You are currently browsing the archives for the Writer’s Workshop category.
June 13th, 2013
The following speech was given by Burgess LePage, an eighth grade English language arts teacher at STRIVE preparatory schools in Denver, Co. No doubt this brave speech will inspire you as much as it did me, and most importantly, her students. Good afternoon scholars, staff, and families. I am Read more »
December 17th, 2012
As our hearts ache for the community of Newtown, CT (and all of their loved ones), I want to acknowledge the heroic measures you will be taking to find the just-right words to reassure, the nods and smiles to comfort, the gentle acknowledgements of the need to Read more »
June 6th, 2012
From my latest newsletter:
I'll admit it. I'm excited about the Common Core. Why? Here are just a handful of reasons:
1. It's both developmental and demanding, honoring the abilities of children at each grade level, but requiring compositions that demonstrate a deeper understanding of craft Read more »
January 10th, 2012
From this week's newsletter:
I’m eager to try something new this year. From time to time, I will present student writing in this newsletter. I'll demonstrate one way I might respond to the writer in a conference, and then list mini-lessons designed to help this student (and others Read more »
April 7th, 2011
After a visit to High Bridge Elementary School in New Jersey, teacher Lucille Arnold shared this fifth-grade student essay with me (reprinted here with permission). I know you will be as impressed with Maddie's ability to articulate her love of writing as I was:
Maddie Kearney March 7, 2011 ILA Read more »
November 2nd, 2010
I have been thrilled to learn that two of my books have been chosen for One School, One Book programs (Andy Shane Hero at Last and the forthcoming Small as an Elephant)! I knew that my friend, author Jacqueline Davies, has had the opportunity to participate in these fabulous events and Read more »
November 1st, 2010
Welcome to your first day of the YesWriWith challenge! I hope you all feel proud of the words you recorded today!
Andrea, I can empathize with the challenge of fitting writer’s workshop into a half-day kindergarten program. Do you have learning centers? If so, have children move through the writing center, Read more »
October 26th, 2010
Perhaps you have heard of NaNoWriMo. During National Novel Writing Month authors give themselves the challenge of writing a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30. Many a writer has accomplished a first draft in this time.
I thought it would be fun to establish our own writing Read more »
October 12th, 2010
Learning to write is as complex as learning to read or to understand mathematics. It requires a good deal of exposure to exemplars and practice, practice, practice. Learning to write teaches us how to think. The stronger we become in our abilities to communicate a message in writing, the more we are Read more »
September 28th, 2010
Sometimes. But with writer’s workshop we assess our students’ application of skills on a daily basis. Here are some of the ways in which we assess:
1. We plan interactive mini-lessons where students show us what they know
September 21st, 2010
This is a common question teachers ask when transitioning from traditional writing lessons to writer’s workshop. Let’s take a look at these two formats.
Traditionally teachers have had students write many products (all students writing on the same topic) and graded most of them. Or, over weeks, teachers Read more »
September 14th, 2010
I recently spent two days with teachers at the Lakehurst Elementary School in New Jersey. It was an intense and enormously rewarding time, and I’m looking forward to future visits. While there, teacher Kathy Bixby secured this nifty gadget for holding her writing center supplies (as you Read more »
August 16th, 2010
Last week Jodee wrote: “ I have just read your book and am so excited to use your ideas in my classroom. I have been trying to find a way to do writing workshop that fit me and this is it!” She also had a number of specific questions about Read more »
July 24th, 2010
I recently spent a week in Omaha, Nebraska conducting writing workshop inservices. The Omaha teachers were fabulous and had so much to offer! It was a high-energy, roll-up-our-sleeves week in which I was definitely both the teacher and the learner.
I was reminded of what a gift a two-day inservices can be. (I worked with teachers Read more »
June 28th, 2010
I am posting my article about Writing Centers from my weekly primary newsletter in hopes that you will share your list! What works well for you? (scroll down)
When considering what to post this week, I stumbled upon a wonderful article Read more »
May 23rd, 2010
As promised, I want to share another lesson I presented at High Bridge Elementary. Lynn H. requested a lesson that would help her fourth graders write the middle of their stories or personal narratives. There are oodles of lessons for teaching beginnings and endings, but how do we guide students through Read more »
May 13th, 2010
Last month I was back in High Bridge, NJ, one of my very favorite places to be, demonstrating writing lessons and student conferences in the classroom. Now here is a school (dedicated principal, talented and highly committed teachers, engaged students) that can’t help but make me look good. Nevertheless, I will admit it, I am always nervous Read more »
April 20th, 2010
Next week, my second young adult novel will be out. I don’t think there was any intention on my publisher’s part to release this book during National Poetry Month, but it’s apropro just the same. You see, Nola and her younger sister Song speak in a special language — the language Read more »
March 4th, 2010
I’m recently back from presenting a school inservice and an author day at the Kateri School in the Kahnawake Mohawk Reservation in Quebec. Second graders in Ms Fran’s class created a stunning welcome banner — my first in the Mohawk language. I just have to share:
Read more »
February 18th, 2010
Tomorrow is the publication date of No More "I’m Done!" and I couldn’t be more excited. Thank you to all of who’ve written to express your anticipation.
