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Writing Workshop in a First Grade Classroom - How We Plan Our Stories
Writing Workshop in a First Grade Classroom - How We Plan Our Stories Director’s Cut
The teacher introduces her class to a new strategy they can use to help them plan out the events of their stories before they start writing
This version of the How We Plan Our Stories lesson for additional "look fors" and tips.
Writing Workshop is an instructional practice designed to help children become confident and capable writers. During Writing Workshop, children have time to work independently and with their peers. They engage in the writing process by selecting topics, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing their original work. They receive explicit instruction in the craft of writing from exploring genre, to organizing their pieces, to word choice, style, and mechanics.
The workshop structure encourages children to think of themselves as writers and take their writing seriously. It gives children the skills to express their important thoughts and celebrates the fact that their stories and ideas matter and are worth expressing.
What is Writing Workshop?
Writing Workshop is an organizational framework for teaching writing. The framework consists of three components: the mini-lesson, work time, and share time . The Writing Workshop structure is an efficient and effective way to deliver writing instruction to meet the needs of all learners.
Each Writing Workshop session begins with a mini-lesson, during which you explicitly teach the children a specific writing skill or strategy over the course of five to 15 minutes. Use the mini-lesson to address the writing needs of your children as determined by your curriculum, state and local standards, and most importantly, formative assessment. Your conference notes and the children’s writing help you identify a primary literacy objective for the mini-lesson. During the mini-lesson, explain what you are teaching and how it will help the children become better writers. Model and demonstrate the use of the skill or strategy, thinking aloud throughout the process. Give the children a chance to try out the skill or strategy right there on the carpet.
The mini-lesson is immediately followed by work time, the component that is the heart of Writing Workshop and occupies its largest block of time. During work time, the children write – both independently and with partners. They apply what they’ve learned from the current and past mini-lessons to their writing. It is during work time that you can differentiate your writing instruction. To do this, conduct one-to-one writing conferences with children, taking careful notes throughout each conference. You might also work with small groups of children who have similar instructional needs in writing. Increase the amount of writing time as the children’s stamina increases.
Share time comes at the end of the workshop. During share time, two or three children share their writing with the class. Writing deserves an audience, and share time is one of the ways to provide it. The “authors” might show how they’ve applied the day’s mini lesson to their own writing. They might show what they’ve learned about writing or about themselves as writers. Usually only a few sentences will be shared, but sometimes a child will share a completed piece of writing. Share time is motivating for the children, and it provides peer models for them.
Why Writing Workshop?
Being a capable, confident writer is a necessary skill for children to be successful in school and in life. As they progress through the grades, they’ll need to write summaries, reports, critiques, and essays. To be functioning adults, they’ll need to write in both their working lives (e.g., letters, memoranda, and reports) and their daily lives outside of the workplace (e.g., shopping lists, emails, and notes). Through daily writing in a workshop, children can learn to effectively communicate in writing.
Writing Workshop is uniquely structured to help children develop positive attitudes about writing and progress as writers. Through writing, children have voice and agency – a way to express their ideas. This can be a deep source of satisfaction. The Writing Workshop structure provides manageable amounts of direct, explicit instruction that meets the developmental needs of our K-3 children: a lot of support, targeted feedback, and an audience for the children’s writing. Most importantly, the Writing Workshop gives children plenty of writing time. Children can only grow as writers if they have repeated practice and opportunities to write independently.
Children are often eager to express their thoughts, ideas, and experiences. Sharing what we know and telling stories is an important part of learning and living in a community. Writing provides a suitable venue for children to share their thinking and ideas. As an additional bonus, writing helps children make sense of, clarify, and develop new learning and thinking. Our carefully planned lessons can facilitate children’s ability to have the voice that they crave. In a Writing Workshop, unlike in settings where K-3 children often copy the teacher’s writing, the children are the authors.
