The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Writers’ Workshop

I have wanted to implement the Writers’ Workshop framework in my classroom for a long time, but somehow I’ve never been able to fully do it. Sure, my students write. In fact, they write every day. But we’ve never done any serious Writers’ Workshop, where we take a large block of time to pre-write, draft, proofread, edit, revise, and publish.

We were going to start our formal Writers’ Workshop last week, but things got sidetracked by a snow day and our Spring Holiday. So we started today. I am excited to see what my students will do with this time!

We kicked off our workshop with a discussion of what writing actually is. I loved the ideas my students shared: writing is expression of feels and ideas; writing is communication; writing is putting words on paper (or screen) to preserve stories; writing is recording what happened and why. Then we reviewed the writing process: pre-writing, drafting, proofreading, editing, revising, and publishing and we talked about what these steps mean. I made a point of emphasising that these are not sequential steps that go in a straight line. As we write, we go through all of the stages at different times.

We had an assembly this afternoon, so we didn’t get to start major writing today, but I had all of my students use the little time we had to write letters to their pen pals. (Their pen pals have been waiting for letters for almost two months. Whoops!)

Tomorrow we are going to start working on focused writing. The students will be given a prompt. I want them to write in response to reading, which we have been doing all year long, but I want the writing to become more meaningful. Instead of simply answering a question in response to a text, I am going to have them use what they’ve read as a springboard for their own writing.

I am envisioning our Writers’ Workshop going all the way to the end of the year. We only have about eight weeks remaining (!!!), so I expect to get a lot of writing in. On top of, and integrated throughout, all of our reading, math, science, social studies, physical education, and social & emotional learning!

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