Two years ago, together with twelve friends I began a journey to become a Reading Specialist. We jumped in and swam. We have learned SO much about how to grow young readers and writers. This year we have been challenged to look critically at the writing instruction in our classrooms and schools. It has been several years since we have implemented any systematic writing. I felt that my students were capable of producing quality writing with the right instruction and time devoted to the task. This year, with Dr. Beth Buchholz, we had the privilege of exploring quality writing instruction and materials. She was able to provide volumes of resources for us to explore and try out in our classrooms. I fell in love with the idea of Writer’s Workshop and the amazing units of study by Lucy Calkins. I was able to try out many of the aspects of writer’s workshop in my classroom this year. Due to our current schedule, I was not able to devote a long uninterrupted time for writing but even with the segmented writer’s workshop, my students grew tremendously.
Next year, my hope is to be able to have a true writer’s workshop in my classroom. After seeing the motivation from my students this year to write and write a lot! I can’t imagine teaching writing any other way. I want other teachers to know that students at all ages and skill levels can produce quality writing and they love it! The writer’s workshop in my classroom was the most exciting time of the day. Kids begged to write more and couldn’t wait to share. I hope to have administrators who will share in this excitement and come and see the great things first graders can do. I know that I will probably have to purchase the Lucy Calkins writing units myself but it will be worth it. As a teacher, there is no better feeling than knowing that you have successfully taught life changing skills. Teaching students to read and write so they can become literate adults is the job of public school and I want to do my part.
So to my friends who have shared this journey, thank you for your dedication to our profession. You are all wonderful teachers and I know that you are going to challenge your students to be readers and writers. I know that you will search for the best practices to use in your classroom and you will find interventions for those that are struggling. Let’s don’t forget why we chose to be teachers and remember who ready wins when we provide the best instruction for kids.
If you are interested in reading about some of the exciting things that I experienced with my students through writer’s workshop this year, click on the link below.