The Writer's Workshop

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Introducing The Writerís Workshop

Read Aloud: Teacher will read a picture book with a clear beginning, middle and end. There should be a discussion about the story after the reading. Discuss characters, elements of the story, favorite parts, likes and dislikes. This read aloud lesson should demonstrate the sense of story structure and possibly give students ideas to write about.  

Shared Writing & Mini Lesson: The teacher and students negotiate a message which the teacher records. The teacher invites studentsí assistance and suggestions in creating text. This could be a class story relating to the text read. The shared writing may address common needs observed during the roving conference, or from assessment of the studentsí writing. The mini-lesson may be designed to encourage students to write independently, using phonemic awareness. Students should learn to self-monitor by checking each word and each sentence to ensure a meaningful message. As students produce lengthier texts, they will benefit from mini-lesson about story structure (beginning, middle and end).  

Topic Discussion: There should be a discussion of story topics before the student begins to write their story. The teacher should record some of the topics of the black board. Encourage ideas and elaborate topics and titles. Students may share ideas and titles.  

Independent Writing: A major goal of the writing program is to promote independent writing. During independent writing, topics and forms are always self-selected. Students rely strongly on personal experiences, including information from being read to, and from their own reading. Students may write independently about they are doing or learning in the classroom.  

Writing Conferences: A writing conference is a brief conversation with a student or a group of students about their writing. During the conference, the teacher engages the students in a problem solving process that can be applied to writing (ex. the spelling of a word, letter formation, clarification, about the use of a capital letter, punctuation, how to use resources, or what happens next in the story). The writing problems to be solved, change as the year evolves.

Students at this stage of development are not expected to rewrite stories for display purposes. At the beginning of this stage, students rarely make revisions to their writing. However, revision may occur when the student determines that what is produced does not make sense. Examples of revision might be the insertion or deletion of a word, or the alteration of a word ending. 

Sharing The Writing: The teacher conveys an important message to students by scheduling a few minutes for students to share their writing. To facilitate time management, it is recommended that different audiences be used to accommodate children who wish to share their writing. Sharing may occur with a partner, a small group or the whole class. Additional forums may include different audiences, displays in the classroom and elsewhere in the school, school or classroom newspaper, resource center, or school or class website.

Assessment & Evaluation: Teachers should keep anecdotal records of writing behaviors as well as information gathered from studentsí writing samples. Checklists should be updated regularly by the teacher.  

Self Assessment: Students may be asked to identify their best piece of writing and give a reason for their choice. The teacher or the student may record this reflection, attach it to the piece of writing, then place it in the studentsí portfolio.