Writing Workshop is an interrelated combination of writing experiences that occur during the writing block of the language/literacy framework. It encompasses focused writing-both assigned and self-selected-in a variety of genres and content areas, including longer research projects. It also includes providing specific writing instruction to small groups of students (Fountas & Pinnell, 2001. p. 50)
Writing Workshop provides the instructional support for students to become effective writers who can:
- Explore a variety of topics as “seeds” in writers’ notebooks that may be developed into longer writing projects
- Conceptualize and express ideas and experiences
- Use language with clarity and voice to develop meaning
- Organize a written text to fit an audience, purpose, and topic
- Demonstrate a command of spelling, punctuation, word usage and sentence structure
- Rethink, revise and edit their writing
Ø Daily mini-lesson based on the needs of the writers.
Ø Students use a writer’s notebook as they engage in the writing process (sketching, drafting, editing, or publishing a piece of work).
Ø Writing topics are either self-selected or assigned.
Ø Teacher conducts writing conferences with individuals to support and address their needs.
Ø There is a share and evaluation at the end of class.
Ø Small, temporary groups of writers (3-4) to provide explicit teaching based on the writers’ needs at a particular point in time.
Ø Using the self-selected, long or short writing pieces, the teacher’s focus is explicit teaching of the writer’s craft, strategies, and skills. (GRW, TCF)
Ø Using reading, writing, and a variety of media resources including technology, students explore topics in-depth.
Ø Students often create an oral presentation, performance, published writing, or display, related to a study of literature or the content areas.
Ø The teacher provides guidelines, a structure, and a timeline for the projects, and explicit instruction as appropriate.
Every year, we start off by creating WRITER'S NOTEBOOKS. These will be used for brainstorming ideas, trying out leads, writing quick entries, and practicing writing strategies. Drafts and final copies will be done elsewhere.
Each student will decorate the cover of their notebook with pictures, drawings, stickers, magazine cut-outs, and other creative ideas. Start looking for images to print out at home, pictures you can cut up, or drawings you want to glue onto a cover!
Our first unit focused on writing small moment stories, memories from our lives that we want to share with others. We worked our way through the writing process on two different drafts and picking one to revise, edit, and publish. Some of the lessons focused on:
- finding a topic and writing about a small moment
- telling the story step by step with true exact details
- trying out different leads
- making a timeline to plan our stories out
- storytelling with a partner to rehearse
- drafting our stories out in a draft book
- elaborating on the heart of our story
- revising for clarity
having a writing partner is essential.
Persuasive Writing Unit
Our next unit is on opinion or argument writing where we want to persuade someone to do something, like something, buy something, or agree with a point of view. So far we've discussed topics like "Recess is important" or "Kids shouldn't have homework on the weekend" or "Field trips aren't a waste of money." As we go through the unit, we will work on planning, drafting, revising, and editing a few different pieces.
Students used post-it notes to revise their poems, where they could easily move around words or add new thoughts to their ideas. Each student created a poetry anthology. They picked their own topics, wrote several poems revolving around that topic, and typed up their pieces in the computer lab. It was a wonderful way to end our unit and share our work!
We worked on adding alliteration, imagery, sensory details, similes, line breaks, stanzas, and many other poetic devices to make our poems powerful.