Sunday, August 11, 2013

Writing Workshop -- Trying Something New

I have been using a Writing Workshop in my classroom for five years now and it is one of the best things I ever did in regards to helping my students become better writers! 

I'll admit, the management part was a bit difficult to get under control when I first started (everyone is working on something ever will I grade everything???), but I reminded myself to be patient with the process and it would all come together....which it is!  :) 

I consider my knowledge of the Writing Workshop to be a work in progress, much like the writing my students do in the Workshop.  Every year, I seem to be able to add a little more to what I already know to make the Workshop even better.

When many students think of writing, they automatically think of stories or reports.  If given the choice of anything to write, most of my students would automatically start writing a story. 

This is good on one hand, because it shows the connection between reading and writing.  However, Common Core is pushing students to write for a variety of tasks, purposes, and audiences.  Stories won't always cut it.

Writing in the content areas has been especially tricky.  Students automatically write a report or five paragraph essay, just like a text book.  Their writing is usually bored and lifeless, not because they do not have anything to say, but because the way they say it is not lighting any fires. 

In looking for a way to push my students beyond basic story writing or report writing in the Writing Workshop, I have designed Types of Writing Mini-Posters to help spark ideas of other types of writing they could do.  In the past many students have been pleasantly surprised to learn that it was OK to write a comic strip or brochure during their writing time. 

It is also fun to incorporate different types of writing in your content areas.  Last year, one of my social studies projects was to write a "Welcome to Wisconsin" brochure to sum up all that we had learned in our year of studying our state history.  This project included facts and details (research and recall), text features (also found in published non-fiction writing), and  drawing pictures (just like an illustrator).  They were doing the work of real writers and they were excited about it!

These mini-posters are available in my TpT Store and will be 20% off through Monday!

Before I go, I want to make sure you know about the HUGE Back to School giveaway that is going on at Elementary School Garden.

Jennifer received so many items for this giveaway that she had to break everything into SIX prize packages.  I am donating my Number of the Day Task Cards to Prize Pack #5.  I hope you will enter and win!
Have a great Sunday!


  1. I'm going to look to you for help on this. :)
    Grade 4 Buzz

  2. I love the Welcome to Wisconsin brochure. I'd love to try something like that for Ohio history. Thank you for the idea.

  3. Writing is my goal for the year. That and Interactive Reading Notebooks. Lots of work ahead of me! But I'm totally excited and ready for the challenge!


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