Writers Workshop, just the beginning…

This week I have been reading “About the Author: Writing Workshop with our Youngest Writers” by Katie wood Ray and Lisa B. Cleveland. Writers Workshop is something I used in my student teaching and really enjoyed using. I did not learn about it in my college classes I learned about it as I was going by following the book while student teaching. We do not use Writers Workshop here in Alleghany County as a rule, but I really like the setup of Writers Workshop and want to use it in my class.

Chapter 1 focuses on The Writers Workshop and specifically on a first grade classroom that is getting ready to be tested on their writing. I want the ideas I’m letting students make their own book and this chapter tells us that making stuff is developmentally appropriate. It elaborates on the fact that children love to make books, projects, and other things and that these this process of writing is teaching them. Things such as making books teaches students about title-pages, genres , pictures in books, narratives, illustrations how bold font is used, how texting me manipulated and much more. This chapter also teaches us that letting children like books teaches them how to read like writers and live like writers. When students make their own writing piece they learn to appreciate books more that they read as well in my opinion.

Chapter 2 focuses on what you need in order to be able to set up Writers Workshop successfully in your classroom. In talks about how children need as much experience as possible when writing and that they need support also. This book talks about setting up your classroom and offering space is for your students to work in.  We do something called daily 5 in our classroom. There is a Writing Center as part of the students selections. In this Center students have the freedom to make books, write letters to friends, make a card for their mom dad or teacher, free write in there notebook, anything their little Minds can imagine. As long as they are writing I let them have the freedom to choose what they would like to do. We also have a 30 minute block of riding each morning where students are taught in whole great with a mini lesson then work independently on a writing piece. Setting up the classroom to be inviting for Young is the easy part. Finding the time to work this into your day is where I think each teacher struggles. I am excited to continue reading this book as well as my other book my receive as part of this class.


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Sharing Writing -The First Grade Way!

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Most people will agree that writing is meant to be heard and shared.  Sharing motivates and drives my young writers to do their best.   I like to have a set writing and sharing time in first grade but this year our schedule does not allow for much whole group writing instruction.  I have to carve out little bits of time each day.  Our sharing time is usually after or during snack.  I am teaching my students what good writers do and what good listeners do.  It is just as important to be a good listener as it is to be a good writer.  I give my students feedback after they share a piece of writing and I model for the students how they could give their classmates feedback.

We have practiced making “I noticed statements”.  A child might say, “I noticed that you used the word magenta instead of just pink.” A child might also say what they “liked” about a classmates writing.  Someone might say, “I really like your drawing of the zoo and I like how you described the zebras.” But the most helpful comments that I have taught my students to make are “I wonder comments”.  A student might say, “I wonder what the characters are going to do now.”  Many first graders do not add details to their writing and their classmates many times will ask questions about the writing that will spark the author to add more detail.  Of course, first graders don’t always use the words “I wonder” or “I notice”.  They may instead say, “I have a question about your story”.
Or they might say, “I think it would be great if you told us what happened next or tell us what the character looks like.”  This kind of dialogue encourages editing and revision.


As a teacher, my goal is to become skilled at guiding my students to produce quality writing while still valuing every piece a child does no matter what writing stage they might be in.  This is tough because the children in my class are developing as writers at different speeds just as children are developing as a reader at different rates.  I think if we are not careful we send the message to kids that their writing is not good enough or not as good as someone else.  I am researching how other writing educator’s conference with children.  I want to continue to give quality feedback to students and to model how they can cheer each other on to better writing.

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Some of my writers are writing two or three sentences about a topic and some of my writers are writing a whole page.


If I was a super hero I would Save the World!!!

…..and some of my writers are just drawing pictures with a caption or one sentence.

I love first grade!