Workshop Wednesday: Tools for Setting Up Workshops - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom

Workshop Wednesday: Tools for Setting Up Workshops

I made Gary (AKA Scrappy Guy) pick two numbers between 1 and 17... He chose 9 and 17! Congrats Holly and Cheryl! You won Scrappy Guy's Pin It to Win It!! :) Cheryl- I need your email address so he can email you your prize! You were a no-reply blogger... I hope everyone who is a no-reply blogger will visit my techy tips at the top of this page and change it! :o)
Time for July's Workshop Wednesday topic! This month, we are sharing some tools for setting up Writer's Workshop, Reader's Workshop, and Math Workshop. Feel free to share in any format you'd like! Maybe you want to share about a resource book you are reading, or maybe you have to make some things in advance... or MAYBE you just have to talk through your thought process of getting the workshop to come together! Please just keep your posts about the set-up for now (think, "pre-kiddos") because student routines and "first weeks" will come later! :)

This week I'm going to focus on:
I have been re-reading Aimee Buckner's Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook. It's been a great way to prepare my mind for Writer's Workshop this year. Some of it is verifying what I already know and do, and some is helping me to refocus on what is necessary to plan for. For example... I've always had my students use a notebook, and I shared with you in this post how I have them decorate the covers. This is to help them take ownership of their notebook and make it special (not just ANOTHER notebook). But Aimee gave me something to think about: what will I have my students keep in and keep out of their notebook? She suggests keeping daily entries, collections for topics, strategies for revisions, and editing and grammar notes in the notebook, and all drafting, revisions, editing, and final copies OUT. I'm definitely on board with that. You know I love having my students write their drafts on their yellow notepads!
I will be using my notebooks for all of the things she suggested, and also for Mentor Sentences. They will turn from the FRONT for entries, seed ideas, "you try it," and mini-lesson notes, and from the BACK for Mentor Sentences (so the last page of the book will be the first week of Mentor Sentences). That way, they have everything in one place for their writing- Mentor Sentences provide them such excellent examples of sentences that they should be trying out in their writing!

Another thing to consider before starting Writer's Workshop with your students is YOUR expectations of teacher and students. She gives them to parents and students so everyone is on the same page. *So doing this!!* She has some really good ones that I actually hadn't really thought about before reading her book, such as students may fold over any entry they deem too personal to share with the teacher, but they may not staple, glue, or tape the page shut. These entries do not count towards their required number of entries per week. The teacher, in turn, is expected to respect the folded entries, unless there is a reason to believe the student is being hurt, is going to hurt someone else, or is going to hurt himself.

I also want my students to take more ownership of what they are going to improve in their writing. I found this chart on Pinterest (of course) that I will be implementing this year!

I will most likely use clothespins... maybe. I haven't actually created it yet, so we'll see what works! :o) But the students will move their name each time we start a new piece (or maybe some might choose to stay if they aren't feeling confident) and that goal will be what we focus on in our conferences, small group mini-lessons, etc. I'm pretty excited about it!

I hope the things I talked about today help you with your Writer's Workshop! I'd love to hear how you get prepared to begin Writer's Workshop, either in your own post (link it up here!) or in the comments below! One thing I love about the blogging community is that we can all learn so much from each other! :o)

Also, I wanted to let everyone know I am participating in a 4th of July Sale!
July 3rd and July 4th, everything in my TPT store will be 20% off! So if you missed out on the Mentor Sentence Sale last week... you can take advantage of the sale today and tomorrow! I also just updated my Division Unit! So now, all three units are fresh and "new" in my Numbers and Operations Bundle (which is on sale, too, so it's actually like getting the three units for the price of two)!

Don't forget to leave feedback for your purchases! You earn credits for MORE products! :o)


  1. Okay, my major take-away from your post is going to be a biggie in my classroom! I love the goal setting aspect of what skills to focus on. I think I'll let it be self-selected goals but they will need to prove they worked on it in that particular piece! Love it. :) Thanks for hosting. I've already pinned the chart.
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  2. Love your post! Love the writing goals chart! Love the book suggestion! Are you seeing a theme here? Also, I am your newest follower!

    :) Nicole
    Tadpole Tidbits

  3. Great, great post! I love the writing chart too.. I think I could get it to work with both sections of my communications classes too. Totally stealing that idea as well as some others that you have shared!

    Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road

  4. I love the anchor chart poster! I pinned it-twice. It's been a long time since I read Aimee Buckner's book. Makes me think I should probably reread it. Since my district wants students using technology I had my students use their blogs as their Reader's/Writer's notebooks. It worked! Some posts they chose to keep private while the majority were published.

    Life WIth Middle Schoolers

  5. I've been trying to figure out where I want my kiddos to do their Mentor Sentences. I set up my notebook a little differently than you do, but I will be able to have the kiddos work in their "Writer's Secrets" part of their notebook. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  6. That writing goals chart is beautiful! I think it's always a good idea to have a big reminder what the students are working towards :-)


  7. I love that writing chart, pinned it immediately and starting thinking about how to use it. I also put Notebook Know How in my cart. My brain is spinning with all of these ideas, but in a good way!

  8. That writing goals chart is a great way to hold them accountable. I'll have to check out the book you suggested because I really need to beef up writers workshop. Thanks for all the great tips and for hosting.:)

    iTeach 1:1

  9. I like the part of sharing your expectations for the teacher and students. It will be helpful for parents to know this too. Thanks for sharing!
    Conversations in Literacy

  10. I love Aimee Buckner and her "Notebook Know How" is a must read for anyone looking to use writer's notebooks in their classroom. I would repin your pin of the writing goals chart but I already did the other day! :)

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  11. What a great linky! I will certainly add when I have time. Going to meet friends at the beach! :) I am your newest follower and love to find other 4th grade bloggers!

  12. I also used the "front" and "back" of the writer's notebook last year for different purposes. Now, with your wonderful mentor sentences, I have to figure out where I will put that. I still have a lot of work to do to get ready for next year! Thanks so much for hosting this linky and sharing your thoughts:)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  13. I really like the writing goals chart... Thanks so much for sharing and the opportunity to link up!

    Sarah @ Hoots N Hollers

  14. Love the idea of the writing goals chart...what a great way to hold students accountable. I am really in need of stepping up my "game" in writing workshop and this seems to be a great start-giving students more of a purpose or goal for their writing each day.

    Would Amy's Buckner's book be a good read for me with the little ones? Or is it more geared towards the big kids? I am need of some summer reading on writing to get me ready for next year!

    Thanks for hosting a great linky!

    Learning to the Core


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