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Launching the Writer’s Workshop


Introduce the writing modes

Brainstorm writing topics

Create a life map on paper or a digital version, similar to this Google commercial.

Execute the “Book Springboard”

Read list book and have students make text-to-self connections. What experiences and potential writing topics does that make you think of?

Define the 3 parts of a workshop

Suzi Wagner, literacy coach in Danville, IL, clearly defines writer versus rider in her “Who is a writer?” mini-lesson.
PowerPoint | Google Sheets

Southern Door Elementary teacher (Brussels, WI) Jessica Meacham outlines writer’s workshop expectations using these Smartboard Notebook documents.

List the expectations for Independent Writing Time
and include a timer within the Just Write document.

The Writer’s Workshop document includes all three parts of the workshop and the specific activities of each.

Introduce procedures, expectations, and rhythms

When executing the 4 steps of a mini-lesson, identify which trait the skill supports.

Increase transition efficiency with code phrases between mini-lesson, writing time, and author’s chair.
PowerPointGoogle Sheets

Depict the appropriate volume of students’ voices using an anchor chart.

Introduce the writer’s notebook

Add a quick-find bookmark with a piece of ribbon taped to the spine of a composition notebook.

Should you need a pocket in the notebook, create one by folding over a page and gluing it to the next one… or adhering a small envelope to the back cover.

Primary teachers love Tonya Gill’s writer’s notebook that moves through the developmental stages of writing—drawing, labeling, listing, etc.

Consider the flexibility of loose paper when creating a writer’s notebook. The “spolder” idea is a great one for those who have access to a comb-binding machine.

Create the same effect using a combination of a single folder (with tabs) and 1-3 additional pocket folders (without tabs). Turn the pocket folders inside out and hole-punch them. Using the tabs, fasten them together.

Grow a “Done” List

Indicate which items are Must-Do versus May-Do versus Catch-Up tasks.
Access these visual icons as individual JPEGs or a single Word document.

Introduce teacher-writer meetings

Fine-tune self and peer-revision

Students select 3 revision tasks
Tic-Tac-Toe board: Template & Example

Describe a HELP! Tent

Help! Tent | Example

Cut the Help! Tent.

Rotate and photocopy onto cardstock.

Establish consistent visual icons

Black and white mini-posters PDF

B/W with color mini-posters PDF

Monochromatic mini-posters PDF

Optional Sentence Fluency Smartphone

Mini-icons in Word document

Utilize song lyrics & or mentor text

Consider reading picture books to introduce each trait.

Create a trait-based physical environment

Build a non-writing rubric to first teach key terms

Create a writing rubric with the students

The power of building rubrics with your students is reinforced in an article in the February 2012 ASCD Education Update newsletter.