Finally, audience is a critical component of writing. That is, writing is meant to be read. An audience is often found for some of the children during work time, when pairs or small groups of children will read their writing to each other. But most of all, this is the primary focus of share time, the final component of the Writing Workshop. Each day during share time, two to three children have an opportunity to sit in the “author’s chair” and share what they’ve written with others. In classrooms not using the workshop model, the teacher is often the only one who is an audience for writing, sharply reducing the opportunities for children to read their writing to others. This turns writing into a “written assignment” rather than a true mode of communication.
Writing and Reading Connection
Writing and reading are reciprocal processes: reading affects writing, and writing affects reading.
When children read a lot, they become better writers. Each reading experience represents another encounter with writing, which builds knowledge of writing and helps children to understand what good writing looks like and sounds like. This in turn helps to make them more critical readers of their own writing. Reading books across genres helps children learn story grammar, narrative structures, and informational text structures. Then they apply this knowledge to their own writing. Favorite books that are read and reread become mentors for children’s writing.
Writing helps to build and develop reading skills. Our kindergarten and first grade children are actively involved in developing phonemic awareness and phonics skills. When they are working through the spelling of a word during their writing, often using developmental spelling, they are actively applying phonics skills. This has a powerful impact and is much more effective than isolated practice using worksheets. When children access the word wall to use a high frequency word in their writing, they are getting additional exposure to the word. The act of writing the word, which gets reinforced when they encounter it again while rereading their writing, helps the word become part of their sight word vocabulary.
Leverage the reading-writing connection in your read alouds, Reading and Writing Workshop mini-lessons, and shared writing. During read alouds, make a point of talking about the author’s craft and the characteristics of different genres. Draw children’s attention to word choice, style, and the structure of different texts you read and create together. Gradually build anchor charts to capture what you are discovering about writing together and connect the ideas you are learning about to children’s own writing. Highlight the efforts of children who are experimenting with different writing styles and genres during share time.
Find books to use in your mini-lessons to support children’s instructional needs in writing. For example, if your children are ready for a lesson in punctuation, read Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka. If the children are overusing the same words in their writing, read aloud Come On Rain! by Karen Hesse. Explicitly teach children to chunk words for both reading and writing by using a book like One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root.
Collaboratively write a text with the children using the shared writing approach. You are doing the actual writing, but the children are contributing ideas and “helping” with the spelling and conventions to the extent of their abilities. Shared writing produces readable text for all children. Display the text of your completed shared writing lesson and encourage the children to read it when they “read the room.”
Different Types of Writing Instruction
The components of a balanced writing program include modeled writing, shared or interactive writing, guided writing, and independent writing. These four components are based on the principal of the gradual release of responsibility developed by Pearson and Gallagher in 1993.
During modeled writing, you are demonstrating how writing works. You write in front of the children, thinking aloud throughout the entire process. Be sure that all the children can see the writing. Modeled writing is likely to occur in mini-lessons and, of course, Message Time Plus. Shared writing is a practice in which the teacher and the children share the responsibility for writing a text. The children’s role is to verbalize the ideas in the text and to contribute to the spelling and writing conventions to the extent of their abilities. The teacher holds the pen and does the physical writing. The writing is usually done on chart paper and written large enough for all the children to see. The level of child responsibility in shared writing can be increased by employing interactive writing instead. Interactive writing follows the same structure as shared writing, except that the children and the teacher “share the pen.” The teacher selects individual children to come up to write a word or even a letter in the message. When shared writing or interactive writing is completed, the teacher and children usually do a shared reading of the text.
Guided writing is a notable shift in teacher/child responsibility. In guided writing, the child “holds the pen” and is responsible for doing all of the writing. The teacher’s role is that of support. Teachers coach, scaffold, and support children while they are writing. Guided writing usually occurs during one-on-one writing conferences and small group writing sessions.
Finally, independent writing is when children apply all of the important lessons that we have taught them to their own writing. The teacher’s role in independent writing is just to supply time and resources for writing. Independent writing occurs during the work time component of Writing Workshop, in class writing centers, and during journal writing.
Reflect on Your Writing Workshop
Like any instructional practice, Writing Workshop will benefit from your reflection. Take some time to think about your current writing instruction. What are you doing that is effective? Where do you want to improve your practice?
