Writers' Workshop has a similar format to Readers' Workshop. It begins with a brief instructional lesson with the whole class, time for students to write, and then ends up with a sharing time. Students are thinking about writing, talking about writing, reading about writing, but mostly... doing the writing during this time! Writing Workshop includes instruction through shared, interactive, or independent writing, writing process, and grammar. Below is a list of possible Units of Study and a description of our Writer's Workshop procedures.
Read Aloud: I begin each writer's workshop with a read aloud that serves a mentor text for our Unit of Study. This read aloud also serves as a springboard for our mini-lesson.
Mini-Lesson: Every day the children participate in a mini-lesson. These lessons are where I can raise a concern, model a technique or introduce a strategy. My mini-lessons are based on what I see the children do within their own writing and are usually short and direct.
Independent Writing: After our group mini-lesson, the children are sent of to write. The children may be working in their Writer's Notebook to collect ideas, draft chunks, or practice a technique. The children may also choose to conference with a peer or teacher during this time. As our Unit of Study nears its end, the children choose one of the ideas they collected. They commit to this piece and get it ready to be "sent out into the world" by working it through the stages of the writing process (drafting, revising, editing and publishing.)
Share Time: At the close of Writer's Workshop we gather together as a writing community and share our writing. Children are in charge of what they want to share. They may ask advice, read aloud a chunk, or demonstrate how they practiced a technique.
Conferring: While the children are busy during Independent Writing, I use this time to conference with children. I focus my conferences on how the children are doing with the strategies and skills presented during mini-lessons, answer questions they may have about their writing, listen to them read a chunk aloud, and offer a new way of thinking about their writing.
Publishing: When a Unit of Study comes to a close, the children have committed to a piece to publish and "send out to the world." We have a writing celebration at the close of each unit of study where the children share their piece with classmates.
Traits of Good Writing
Ideas- what the story is about and using relevant details to make the content clear
Organization- bold beginnings that grab the reader's attention, mighty middles that are in a logical sequence with good transitions, and excellent endings that sum up the main ideas
Conventions- proper punctuation, capitals, and stretch out words so they are readable
Sentence Fluency- sentences begin differently, have different lengths of sentences, and move with ease from one sentence to the next.
Word Choice- creating detailed pictures in reader's minds by using strong precise language
Voice- clearly expressing your thoughts with a personal touch
The Common Core has determined four genres that would serve as the foundation of our writing curriculum: opinion, narrative, poetry, and report.
In second grade these genres of writing are emphasized:
Personal Narrative:Students learn to study published texts to learn writing techniques to try in their own narratives.
Opinion:Students write letters and essays about their opinions about characters, scenes, or whole books using examples from the texts.
Reports: Students write procedural texts, descriptions and analyses about experiments, then use that to write science-based information books.
Poetry: Students will deepen their understanding of poetry.