Writer's Spotlight provides a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase a
piece of writing with other authors in the school. Each month, students are
selected by their teachers to share their writing with other authors; as well as,
celebrate their accomplishments with Mrs. Harvey and/or Mrs. Silver. The
authors' writings are displayed on the bulletin board by Mrs. Silver's room to
be enjoyed for the month.
Write like a Reader…
Just as Readers Workshop promotes independent thoughtful readers, Writers Workshop promotes independent thoughtful writers. Students spend a majority of classroom time putting paper to pencil. They look to their own lives for inspiration and work through the writing process including drafting, revising, publishing and celebrating!
The workshop model was designed to promote real-life writing experiences for students. Children work through a basic format including an eight to ten minute mini-lesson. Then children get writing! During this drafting time students confer with the teacher or with peers to revise and improve their piece. They are continuously revising and editing to make their piece more effective. After the writing has been carefully crafted, the student polishes the piece, a step that may include typing or inserting pictures, to make it as strong as possible for final publication and celebration.
For example, students may receive a mini-lesson regarding how author’s put dialog in their writing. The child then has an opportunity to look for places in his or her own writing where this technique may be applied. Students have approximately 40 minutes per session to write independently as the teacher confers with children individually. These individual conferences allow the teacher not only to follow through on the mini-lesson, but the teacher is also able to provide personalized attention or additional small group instruction. The teacher has an opportunity to help the student attempt other techniques and considerations. The conference is often considered the “heart” of workshop. In addition, students use proofreaders’ eyes making certain that grammar and spelling is accurate. Children gain specific strategies that not only allow their piece to improve as it moves towards final publication, but they are also able to build lifelong writing strategies. Furthermore, workshop time allows for students to share thoughts and ideas with other writers in the class. Writers Workshop is a time of independent work and collaboration.
All grade levels participate in Writers Workshop throughout the year. Following the launch of Writers Workshop, each student creates a personal narrative, studies a genre (such as fairy tales or myths), uses a professional author as a mentor, produces a nonfiction piece of writing, as well as delving into the world of poetry. Regardless of the genre, students are using their own experiences, interests and thoughts to create. Writers Workshop is authentic writing.
Encouraging writing at home does not always mean buying a special journal. Your student can create a grocery list, write a friendly letter to grandma or compose a paragraph describing all the reasons why you should increase his or her allowance! Real life makes real opportunities to write!