Here are my notes from The Writing Workshop by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi.
- Most kids experience schools as a series of tasks, dittos, assignments, tests--things that are administered to them. Writing workshop turns the table and puts kids in charge...engage in responsive teaching rather than relying on present lesson plans.
- Writing workshop puts kids on the spot and makes them responsible for their learning.
- "Flow": optimal learning condition for human beings according to Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow is when an individual enters a "flow zone" in which s/he loses track of time and becomes totally engaged in the task...Create conditions that allow students to occupy the zone when they can work/play with language, and learn as they do it.
- Students need to have frequent, predictable time set aside for them to write. Minimum of 3 days, 1 hour each. 4-5 days is better.
- Student choice is prevalent.
- Students decide when a piece of writing is finished.
- Students set their own agenda and pace.
- While teachers may determine what gets taught, only the student can decide what will be learned.
- Components of Writing Workshop:
- 5-10 minute minilesson
- 35-45 minutes of writing time
- 10-20 minutes of share time
Component #1: MiniLesson - Various categories of a minilesson include the following: Procedural, Writers' Process, Qualities of good writing, and Editing Skills
Component #2: Writing Time - Students work on writing projects they have set out for themselves. Rough drafting, planning, re-reading, proofreading, conferring with other students. Teachers confer with students.
Component #3: Sharing Time
Share sessions direct students to act in ways that will help them when they are conferring one-on-one with peers.
- A Meeting place
- Place for materials/tools
- Carefully arranged desks or tables.
- Short-term goals for writing workshops
- Getting students to have writing time
- Establishing a safe environment so that kids can take risks in their writing
- Setting up a workable management system to handle the flow of paper, folders and so forth.
- "Choice leads to voice" John Pouton
- Safe Environment
- Give specific praise
- Let primary children draw
- Read aloud "from the heart" pieces of writing
- Use a Writer's Notebook
- Write with your student
- Workable Classroom Management
- Finished Box: acknowledges people finish work at different times, asks teachers to review writing piece.
- Unfinished writing folder:
- Color coded by group/table
- Personalized list of writing ideas
- Topics to Write about....
- I'm an expert at...
- Things I will always Remember
- Topics I feel deeply about
- Kinds of Writing i would like to try
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