Implementing a Writer’s Workshop Margaret Adams Malden Public Schools
Agenda • What is a writer’s workshop? • Mini-Lessons • Types of mini-lessons • Parts of a mini-lesson • Observe a mini-lesson • Sources of mini-lessons • Writing a mini-lesson • Conferencing • Share
Procedural Turn and Talk • Sit knee to knee. • Quickly choose who will go first. • Partner 1 talks. • Partner 2 talks. • Speaker speaks loudly and clearly. • Listener listens with a calm body. • Everyone takes responsibility for their own listening.
Writer’s Workshop With a partner discuss… • How did you teach writing least year? • What were some of your successes? • What were some of your challenges?
Writing Process Writer’s Workshop Rehearse Draft Revise Edit Publish • Mini-lesson (5-10 minutes) • Independent Writing(20-30 minutes) • Conferencing (during independent writing) • Sharing (5-10 minutes) Total Writing Workshop Time (30 minutes)
Students’ Lives are Starting Points “The easiest way to help children love writing is to invite them to write about subjects they care about. When children have the opportunity and responsibility to choose their own subjects, they are not only much more apt to be invested in their writing, they are also much more apt to be knowledgeable about their topics. In addition, they can learn what it means to rediscover subjects through the process of writing about them.”
Conditions Predictable schedule Risk-free environment Tools available Area to meet as a group Author’s chair Approximations are encouraged Writers take responsibility for their writing
The Writing Space Meeting Area Work areas Writing Center Displays
Other Organization Issues • Writing folders or notebooks • Where to put completed drafts
Parts of a Mini-lesson Connection Teaching (I do!) Active Engagement (We do!) Link
What is a mini-lesson? Short focused lesson focused on a specific principle or procedure Teach students something important about writing and demonstrate an aspect of the writing process; however, mini-lessons are not all “telling.” Effective mini-lessons are interactive, with students contributing ideas and examples.
The Architecture of Effective Mini-lessons • Connection • Teaching • Demonstration • Explicitly telling & showing an example • Guided practice of inquiry • Active Engagement • Link
Connection (1 min.) Activate prior knowledge and previous teaching Motivate and prepare student for engagement Put your teaching point into the context of the students’ work State explicitly your teaching point
Teaching (4-5 minutes) • State explicitly your teaching point • Direct, explicit instruction through one of several methods • Think aloud • Use a piece of children’s literature • Use student writing • -Guided practice • Exaggerated Writing (what it looks like not to use a certain skill or strategy)
Active Engagement (3-4 minutes) • Students apply the strategy with support • Turn and talk • Writing Try-It (Use a prompt) • Adds accountability • Students know that in every mini-lesson they will be asked to try what is being taught.
Link (1 min.) Restate the teaching point, integrating it into student’s ongoing work Contextualize the teaching point within the larger picture of what students will be doing Transfer the teaching point to independent work
Share Reinforce and /or clarify the teaching point from the mini-lesson that began the workshop Opportunity to highlight student application of strategy taught Builds community Use turn and talk
Sample Mini-lessons While watching this mini-lesson, try to identify the component parts Connection Teaching (I do!) Active Engagement (We do!) Link
Language of a Connection Writers, can I have your eyes and attention? Looking back:Yesterday we worked on…Earlier this year…You remember how Michael…. Looking forward: “Today I want to teach you that (writers/fiction writers/essayists) often do such-and-such. Specifically, we do this by (a specific strategy).”
Language of Teaching • Pay attention to…. • Afterward, I’m going to ask you to…. • Watch and notice how I…. • Let me show you how I….
Language of Active Engagement • So, let’s try… • Partner one, write in the air…. • Partner two • Turn and talk about…. • Closure of Active Engagement: “I heard you (repeat the teaching point here). Listen to how (refer to one or two children who did the work well, providing yet more examples of good practice.”
Language of a Link • And so I’m hoping today and every day you’ll…. • Thumbs up if today you will….
Mini-lesson Types Management or Procedural Strategy Skill Craft
Procedural Mini-Lessons • How to use the supplies? Where to find supplies? With a partner name several more possible procedural mini-lessons.
Strategy Mini-Lessons • How to revise for meaning • How to add details • How to narrow a topic • How to eliminate unnecessary information • How to edit for spelling errors and self-correct • How to reread • How to organize your paper
Skills Mini-Lessons • How to use closing punctuation • How to use commas in a series • How to use pronouns correctly • How to use quotation marks
Craft Mini-Lessons • How to create a good lead • How to use figurative language • How to “show not tell” • How to create setting • How to use strong nouns and verbs
Anchor Charts • Anchor charts are tools for students to use during writers' workshop and aid children in remembering procedures and expectations. • Charts should be made with the children and added to throughout the year. • Teachers may remove when no longer needed. • Anchor charts need to be posted in the classroom where they are easily accessible to students.
Sources of Mini-lessons • Writing expectations for grade level • Reading Street • Other Materials
What is a conference? Discuss with a partner near you: • Why do we conference with writers? • What happens in a writing conference?
Writing Conferences “The point of a conference is to help students become better writers, not to fix up their drafts and make them better pieces.” Carl Anderson, How’s it Going?
Architecture of a Conference Research Decide Teach
Research Key questions: • What is the writer doing? • What does she or he intend to do next? Teacher – student questions: • What are you working on as a writer? • What are you trying to do as you write?
Decide Key questions: • What do you compliment? • What do you teach? Teacher-student language: • I love the way you… (Name what the child has done in a way that makes it transferable to other projects.)
Teach • Explicitly name something you believe will help this writer today and in the future. • Can I give you one tip that I think will help you not only with this piece but with future pieces? • Can I teach you one thing that I think will really, really help you a lot? • One thing that I do when I want to ... • Provide more detailed help if needed. • Name what the student has done and you hope he will do during future writing. (LINK)
Conferencing with Students While watching this writing conference, note what the teacher and student are doing in each of the component parts.
Choreographing Conferences • Where should we conference? • What tools do we need? • What do students need to have with them? • At what point in the writing process should we confer with students? • Who will initiate conferences? • How much time should we devote to each conference? Carl Anderson , 2000
What to Teach in a Writing Conference? Mini-lesson topics Quantity of writing + expectations for writing Writing process Strategies to help move students forward