Classroom Snapshot! Writing Part 1: Our Writing Workshop Routine.

Thank you to Creative Clips and The Enlightened Elephant for the clipart and Kimberly Gerswin for the font for my button.

Hello!  Thanks so much for stopping by!  Today I am starting my little series on the kinds of things that I do in my classroom.  I thought that I would start with my favorite part of the day: Writer’s Workshop!

I have been using some sort of Writer’s Workshop in my classroom ever since I started teaching (a while ago).

This is what is working for me now.  Of course, I am still tweaking and each year it changes a bit depending on my cherubs, but this is the basic structure.

I start with a sistersesque I chart.  We talk about the why’s and how’s and then add or subtract from the chart as we go.

So, after our morning meeting we always take a restroom break.  The kiddos know that during restroom break (with lots of reminders of course) they need to get their materials ready for Writer’s Workshop and put them on their desks.

Everyday they need:
Writing Notebook

Then, we gather together on the “magic carpet” for our writing mini-lesson.  Here is the schedule for our Writing Time:

10-15 min. writing lesson
Turn and Talk with a partner about plan for writing
Silent 10

Everyday I do a mini-lesson on a writing topic.  Obviously right now we are in the procedure stage and the setting up our writing notebook stage.

Then, I give them time to turn and talk to their partner about their writing plan for the day.  I find that this helps the kiddos to come up with something to work on before they have to go back and start.

Silent 10.  The first 10 min. of our writing time is Silent 10.  This is their chance to pre-write, think, draw pictures ect.  I mark this time by playing at 10 min. song (it is 9min. and 14 seconds, but that is close enough). The kiddos are to stay in their seats and be silent the whole time.  I use a musical cue for this part of Writing Workshop.  The song that I use is: Allegro moderato, Violin Concerto No. 2, K. 211.  It is the second song on the Mozart Effect Music for Children Tune Up Your Mind C.D. I put it in my itunes and play it with my classroom ipad.  The kiddos know when the music is over they can move (1x) to another spot in the room.  

The next part is our writing time.  They can write anywhere in our room that is comfortable for them. During this time the kiddos are free to move if they need to get something.  They may also use a whisper voice to talk with others about their writing.  This writing time usually lasts between 15-25 minutes.
Then, comes sharing.  This is the way that I hold kiddos accountable for writing everyday.  
At the end of writing time I choose 5 students to share.  I use popsicle sticks to choose.  Those kiddos come up and show me what they worked on during W.W. time, then they can share part of their writing.  If they don’t have anything written for that day, they stay in at recess to do some writing.  My philosophy is You write during writing time and play during playing time.  If you play during writing time, then you have to write during playing time.  (This goes for any part of our day).  Then at recess I have a writing conference with those kiddos to see why they hadn’t written anything, and how we can be more productive during our Writer’s Workshop time.     If you don’t want to share that if fine, but I still need to see your writing.  All of the sticks go back in the can, so you can be picked more than one day in a row.  The kiddos know that everyday they have a chance to be picked.  The amount of writing that I would expect obviously depend on the child.  This has really helped the kiddos to have something written down.
So, that is how our Writer’s Workshop runs in our classroom.  Please check back soon for my next post:
A day in our classroom: Writer’s Workshop 2:
Our Writing Notebooks

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