Reflect on your Writing Workshop
Use this printable version to reflect on your current practice.
Frequently Asked Questions
My children don’t like to go back and revise their work. how do i help them improve their pieces.
Children who can write narratives with beginnings, middles, and ends (transitional writers) are ready to add revision to their writing process. Make sure children understand the difference between editing and revision. Explain that editing is about making sure a reader can understand the piece by reviewing the mechanics and conventions. Revising is about making a good piece of writing even stronger. Devote a number of mini-lessons to revision. Through shared writing, co-create a text. Spend two or three sessions revising it (better opener, vivid verbs, awesome adjectives, no tired words, etc.). Compare the first draft to the finished piece. Try devoting one workshop session a week to revision (Revision Wednesday?). For share time, pre-select children who made a special effort to revise their writing. Have them share the “before” and “after” of their pieces.
I model my writing for my children, and then they just copy what I wrote. How can I help them come up with their own ideas?
It’s normal for children to copy writing. It’s part of how they learn! As they gain confidence in their own abilities, and become eager to share their own ideas, they will branch out from the “safety” of copying. You can help children gain confidence by celebrating children’s attempts, showing interest in their lives, and encouraging them to use their own invented spelling.
You can also help children by having them brainstorm a list of topics and display it, so the children can refer to the list. Have the children “turn and talk” to tell their partners what they plan to write. Ask the children who exhibit exceptional difficulty coming up with ideas to stay on the rug for an extra minute or two. Check in with each of the children to make sure they have decided upon an idea. You might even ask them to tell the first sentence of their piece.
How does spelling and grammar instruction fit into Writing Workshop?
Writing Workshop lends itself to the teaching of spelling and grammar because these lessons are taught within the context of actual writing for an authentic purpose rather than through isolated skill practice. Identify which lessons your children need by examining their writing. Then teach mini-lessons to target and address the children’s instructional needs. Co-create anchor charts with the children to help them remember high utility grammar and spelling strategies and concepts. Teach children to use the resources in the room to check their spelling.
My children are still working on forming letters and writing their names. Can I still do Writing Workshop?
Absolutely! It sounds like your children are in the pre-emergent and emergent stages of writing. One of the things that helps them to grow as writers is many experiences with writing. In your mini-lessons and your daily Message Time Plus lessons, explicitly teach lessons like directionality, word boundaries, and matching sounds with symbols. Be sure to have individual-sized alphabet charts for the children to refer to while they are writing. Encourage them to draw a picture and label it. Many children will start out by labeling their picture with a single letter, but their labels will become more advanced over time. Have one-on-one conferences to zero in on individual needs. Don’t forget share time, an opportunity for the children to show each other what they have accomplished.
Do I need to review and grade everything that my children produce?
Looking at children’s writing is going to give you the information that you need to provide targeted instruction. So, although you don’t need to grade everything, you really do have to find a way to see as much of their writing as you can. Consider providing each child with a writing folder. Have the children keep all of their writing from Writing Workshop in their folders. Create a schedule that allows you to examine writing folders at regular intervals. The number of papers in a folder indicates the volume of writing that the child is producing. Select one piece to assess with a rubric. Be sure to share the rubric with the children, so they will know how they are being assessed. Using this method, you should be able to assess one piece of writing a week for each child. That is usually enough to document the children’s growth over time. You can also try asking the children to select one piece from their writing folders to submit for assessment. Clear out the writing folders after each unit or once a month. Make sure to preserve the pieces that you assessed with the rubric.
How do I manage independent writing time so that everyone is “on task”?
To ensure a productive independent writing time, the children must know the routines and procedures of Writing Workshop. Teach procedural lessons, practice and rehearse, and co-create anchor charts. Resist attempting conferences or convening small writing groups until the children know the routines. You must also be aware of the children’s stamina for writing. This is simple to assess. Have them write, and note the starting time. When they become distracted, begin looking around, or start asking to go to the drinking fountain, they’ve reached their limit. Note how long they were able to write. Be assured that their stamina will increase over time. Nevertheless, the amount of time you allocate for independent writing must always be appropriate for their current level of stamina for writing. Walk around between conferences to be aware of what is happening. Make adjustments and offer options for children who need extra support. Finally, have the children self-assess and make goals or plans for improving their productivity during independent writing time.
