Writing Workshop

  • Writing Workshop          


    Writing workshop is a researched-based instructional approach from the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University,NYC. Teachers introduce craft during the mini-lesson, moving them through the writing process; from collecting to publishing. They use real literature as mentor texts to show students how authors use writer’s craft, such as engaging openings and closings, similes, and metaphors in published works.



    The Structure of Writing Workshop

                                                                                                                              Pencil Character Reading a Book - Vendor:                         Pencil Character Reading a Book - Vendor:                         Pencil Character Reading a Book - Vendor:               

                                                                                      Mini Lesson: 10-15 Minutes

    The mini-lesson is where teachers can make a suggestion to the whole class...raise a concern, explore an issue, model a technique, reinforce a strategy. First students are engaged in their own important work. Then the teacher asks, "What is the one thing I can suggest or demonstrate that might help most?"   A mini-lesson generally lasts 5-10 minutes. Teachers try to choose a teaching point that they feel would benefit many members of the class.



    Examples of Mini-Lessons   Notebook and Pencil - Vendor: Content Focus Conventions Focus

    • Getting an idea
      -making lists
      -things you love
      -writing from emotion
      -moments in time
    • Adding detail
    • Adds responses/telling the inside story
    • Choice of words/ descriptive language
    • Replacing tired words
    • Great beginnings
    • Wow endings
    • One moment in time
    • Observations
    • "I wonder" writings
    • Something ordinary
    • Staying on focus
    • Working with a seed idea
    • Developing a plan for writing
    • Finding your voice
    • Genre studies:
      -informational reports
      -picture books
      -How-to books
    • Use appropriate spacing
    • Spelling phonetically
    • Spell "High Frequency" words correctly
    • Spell using analogies
    • Capitalize I, names
    • Capitalize beginnings of sentences
    • Ending punctuation marks
    • Quotation marks
    • Commas
    • Use of "and"
    • Using appropriate grammar
    • Using paragraphs
    • Recognizing and correcting run-on sentences



    Independent Writing/Collecting Entries  

                                                                               Notebook and Pencil - Vendor:

    After the mini lesson, students work in their Writer's Notebook to collect entries that may later become published pieces of writing.  The total writing time lasts for about 35-40 minutes, but during that time some students may be involved in conferences with the teacher or with their peers.

    Students choose entries in their notebooks to take into "draft form."  It is these carefully selected pieces of writing that will be taken through the process of editing and revising so that they can be published and shared with others.  All entries in the Writer's Notebook do not become published prices of writing.  All published writing is added to each student's Writing Portfolio, and some pieces will even be put into student created books.




    While students are involved in independent writing, teachers use this time to confer with their writers.  they take notes during conferences to document students' progress and to plan future mini-lessons.  During this time they may:

    -          Listen to students read their entries aloud

    -          Help students decide what they want to say

    -          Provide feedback

    -          Re-teach skills taught during mini lessons

    -          Teach necessary new skills

    -          Reinforce a writer's strengths

    -          Give writers new ways of thinking



    Sharing                                                                Two Boys - Vendor: Clipart.com

    At the end of writing workshop everyday, students are brought back together for a 5-10 minute group share and reflection.  When students sign up to share or are asked to share, they take a seat in our coveted "Author's Chair."  Sometimes a writer might come to the author's chair to ask for help or receive feedback from his or her classmates ("I like my story, but I can't think of a good title.").  The author might also want to share part of an entry of which he or she is especially proud.            


    During many group shares, each student gets a turn to share a small part of an entry, especially if I have asked students to try a particular new skill during the day's mini-lesson.