Skip to main content

Exploring Writer's Workshop with Teachers

I have started doing a series of Wednesday afternoon sessions for teachers at my school on Writer's Workshop. The first session was this week. I love doing these workshops for teachers because it helps me articulate my philosophy and practice. They help me think through the what and why of my practice. They keep me honest.

During the first session we talked about the writing process or "the process of writing" as worded by Wendy Bean and Jan Turbill in their book, Writing Instruction, K - 6, Understanding Process, Purpose, Audience. We talked about how the writing process and the 6 + 1 Traits of Writing work together, since the latter is of special interest in my school at the moment. I explained the components of Writer's Workshop and we did a little bit of writing. It was probably too much for a one hour session; we could have spent more time on any one part of the agenda.

At the end of the afternoon I asked for feedback regarding what teachers wanted to know more about. I received good responses that I am planning to weave into each of the next sessions. I will also be offering twice monthly brown bag lunches to further discuss the fine points, problems, etc of Writer's Workshop.

If you have done sessions like this before at your school, or have attended any yourself, please post suggestions for what you think are some ideas worth exploring with teachers new to the concept of workshop teaching. I'd love to read your thoughts! Thank you!

Popular posts from this blog

Mini Lessons

Sometimes, I plan too many teaching points for one lesson. For example, instead of focusing on one strategy that students need in order to become more proficient readers and writers, I try to teach several strategies at the same time. 

Sometimes, I stretch out a teaching point beyond the 10- or 12-minute time limit I've given myself because I worry that my mini lesson wasn't enough or my students won't have understood what I intended to teach. So, sometimes, I beat the lesson to a pulp one too many times, or forget to have the kids practice the lesson before they go off to read or write. (Asking students to practice a lesson after you teach it, with you right there to observe and help guide students through the process, is very effective. Try not to skip this step!)  

Here's an example of a mini lesson that lasted less than 10 minutes and resulted in better learning.

My students are in the second round of historical fiction book clubs. In a couple of weeks, we will start …

A Confession

I have a confession to make.

I want to write a book. 
A professional book. 
I think I have a lot to say. 
I think others could benefit from my experience.
After all, I have been an educator for over 30 years.

But, what could I possibly say that hasn't been said before?
What new knowledge could I add to the table?
Who would even bother to read what I have to say?

These are questions borne of fear.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of not being able to complete such a daunting project. 
(At least, that's what it feels like to me right now.)
Fear that I won't make time.
Fear that I'll run out of time.

But, over the last couple of days, I've gotten some encouraging words of support from the Innovative Teaching Academy - 
#ITA17 Facebook group. 

You can do it!Write for yourself.
But the message that is propelling me forward is this one: 
It doesn't matter how many times something has been said...each time someone else says it, new people hear it...and that's where you make the d…


Today's post is short and sweet because I just got back from a night of playing Bunko with friends. 

I share some questions I'm grappling with in my classroom. 

No answers. 

Just questions.

(1) What purpose do math stations serve in my classroom?

(2) How can I continue to engage writers without overwhelming them or me?

(3) How can I determine if my tangled readers are learning to be better readers from the books they choose to read?

(4) How can I strike a balance between student choice and making sure my students learn what they need to learn at any given time?

(5) Am I demanding too much from my students?

As I find responses and solutions to these issues, I will post some ideas on my blog.

Any thoughts are more than welcomed!