What do I do with children when I meet with them one-on-one in a writing conference?
The architecture of the writing conference is research, decide, compliment, teach (Calkins, 2006). During the research part of the conference, you will need to find out what the writer needs. This can be discovered by having the child read their writing to you and have a conversation with the child. Then find something to compliment (i.e., point out something that the child is doing well) and decide what you are going to teach. Remember to teach only one thing. Try to find a concept that the child has partially mastered, and teach that concept. Close the conference by reiterating the teaching point and linking it to the child’s ongoing work.
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I need morning messages for kindergarten please.
It is really a great way to interact with the children and share what we think about the stories…..The workshop structure encourages children to think of themselves as writers and take their writing seriously. It gives children the skills to express their important thoughts and celebrates the fact that their stories and ideas matter and are worth expressing. This is so true and I enjoyed using these methods to help me to teach them…..Thank you so much Cli3 and my coaches for their instruction and hard work to help our school, community and class!
I teach Language Arts/Writing to EVERY student in our K-6 school (including ELL and SPED) and I am constricted to only one 40 minute period every 4 days with each classroom. I am seeking ways to most effectively implement the philosophies outlined in the CLI research which will best serve the students I teach. I am open to suggestions. I am also interested to see if anyone else has a position such as mine. Thanks so much.
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Reading Wonders Reading/Writing Workshop Grade 6 (ELEMENTARY CORE READING) 1st Edition
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- Publisher : McGraw Hill; 1st edition (April 16, 2012)
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Units of Study in Reading
A workshop curriculum for middle school grades, what do our middle-grade readers need.
We want our middle grades students to become flexible, resilient readers who read for pleasure as well as for academic purposes. We want them to have a toolkit of strategies for dealing with difficulty, and we want them to know when and how to use those strategies.
How Can We Best Meet Those Needs?
To accomplish such ambitious goals, we must reconsider how we think about our classrooms and our curriculum. We can no longer conceive of the curriculum as a few books kids will master. We now recognize the value and importance of teaching a repertoire of skills and strategies to help students be more powerful in any book.
Why is the Reading Workshop So Effective?
The simplicity and predictability of the workshop frees the teacher from constant choreographing so that he or she has time to observe, to listen, to assess, and to teach into specific student needs. For the bulk of time during each day, students read, and as they do, they draw upon an ever-growing repertoire of skills, tools, strategies, and habits.
The 10 Essentials of Reading Instruction
1. Above all, good teachers matter.
Learners need teachers who demonstrate what it means to live richly literate lives, wearing a love of reading on their sleeves. Teachers need professional development and a culture of collaborative practice to develop their abilities to teach.
2. Readers need long stretches of time to read.
A mountain of research supports the notion that teachers who teach reading successfully provide their students with substantial time for actual reading.
3. Readers need opportunities to read high-interest, accessible books of their own choosing.
Students need access to lots of books that they can read with high levels of accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. They need opportunities to consolidate skills so they can use skills and strategies with automaticity within fluid, engaged reading.
4. Readers need to read increasingly complex texts appropriate for their grade level.
A consensus has formed around the resolve to accelerate students' progress so they can read increasingly complex texts. Teachers can find ways to scaffold instruction to provide students with access to these texts when they cannot read them independently.
5. Readers need direct, explicit instruction in the skills and strategies of proficient reading.
The National Reading Panel strongly supports explicit instruction in comprehension strategies, suggesting that the teaching of even one comprehension strategy can lead to improved comprehension, and that teaching a repertoire of strategies can make an even larger difference (National Reading Panel 2000).
6. Readers need opportunities to talk and sometimes to write in response to texts.
Talking and writing both provide concrete, visible ways for learners to do the thinking work that later becomes internalized and invisible.
7. Readers need support reading nonfiction books and building a knowledge base and academic vocabulary through information reading.
