Writers' Workshop can be intimidating to many. When you build a classroom community that embraces uniqueness, writers workshop will become a time when writers can express themselves freely.
Writers' workshop encompasses your minilesson, your independent writing and guided writing instruction. It’s just what it’s called…a workshop of budding writers working on improving their writing craft.
readers' workshop, writing is typically a 60-minute block of time: 10-14 minutes for minilesson, 40-45 minutes of conferring with readers during independent writing and guided writing groups, and a 5-minute share time at the end.
I've also seen classrooms that run writing workshop in a 45 minute time block where the independent writing and small group time is shortened to about 30 minutes. Both situations were highly successful. Anything less than that time is going to be difficult for students to have a minilesson and practice the work in their notebooks.
Building a Community of Writers
Just as we build a community of readers in reading we must do the same in Writing. We have to share the kind of writer we are so students will feel comfortable sharing about their writing lives.
Every teacher should keep their own writers notebook. When you share your personal work (and struggles) in writing, your little (or big) writers will be more willing to take risks!
They will see you as a writer and know they are not alone in the journey of improving their writing craft.
Launching Writer's Workshop
Launching Writers Workshop starts with lots of storytelling and idea generating. Students need to know and understand that they have great stories to tell and write. We start by talking about how focusing on writing about tiny, ordinary moments can make fantastic stories.
Students need to know that they don't have to have big moments like exotic vacations or the birth of a baby brother or sister to write about. They can write about any ordinary, every day thing and it can be crafted into an exciting story.
Different strategies to try out are Ralph Fletcher's Map the Neighborhood or Lucy Calkin's, list making of 3 tiny moments spent with a person in your life or a special place of yours. When you map your neighborhood, you will be reminded of moments you shared with others or had in some of the places on your map.
When you make of a person list, you have to think of small moments you shared with that person.
Another strategy is creating a heart map; drawing or writing short snippets about all the things that you love. See the examples from my notebook that I've shared with my students.
It's important that writers are taken through the writing process during first few weeks of school. Writers must understand the process of writing how a piece will develop over time.
As writers write through the the first couple of weeks of school they will be discovering themselves as writers within their notebooks.
You will see their writer's notebook become a valued treasure throughout the school year as they grow and evolve as writers and the classroom community building into something wonderful!
Be sure to check out the product available below.
Until next time...
Check out the this product that will help launch Writer's Workshop. Minilessons and printables are included for activities and strategies shared launching a successful writer's workshop.
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