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Best-of-Smekens Writing Conference:
Writing Remix 2017


Writer’s Workshop Management


Fit the Writer’s Workshop into your Elementary Schedule

Introduce the mini-lesson

Define the 3 parts of a workshop

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.

Communicate how long independent writing time will last. Project a clock, scene, or visual that “counts down” time in an age-appropriate way.


Integrate the Workshop into a Single Class Period

Read like writers, and then write for readers

Blur the lines of literacy targeting writing skills and their reciprocal reading skills.

Make novels move faster

Teach conventions in context

Teach convention skills in context by tying the purpose of the convention to the mode of writing. Download 10 common purposes conventions serve or purchase a grade-level scaffold of purposes according to the standards.


Confer with Writers Daily

Coach writers via frequent conversations

How’s it Going? by Carl Anderson |
Writing Conferences Grades K-8 by Carl Anderson

Provide trait-specific feedback

Expect productive peer conversations


Revitalize the Writing Process

Communicate expectations to students


Foster Independent Writers

#1 What to do when you need help, and the teacher is busy

1. Download and open the Help! Tent Microsoft Word document.
2. Make the desired changes to the 4 strategies listed. (Insert clipart as you wish.)
3. Print a single copy of the document and cut on the dotted line.

4. Manually flip the “I have a question, but I can keep writing” side so that it’s upside down. Tape these two halves together and photocopy your new Help! Tent onto card stock.

#2 What to do when you aren’t sure how to spell a word during Writing Time

Provide explicit procedures that help students problem-solve first-draft spelling issues. Plan to grow the list of strategies throughout the year.

#3 What to do when you think you’re done

After making an initial Done list, plan to grow the list throughout the year. As the choices increase, you may want to use icons to indicate which tasks students MUST do (mustard) versus those they MAY do (mayo).