The strength of a student's general knowledge has a close relationship to the student's ability to comprehend complex nonfiction texts. Students who read a great deal of nonfiction gain knowledge about the world as well as about vocabulary.
8. Readers need assessment-based instruction, including feedback that is tailored specifically to them.
Learners are not all the same, and learners do not all need the same things to progress. Teaching, then, must always be responsive, and our ideas about what works and what doesn't work must always be under construction.
9. Readers need teachers to read aloud to them.
Read-aloud is essential to teaching reading. Teachers read aloud to open the day, using stories and poems to convene the community and to celebrate what it means to be awake and alive together. They read aloud to embark on shared adventures, to explore new worlds, and to place provocative topics at the center of the community.
10. Readers need a balanced approach to language arts, one that includes a responsible approach to the teaching of writing as well as reading.
The National Reading Panel's recommendations in 2000 supported the need for children to have balanced literacy instruction. Pressley and his colleagues conducted research in balanced literacy, seeking out examples of exemplary teaching in the primary grades and studying the approach to instruction. In every case, whenever they found a classroom with high literacy engagement, they found balanced teaching in place (Pressley et al. 2002). (Adapted from A Guide to the Reading Workshop , primary and intermediate editions)
Download Guide Chapter
Read More . . .
To read more about how you can work with colleagues to articulate the vision guiding reading instruction at your school, download the sample chapter for your grade level, excerpted from A Guide to the Reading Workshop, Middle School Grades .
One Suggestion for Sequencing Units Across Grade Levels
- A Deep Study of Character
- Tapping the Power of Nonfiction
- Social Issues Book Clubs
- Investigating Characterization: Author Studies
- Essential Research Skills for Teens
- Historical Fiction Book Clubs
- Dystopian Book Clubs
- Literary Nonfiction
- Critical Literacy: Unlocking Contemporary Fiction
- A Book Club Unit of Choice
In order to provide the greatest flexibility for middle school classrooms, the Units and the Guide are all sold separately. You may choose a different sequence based on your school’s curricular needs, but also keep in mind that there is a layering of complexity across the units that you will want to consider as you plan.
Note: publication of the previously-announced Poetry unit has been postponed indefinitely.
There are 9 individual units for middle school reading, each available for separate purchase. Each unit includes all the teaching points, minilessons, conferences, and small group work needed for the reading workshop.
Details the architecture of the minilessons, conferences and small-group strategy sessions, and articulates the management techniques needed to support an effective middle school reading workshop. (Available separately for administrators and coaches)
Each unit includes downloadable, printable files for anchor charts (English and Spanish versions) and other charts, read-aloud texts, samples of student work, bands of text complexity, links to videos, tools for learning, and homework assignments.
For more information, download the comprehensive overview!
Check out the alignment to Common Core State Standards
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
An introduction to the middle school reading units, reading workshop in the middle grades, research base, getting started/planning, diversity and social justice, english learners.
Classroom Videos from TCRWP
Guide to the reading workshop.
A Guide to the Reading Workshop: Secondary Grades Lucy Calkins Mary Ehrenworth
Each Unit with Trade Pack
Purchase Recommendation: In order to provide the greatest flexibility for middle school classrooms the units and guide are all sold separately. For a sequencing suggestion, see above. Choose the bundle with the Trade Book Pack if your library does not already include the mentor texts referenced in the Unit.
Critical Literacy: Unlocking Contemporary Fiction with Trade Book Mary Ehrenworth et al.
Investigating Characterization: Author-Study Book Clubs with Trade Pack Mary Ehrenworth et al.
Literary Nonfiction with Trade Pack Katie Clements et al.
A Deep Study of Character with Trade Pack Mary Ehrenworth Lucy Calkins
Tapping the Power of Nonfiction with Trade Pack Katie Clements Lucy Calkins
Social Issues Book Clubs: Reading for Empathy and Advocacy with Trade Pack Audra Robb et al.
Dystopian Book Clubs with Trade Pack Katy Wischow Lucy Calkins
Historical Fiction Book Clubs with Trade Pack Mary Ehrenworth et al.
