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Tips for Writer's Workshop



There should be a time for writing every day. Your students need to know that you value writing, and the best way to do that is to make sure that students write each and every day.


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Let’s talk about how this looks in my classroom. We begin with a mini lesson. This is where I model.   How and what I model looks much different at the beginning of the year than it does towards the end. There is a high level of scaffolding for the first half of first grade, particularly when we are starting a new genre. We wrap up the mini lesson with sharing out what we learned.

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Next, students need to orally rehearse what they are going to write.  Sometimes I call a few friends to share ideas and move onto elbow partners and other times we go right to elbow partners. It is very important that you do not skip this part!  We can’t expect children to write what they can’t say.  Telling a partner gets all the kinks out before they begin to write.

With all types of writing, I try to give students easy ways to remember the structure of that type of writing.  It may be a few words, an anchor chart, or telling their story across their hand. You have to find out what works for the students you have in your classroom. Here are some examples of how I use it in the classroom.

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We can tell personal narratives across our hand: thumb is characters and setting, pointer is beginning, middle is the middle of the story, ring is the end and pinky is end with a feeling.
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This is from my opinion writing resource.
Then, students write.  When students start writing, I quickly go around the class and check in with everyone.  If anyone looks like they are struggling, I jot their name down on a sticky.  After I check in with the whole class, I call students over whose name was on the sticky.  If I didn’t write anyone’s name down, I call over a strategy group.

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I let my students write wherever they please.  Some choose to sit around the classroom but many prefer to stay at their table. 

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The most important thing about writing is allowing students time to share! They need to know that they are writing for an audience and students love to share! I take out the microphone for share time to engage all of my learners.  We end writer’s workshop with sharing every single day. 

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Writer’s Workshop is one of my favorite times of the day because it helps with building relationships. Writing is very personal and trust needs to exist to get students to do their best.  During share time, our classroom community grows stronger as we get to know the other people in our class through their stories.

I would love to hear what you do during writing time in your class.  Please leave me a comment.

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P.S.  If your students are anything like mine, this is the time of the year where conventions go to the wayside.  I have this anchor chart to share with you if your firsties need a reminder about capitals. And if you are looking for more writing goodies, check out my resources here.

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