What is Writers' Workshop?
It is a format that provides structure to support
children learning to write. The workshop provides for 60 minutes of activities
that are designed to teach youngsters what good writers do to help them learn
to write. The students learn to generate writing using self-selected topics,
work with others to revise and refine their writing, as well as practice
author's craft, skills, grammar, and conventions. There are four genres of
writing taught within the Writers' Workshop: Informational/Report, Narrative,
Procedural, and Response to Literature.
What does the class period look like during
The Workshop contains three parts: an Opening, a
Work Session, and a Closing.
During this time, the teacher teaches a 5-10 minute
mini-lesson that brings the entire class together as a whole group for a
single writing focus.
During this 40-45 minute session, the students go
through the writing process: plan, draft, confer, revise, edit, and publish.
The Closing is 5-10 minutes. During this time the
students gather together to share in the Author's Chair what they have learned
What drives the Writers' Workshop?
Each grade level has a set of internationally
benchmarked standards that provide a framework for instruction. They also have
a grade level specific scoring rubric for each genre of writing. The
mini-lessons are chosen through on-going assessment that often includes
diagnostic assessment of different writing genres, looking at the
class-generated rubric to decide when the writing is good enough, and
anecdotal notes from writing conferences.
*Portions of this overview are from Chets
Creek Elementary School's "Writers' Workshop Overview," © 2006.
Thank you to the staff and students of
Chets Creek Elementary in Jacksonville, Florida who allowed us to visit and so
generously shared their knowledge with us.