Each Unit without Trade Pack
Critical Literacy: Unlocking Contemporary Fiction Mary Ehrenworth et al.
Essential Research Skills for Teens Mary Ehrenworth et al.
Investigating Characterization Mary Ehrenworth et al.
Literary Nonfiction Katie Clements et al.
A Deep Study of Character Lucy Calkins Mary Ehrenworth
Tapping the Power of Nonfiction Lucy Calkins Katie Clements
Social Issues Book Clubs Lucy Calkins et al.
Dystopian Book Clubs Lucy Calkins Katy Wischow
Historical Fiction Book Clubs Mary Ehrenworth et al.
Related Book Club Shelves
Nonfiction Book Clubs Shelf, Grades 6-8 Lucy Calkins et al.
Below Benchmark Nonfiction Book Clubs Shelf, Grades 6-8 Lucy Calkins et al.
On Benchmark Social Issues Book Clubs Shelf, Grades 6-8 Lucy Calkins et al.
Below Benchmark Social Issues Book Clubs Shelf, Grades 6-8 Lucy Calkins et al.
Fantasy and Dystopia Book Clubs Shelf, Grades 6-8 Lucy Calkins et al.
Below Benchmark Fantasy And Dystopia Book Clubs Shelf, Grades 6-8 Lucy Calkins et al.
On Benchmark Historical Fiction Book Clubs Shelf, Grades 6-8 Lucy Calkins et al.
Below Benchmark Historical Fiction Book Clubs Shelf, Grades 6-8 Lucy Calkins et al.
Investigating Characterization Shelf, Grades 6-8 Lucy Calkins et al.
Below Benchmark Investigating Characterization Shelf, Grades 6-8 Lucy Calkins et al.
On Benchmark Literary Nonfiction Shelf, Grades 6-8 Lucy Calkins et al.
Below Benchmark Literary Nonfiction Shelf, Grades 6-8 Lucy Calkins et al.
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reading workshop 6th grade
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Personal Narrative Reading & Writing Workshop Lessons & Mentor Texts - 6th Grade
Wonders McGraw Hill 6th Grade Close Reading ( Workshop Book) - Unit 1
Wonders McGraw Hill 6th Grade Close Reading ( Workshop Book) - Units 1-6 *Bundle*
Reading & Writing Workshop 6th Grade - Lesson Plans, Anchor Charts, Mentor Texts
Back to School Reading and Writing Workshop Lessons & Mentor Texts - 6th Grade
Informational Reading & Writing Workshop Lessons & Mentor Texts - 6th Grade
Historical Fiction Reading & Writing Workshop Lessons & Mentor Texts - 6th Grade
6th Grade Reading Workshop
Poetry Reading & Writing Workshop Lessons & Mentor Texts - 6th Grade
Realistic Fiction Reading & Writing Workshop Lessons & Mentor Texts - 6th Grade
Biography Reading & Writing Workshop Lessons & Mentor Texts - 6th Grade
Traditional Literature Reading & Writing Workshop Lessons - 6th Grade
Fantasy Reading & Writing Workshop Lessons & Mentor Texts - 6th Grade
Opinion Reading & Writing Workshop Lessons & Mentor Texts - 6th Grade
Wonders McGraw Hill 6th Grade Close Reading ( Workshop Book) - Unit 2
Wonders McGraw Hill 6th Grade Close Reading ( Workshop Book) - Unit 3
Wonders McGraw Hill 6th Grade Close Reading ( Workshop Book) DIGITAL Bundle
Wonders McGraw Hill 6th Grade Close Reading ( Workshop Book) - Unit 4
Sixth Grade Reader's Workshop / Guided Reading Conferring Notes
Wonders McGraw Hill 6th Grade Close Reading ( Workshop Book) - Unit 5
Wonders McGraw Hill 6th Grade Close Reading ( Workshop Book) - Unit 6
Mini-Lesson Lists for Reading & Writing Workshop - 6th Grade
Wonders McGraw Hill 6th Grade Close Reading ( Workshop Book) Unit 3 DIGITAL
Unit Plan 1: 6th Grade Reading and Writing Workshop
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Getting Started With Writing Workshop: Grades K–6
Writing workshop can be an invigorating, creative, empowering opportunity to encourage students to become confident, capable writers! Unlike some instructional writing approaches, writing workshop for elementary students involves different forms of active participation from everyone in the classroom to be a success! Read on to learn about the principles and practices of writing workshop.
