The goal of The Writing Workshop is to foster life long writers and is based on Four Principles:
- Students will write about their own lives
- The use of a consistent writing process
- Students will work in authentic ways
- Independence will be fostered
The Writing Workshop follows a predictable pattern of a 5-10 minute MINILESSONon a timely writing technique, a quick status-of-the-class check, at least 30 minutes for the workshop’s main business of writing and conferring, and 5-10 minutes for a concluding group-share session.
Students are given a large amount of choice in their topic and style of writing, and the teacher acts as a mentor author, modeling writing techniques and conferring with students as they move through the writing process.
Direct consistent writing instruction takes place in the form of a 10 -15 minute MINILESSON at the beginning of each workshop. The MINILESSON may be used to make connections to previous lessons, teach a new writing technique or have students practice the technique with teacher guidance.
Possible MINILESSON Topics
- Using dialog to show action
- Adding internal thinking
- Elaborating on physical descriptions
- Creating imagery through words
- Narrowing a story
- Starting a story with an action/dialog
Writing Workshop is devoted to INDEPENDENT WRITING for a majority of the time. During this time, students pre-write, draft, revise, edit and publish their writing.
- Students may also be found:
- Writing in their schema notebooks
- Journal writing
- Writing exercises to experiment with language and style
- Conducting peer-conferences
- Reading to support writing
CONFERRING is an important component of INDEPENDENT WRITING. During INDEPENDENT WRITING time, the teacher conducts a short conference with students about their writing with the purpose of assessing how their writing is progressing and teaching them something that is connected to their writing. The teacher keeps anecdotal records of the conferences that may include the date of the conference, the teaching points, observations and discussions.
GUIDED WRITING is another important element of INDEPENDENT WRITING time. During this time, the teacher meets with groups of students based on their writing needs. In this way, the teacher is able to further meet the individual needs of all students.