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“I like how we get to use writing pens and I also like how Ms. Quash explains what we do in writer’s workshop and we can go do it. I really like when I finish my pages.”—Maxine, Kindergartner
“I have seen my students love and embrace writing as a way to express their voice and ideas. Through this powerful tool, students are experiencing the writing process and embracing their new role as real authors.”—Ms. Morrison, Kindergarten Teacher
“I love writer’s workshop, because when I write I can write about what I want. I can choose what my feelings are and I can take my time and do drafts until I’m ready to do my final paper.” —Raiya, Second Grader
“I really like the structure of writing workshop. There are small lessons that set students up to learn something and then try it. Students get an opportunity to practice skills by writing every day, and we are always building on something previously learned. Instruction is authentic, and I am seeing success from all students.” —Ms. Francis, Fourth Grade Teacher and Writing Lead
“Working with Principal Smith to bring Writing Workshop to Ludlow-Taylor is one of the best decisions I’ve made as an educator. I thoroughly enjoy supporting our dynamic teachers through collaboration, coaching, feedback, professional development sessions, and lesson modeling. We are learning together as a community of educators with the motivation and desire to better our practice. The highlight of my day is spending time in classrooms and watching our young authors express their thoughts in writing. From elaboration to craft, amazing growth is evident in student work. Our little ones are excited to write, and I am thrilled to watch it in action!” —Ms. Addison, Assistant Principal and Writing Lead
What is Writing Workshop?
Writing Workshop is a component of balanced literacy. Students write about their own lives, use a consistent process, work in authentic ways, and develop independence as writers. It was developed from the early work of Donald Graves, Donald Murray, and other teacher/researchers who found that coaching students to write for a variety of audiences and purposes was more effective than traditional writing instruction. This approach has been popularized by Lucy Calkins and others involved in the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University in New York City.
Why Writing Workshop?
Just as students learn to read best by reading, writers learn best by writing. To make the most progress, kids need ownership of their own writing, guidance from an adult writer, and the support of a community of fellow learners. Writing workshop gives kids the time to write by streamlining instructional moments. The workshop is broken into four components: Minilesson, Independent Writing, Conferring, and Share.
What’s Happening in Our Ludlow-Taylor Writing Workshops?
In Kindergarten, we shifted from "writing what we know" to writing true stories. Children think about events that happened to them, orally rehearse, and plan their stories. While putting their ideas in writing, children are working on showing important details in both pictures and words. One method children are learning is the use of speech bubbles.
In first grade, students are “Writing the Right Way!” First grade has been learning to bring their stories to life. Children are learning to bring action to their characters by learning to unfreeze the people and allowing their characters to speak through using quotation marks. Students are also learning to share in their stories how the characters think and feel. Finally, in an effort to enhance accuracy, children are learning to using classroom tools such as the Word wall and anchor charts to help them with spelling words.
In second grade, we have recently split into Writer’s Circles. This split allows for students to feel a level of success, regardless of where they are in the progression of writing. We are also preparing our final pieces for our Publishing Party.
In third grade, students are busy revising their personal narratives. They are using narrative leads and endings to hook the reader and dialogue to explain the moral.
In fourth grade, students have been working on writing a fiction story. They are developing strong story ideas, planning the overall plot using story arcs, and crafting a dynamic ending to their fiction stories. In particular, they are making sure that they write an ending that resolves the struggle in their stories.
In fifth grade, students are focusing on writing small moments. Students began the unit with generating ideas of how to come up with topics to write about. Then, we moved onto writing narratives that include dialogue. As we moved deeper into our writing, we wrote narratives that "show not tell" and focused on the main event/emotion of the narrative. Currently, students are revising and editing their favorite narratives making sure they are bringing forth the story arc in preparation for our Publishing Party.
Publishing parties are writing celebrations for our young authors. Students showcase a chosen writing piece that they are proud of. This piece has been taken through the writing process during writing workshop. Parents, staff, and other students are invited to read students’ writing, ask questions, and share compliments. Each teacher has their own creative way of hosting publishing parties.