Just starting out? Ready to establish a writing workshop in your classroom? Looking for ways to reenergize your current workshop approach?
What Is Writing Workshop? is a great place to find basics around structure and pedagogy and learn what a successful writing classroom looks and sounds like.
Building Your Workshop Classroom can help you maximize your physical space to embrace the basics for writing workshop success. Resources include tips for teaching writing workshop remotely or in a hybrid setting.
Establishing Your K–6 Writing Community Through Workshop addresses the importance of fostering a sense of shared respect in your writing workshop classroom. Links to powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) resources can help you create a community where all voices are heard and every opinion is welcome.
What Is Writing Workshop?
Writing workshop is built on a student-centered framework of explicit instruction, independent writing time, and opportunities for teachers and students to reflect on their writing journey into different genres and forms. Although curricula differ on daily execution, there are a few common elements to all writing workshop programs.
- Three-part lesson plan
- Sample texts for modeling/inspiration
- Lots of time for writing and rewriting!
Are You Ready to Try Writing Workshop?
As with any curriculum, there are some things to consider when implementing writing workshop. What questions should you ask to get the most out of writing workshop experience?
Top 5 Questions Around Writing Workshop
What is the research behind writing workshop? Are there proven benefits of using a writing workshop approach for elementary students?
How does writing workshop differ from other approaches to writing instruction?
How much time does writing workshop take each day?
What are mentor texts, craft moves, and minilessons?
Why do teachers need to write in writing workshop and how do I get started?
Hear thought leaders address these common questions around writing workshop and more in the resources below!
Learn about writing workshop—what it is, the parts of a lesson, and the minilesson structure—and compare it to other types of traditional writing instruction.
What IS Writing Workshop?
Compare characteristics of traditional writing instruction vs. a writing workshop approach using this side-by-side chart.
Why Writing Workshops Work
This historical look at the research behind writing workshop highlights how this approach instills a sense of confidence in young writers.
Teacher’s Corner Author Podcast
In this episode, Stacey Shubitz and Lynne Dorfman, authors of multiple PD books and Jump Into Writing! , chat about all things writing workshop.
Welcome to Writing Workshop Shubitz & Dorfman
Learn how to successfully teach K–6 writers through a detailed look at the writing process, writing traits, strategy lessons, and craft moves.
Building Your Elementary Workshop Classroom
The organization of your classroom plays an important role in setting your writing workshop up for success. An effective writing workshop session should last anywhere from 35–60 minutes—a sizable part of your daily instruction—so it’s worth the effort to create an environment that is conducive to writing! To create an atmosphere of engagement, creativity, and motivation for your writing workshop, embrace a bit of flexibility when it comes to where students choose to do their work. Think how comfort aids concentration and can help to build stamina for students’ extended writing work.
Get Physical: 5 Tips for Building a Successful Writing Workshop Space
Stake out a meeting area for mini-lesson instruction at the beginning of each lesson and sharing/reflecting at the end.
Carve out some comfy spots for individual student brainstorming, journaling, and writing.
Establish shared spaces for peer review and peer conferencing.
Designate tables as collaborative spots for small-group work.
Set up stations for housing sample texts, anchor charts or rubrics, and mentor texts.
Spaces for Conferring in K–6 Writing Workshop Classrooms
A successful writing workshop also includes a certain amount of friendly nudging in the form of conferring. As a teacher and key confer-er, consider what works best for you!
- Do you prefer to have students come to your desk (or an established space) for 1:1 discussion?
- Would you rather move around the classroom to “drop in” on students to provide feedback?
