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)