minuets. Today's class in split in half. I have students share/edit the memoir with a classmate. Peers give suggestions and fill in a sheet. Each partner keeps their sheet next to the memoir. If that is the one they will choose for good draft, then they must use the suggestions from classmates.

The second half of class I have students look over their territory list and begin a piece of their own writing.



  More Mini Lessons here.

Expository writing explained here.

  The teacher supports the writer through conferencing and by addressing the needs of the writer. Students get to practice strategy lessons that the teacher has taught.
  Students practice writing with whole group or partners and learn to use the peer edit form and six traits revision checklist
  Teach students to shape pieces of writing through peer conferencing.
Through whole group discussions, students practice the writing strategy and have a correct model to follow.
  Teacher's support writing by modeling, through   'Writing' thinkalouds  which draw attention to the author's style, tone, and general attitude of writing. Teachers could develop lessons that demonstrate How the author thought as he/she wrote or to point out How she/he would not have valued a certain way of thinking.

Revisit conventions of writing often, display them around the room! Print off slide 19 for the activity.

Using Technology to support Revision.