Writer's Workshop K

Writer's Workshop

What is Writer's Workshop?

Writer's Workshop is a format that provides the structure to support children learning to write. The workshop is designed for use with grades K-5 and is designed for 60 minutes a day. Activities are designed to teach youngsterswhat good writers do to help them learn to write The learn to generate writing using self-selected topics, work with others to revise and refine their writing, as well as practice authors craft, skills, grammar, and conventions. Predictable rituals and routines structure the workshop to provide consistent expectations. There are four genres of writing taught within the Writers Workshop: Informational/ Report, Narrative, Procedural, and Response to Literature.

 What does the class period look like during Writer's Workshop? 

The Writer's Workshop contains three parts: an Opening, a Work Session, and a Closing.

ØDuring the Opening, the teacher teaches a 5-10 minute mini-lesson that brings the entire class together as a whole group for a single writing focus.

ØDuring the 40-45 minute Work Session the students go through the writing process: plan, draft, confer, revise, edit, and publish.

ØThe 5-10 minute Closing brings the students back together to share in the Author's Chair what they have learned as writers.

What is a mini-lesson?

A mini-lesson focuses on a single concept such as a procedure (ritual or routine), a writer's craft (such as noticing an authors technique or style), or a skill (such as a lesson on language use and conventions). A mini-lesson has four parts: the connection (connecting to what good writers do, the standard, and what the class has been doing in previous lessons), the teach (the single focus of the lesson), the active involvement (the students practicing the focus), and the link (linking to what the student will be doing during the Work Session and what they will do as writers today and always).

What is independent writing?

Students write daily on self-selected topics during the Work Session of Writer's Workshop. Students in intermediate grades occasionally practice writing to specific topics to prepare for the fourth grade TAKS writing assessment.

What are the stages of writing?

ØPlan Students must first have a plan for writing by reviewing previous work, looking through their seed journals, or conferring with a friend.

ØDraft-Students are responsible for generating their own topics, knowing that a first draft is rarely a final draft.

ØConfer- Students receive feedback through peer and teacher conferences and response groups.

ØRevise-Students revisit the content of their writing to determine if the purpose is clearly communicated, if their paper is well-organized, and if the writing meets the elements of the standard using a rubric.

ØEdit-Students are responsible for addressing concerns with spelling, punctuation, capitalization, paragraphing, and language usage. Not all writing gets a final edit. Only students wishing to publish a portfolio piece go through the editing process.

ØPublish-Students should polish 10 pieces representing each of the genres each year representing their best effort


What happens in a writing conference?

Conferring is a powerful way to provide individualized, purposeful, focused and specific instruction. Conferring teaches the writer and not necessarily just a single piece of writing. The goal is to teach the writer is such a way that s/he uses the lesson for all pieces of writing to come.


What is a response group?

Response groups typically are composed of three to four students and might be thought of as small, on-going, collaborative groups who assist each other with various tasks of writing.


How is student writing organized??

There are three types of folders used to organize student work:

ØWorks-in-progress folders contain pieces of writing students are currently working on.

ØCumulative folders contain everything a student has written for the year and provide a long-term look at the progress of the student over the year. Whileintermediate students keep every piece of writing, kindergarten and first teachers often help students sort through their work each nine weeks, keeping only representative samples that help the student represent their progress in writing over time.

ØPortfolio showcases the best effort of student work that is working toward or meeting the standard. A complete portfolio is kept for each student and sent to the next years teacher. During the year, the teacher/student selects one piece from his/her portfolio that best represents their writing from the previous year. Portfolios are generally kept in orange folders and are kept over the course of a childs years at Seven Hills. At the end of the fifth grade year, the portfolio is sent home for the family to celebrate the childs work over the course of his/her elementary career.


What is the Author's Chair?

At the Closing of Writer's Workshop, students have a chance to share with their classmates what they learned as a writer. Students that share also have the opportunity to read their writing and then receive appropriate feedback in the form of compliments and suggestions. Sometimes they share an authors craft they have tried. Sometimes they share just the beginning or ending of their writing, and sometimes they share an entire piece. Often the teacher has requested that specific students bring specific pieces to the Author's Chair to reinforce the mini-lesson or to point out something she noticed during the Work Session.