Once you’ve identified an approach and/or space, stick with it. Students benefit from clear expectations and routines; having established locations for specific parts of the daily lesson can be reassuring. See Conferences and Conferring During Writing Workshop for specific resources around conferences. You can generate positive expectations, routines, and relationships around writing workshop even if you’re not in the same physical space as your students. Check out tips for conducting writing workshop in remote and hybrid settings below.
The “Write” Environment
Discover how to foster engagement, creativity, and motivation with your writing workshop class—and successfully adapt to any setting.
Flexible Learning Teaching Tips
Download tips for teaching writing workshop online or in a hybrid setting based on the Jump Into Writing! workshop curriculum for grades 2–5.
Remote Learning Tips for Jump Into Writing!
Tips for implementing a remote or hybrid writing workshop three-part lesson—planning, preparing, and teaching—from Jump Into Writing!
Getting to Know Kids in Virtual/Hybrid Settings
Back-to-school ideas and suggestions for establishing a strong class culture whether you are learning in person or virtually.
Establishing Your Writing Community Through Workshop
In addition to configuring physical spaces for writing, conferring, and group work, you need to establish a sense of community for your students to feel comfortable during writing workshop. Key areas for student participation in writing workshop:
- Expressing thoughts
- Sharing writing pieces
- Providing feedback
The basic nature of a writing workshop classroom requires that students and teachers interact in ways that are mindful of self-awareness, social responsibility, and decision making. When you establish a writing workshop in your classroom, you can prepare your students not only to be better communicators but also better classmates!
SEL and Writing Workshop
Using techniques grounded in social-emotional learning (SEL) in your writing workshop classroom is a great way to incorporate mindfulness and build positive expectations and experiences. The assets below provide thoughtful, actionable tips for applying SEL to writing workshop. Resources include a look at how SEL is integral to the design of Jump Into Writing! —Zaner-Bloser’s writing workshop curriculum for grades 2–5.
Building a Community of Writers
Learn about the importance of building and sustaining a successful community of writers, with a special emphasis on social-emotional learning.
CASEL Social-Emotional Learning
At-a-glance representation of how the five tenets of SEL fit within classrooms, schools, homes, and communities. (Adapted from CASEL)
SEL in Jump Into Writing!
Examine how one writing workshop curriculum incorporates CASEL’s five SEL competencies throughout the program and across all grade levels.
How Do You Create a Community of Writers?
Hear what it means and what it takes to establish a writing community in your classroom.
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Would you like to share your thoughts on writing workshop? We’d love to hear from you!
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Interested in learning more about Jump Into Writing! writing workshop curriculum for grades 2–5?
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The straight-forward Teacher Books provide program overview, pacing schedule, answers, and grading suggestions. For home use only, access free online helps for families: printable extra worksheets, writing rubrics (checklists, not typical rubrics), and Writer’s Handbooks.
- Short, focused lessons that begin with the basics of writing and build up to writing full-length papers for a variety of purposes
- Frontmatter with a pacing chart, guide to how to use the program, and scope and sequence
- Writing rubrics at the end of each chapter
Want your students skilled in solid, foundational, and academic writing? This systematic, easy-to-teach, series is for you. All levels learn from examples, practice the writing process steps, and apply them to various academic writing tasks. Levels end by teaching test-related writing skills (notetaking, essay test questions, etc.). Lower levels begin at the word/sentence level and progress to essays. Upper levels start with sentence skill review, then to essays and research papers. Each level stair steps on previously taught material, progressing in difficulty and expectations. The traditional composition style, peer review suggestions, and similarly structured levels make this series a good candidate for co-op or small group teaching. Levels A-E contain 36 lessons (1 per week); Level F has 48 lessons (complete course). The straight-forward Teacher Books provide program overview, pacing schedule, answers, and grading suggestions. For home use only; access free online helps for families: printable extra worksheets, writing rubrics (checklists, not typical rubrics), and Writer’s Handbooks. Non-reproducible Teacher and Student, 8”x 10”, 126 pgs., pb.
These materials offer complete coverage of both writing and grammar.
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