This book explores the ways in which we teachers, with the very best of intentions, train our young students to become dependent rather than Read more »
January 24th, 2010
I just learned the meaning of this word, decalogue, this week. First I stumbled across the website of NNWP Teacher Consultant, Corbett Harrison who provides wonderful mini-lessons to use with mentor texts. He recommends reading chapter four of Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn Dixie, which contains a wonderful decalogue — a list Read more »
January 11th, 2010
I received an email from a teacher this week who wrote:
I work with a great group of 2nd grade students who love to write. However, their spelling needs improvement. Do you have any suggestions?
Formal programs help students to see spelling patterns and to learn spelling rules Read more »
January 6th, 2010
Oh, how we embraced publishing students’ work in the early years of writer’s workshop! Many schools had a “publishing center” where parent volunteers came to type and bind student work. Covers were cardboard, decorated with wallpaper samples, held together with duct tape. Although the school where I taught did not have its own Read more »
January 1st, 2010
I have always loved January. I love the calmness after the holidays. I love that there are almost four solid weeks of non-interrupted teaching. I love that the month is all about setting and reaching personal goals.
Perhaps one of your goals this year was to launch (or more fully Read more »
March 23rd, 2009
“Teaching voice is easier than I thought,” a fourth grade teacher recently said after watching a modeled lesson. I knew exactly what he meant. Voice is the hardest trait to define, but even very young writers recognize it when they see it.
I introduce voice through art, and begin with Read more »
March 6th, 2009
Why do we write? To communicate, and communication requires audience. Without audience our desire to write and to improve our writing diminishes.
There are a number of ways we can offer audience in the classroom. We can invite students to participate in author’s chair. We can project or read Read more »
January 17th, 2009
So once you’ve introduced students to the pattern of three in literature, and they come to you regularly pointing out the pattern in the books they’re reading, how do you help them to use this pattern in their own writing?
I introduce this graphic organizer from Reading Response Read more »
January 6th, 2009
Perhaps you think of it as a circular ending, but one favorite technique for ending pieces – particularly short pieces – is by having the ending reflect the beginning. Here are three of my favorite examples.
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox Beginning: There was once a small boy Read more »
December 30th, 2008
So, we’ve arrived at the topic of conclusions. Endings are hard. Let me say that again: ENDINGS ARE HARD!
Last week I wrote the ending of my newest middle grade novel. Observe the writer at work: she’s fidgety, she’s irritable, her brain feels incapable of functioning. She paces, she eats (no, not fruit and veggies), and if Read more »
December 16th, 2008
Okay, so your students have come to recognize that, yes, story often begins with a character who wants something. Does this mean the character gets what he or she wants right off the bat? No way! (Not unless the character, like King Midas, is meant to learn to Read more »
December 9th, 2008
Allow me to model my writing process for a moment. Every time I begin a new piece, I ask myself two questions:
1. What do I want to write about? 2. How am I going to organize my writing?
Once I know the answer to these two questions, I can go confidently Read more »
November 29th, 2008
Rose mentioned “Quiet Ten.” Today, after the abundance of Thanksgiving (food, conversation, catching-up, laughter), Quiet Ten seems like a perfect topic.
What is Quiet Ten? It’s a technique I developed while teaching first grade that works beautifully for all ages. (Though in Kindergarten, it tends to be Quiet Five!) Read more »
November 19th, 2008
Time and time again, teachers tell me their students resist revision. Of course they do. Deep down all of us wish words flowed magically from our fingertips with no further work required. Unfortunately, it rarely works that way.
Here’s what revision is not:
Copying over a draft by hand. Read more »
November 14th, 2008
I recently heard from Nancy, a teacher in Bangor, Maine, asking what types of resources I’d recommend attaching to fourth grade writing folders. Knowing that action brings energy to writing, I suggested she attach a list of lively verbs. It turns out that this is not an easy list to Read more »
November 11th, 2008
Rather than giving students a steady stream of writing prompts, I believe they should be choosing their own topics at least 75% of the time.
I know. I hear your protests:
But our students are assessed with writing prompts! They are, and so we are apt to follow this seemingly logical Read more »
November 6th, 2008
In Writer’s Workshop, the teacher never hears these two dreaded words, because in WW, there is no such thing as being done. Why not?
During Writer’s Workshop students are, simultaneously, at different stages of the writing process. They might be:
Prewriting (talking, drawing, webbing, completing a graphic organizer) Read more »
November 4th, 2008
Should you provide the students with journals or writing folders that contain loose paper? After kindergarten, I am a strong proponent of folders. That’s not to say that I don’t use any journals: I love dialogue journals, response to literature journals and learning logs. However, during writing time, I prefer Read more »