Grade: Middle

#4495. Writer's Workshop

Reading/Writing, level: Middle
Posted Tue Jan 18 08:31:49 PST 2011 by Suzanne Moran (Suzanne Moran).
Writing Workshop
Bayview Education Centre, Canada
Materials Required: Notebooks, binder, page dividers, pens, pencils, sticky notes, quick write notebook
Activity Time: Based on a sixty minute a day, a six-day cyc
Concepts Taught: Writing Lessons based on active writing principals.

I use the writing workshop as an opportunity to Guide my students along a continuum. This workshop is intended to be a five week long [or more if you want ] teaching unit that invites students to write so that meaning is made through connections with, themselves, the world they live in and their favorite authors' styles of writing.
My GOALis to take students from dependency to independency, where they can make their own decisions about what they will write and how they will write.
An effective writing workshop is taught in increments over several weeks or broken into sections over the year. Conventions of sentence structure are taught early and followed by paragraphing and essay type writing. Vocabulary building and dictionary and thesaurus usage is mandatory throughout.
My Workshop

First Day Print out Rules and Expectations for students. Talk about what good writer's do. Hand out this print copy of Writer's Handbook. Give one to each student.

Mini-lesson Day1: Students should make a section in their portfolio called Write Space. In this section it is divided into two parts. Quick Writes and Notebook will be housed here.
Keeping a quick write section. Make this and hand out some of the prompts. Some days students write about their own topics and other days students will use the prompts. Explain these will be done as soon as they get to class. Sometimes they will be timed. But they begin writing as soon after they sit as they can.
Make a notebook section in using colored paper or dividers. Next I run off the sheet for daily log. This is kept in the notebook section. Here is where students actually record what they plan to write each day of writing workshop. The second page of the notebook section I have students write "WRITING TERRITORIES" and decorate the letters. This is where I teach about writing territories. I hand out the example sheet from Nancie's binder [or print off the bottom of my territories page] and we discuss what these are. Students begin jotting down a few writing territories.

Mini-Lesson Day 2: Ten Minute Quick Write. Go over Group Behavior Guidelines. Have students write at least two more things on their Writing Territories Sheet. I hand out information and discuss Memoir writing.

Mini-lesson Day 3: I begin with a quick write 10 minutes: Today is an independent day. However I began memoir writing yesterday so today they will begin their rough draft and finish it for homework. [Note: Students will do three or four independent rough drafts over the next few weeks but will only proofread, edit, peer edit, teacher conference one of these and redo a good draft. They will type it and hand it in to be marked.]

Min-Lesson Day 4: Begin with ten minute quick write. Begin the lesson on Voice. You can pick and choose what you want to do from this page of ideas.

Mini-lesson Day 5: Quick Write for ten minuets. Today's class in split in half. I have students share/edit the memoir with a classmate. Peers give suggestions and fill in a sheet. Each partner keeps their sheet next to the memoir. If that is the one they will choose for good draft, then they must use the suggestions from classmates.
The second half of class I have students look over their territory list and begin a piece of their own writing.

Mini-Lesson Day 6: Writing Territories- write for the whole class so that next day you have at least four or five pieces to begin editing and making better.

Day 1: Revising Day. Choose one piece of writing- this can be the memoir but doesn't have to- self-edit this piece, rewrite and improve the piece, you could have peer-editing, and teacher conference. You may write it on rough copy and add bits to it by using the back of the sheet. Follow the six-trait-revision-guide and revise your piece. Look it over and make sure you follow the teacher's instructions for handing work in. Students will finish this for homework or if you have a computer lab, they may finish revision at home and do the good copy in school tomorrow. [day 2]


The teacher supports the writer through conferencing and by addressing the needs of the writer. Students get to practice strategy lessons that the teacher has taught.

Mini-Lesson: Teach students to self-edit and to read their writing aloud with reader's ears.

Mini-lessons: Students practice writing with whole group or partners and learn to use the peer edit form and six traits revision checklist

Mini-lesson: Teach students to shape pieces of writing through peer conferencing.

Mini-Lesson: Teach students to use the Quick Write Strategy in several ways throughout the workshop.

Mini- lesson: Students learn what good writer's do.

Through whole group discussions, students practice the writing strategy and have a correct model to follow.

Teacher's through writing think_alouds should draw attention to the author's style, tone, and general attitude of writing. She should develop lessons that demonstrate How the author thought as he/she wrote or to point out How she/he would not have valued a certain way of thinking.

Mini-Lessons: Revisit conventions of writing often, display them around the room! Print off slide 19 for the activity.

The mini-lessons I use during workshop.