Writer's Workshop is held everyday for 60 minutes. During this time, students are required to organize their thoughts using the steps of the writing process and the 6 traits of writing. The writing process is composed of the following elements: pre-writing, drafting, responding, editing, revising, publishing, and sharing. Writer's Workshop in the School District of Fort Atkinson is aligned with the new Common Core State Standards. Each student will be exploring three different genres throughout each quarter. As the year progresses, new genre characteristics and features will be spiraled back to our original learning.
Daily Structure of Writer’s Workshop
The goal of the mini-lesson is for students to become skilled with the writing process. The teacher plans an appropriate, daily mini-lesson that meets the needs of the writers in the classroom by explicitly teaching a “how to” lesson that focuses on a specific goal to make the strategy or thinking of a writer “visible.”
The mini-lesson format may be one of the following:
1. The teacher and students draft a text together to create a shared writing piece. The teacher is the scribe and together, they draft, revise, or edit the message depending on the goal.
2. The teacher models a “how to” (strategy) by writing aloud (thinking aloud about his/her thinking processes while drafting, revising, or editing).
3. The teacher uses a mentor text (book/literature) to identify and discuss the power of the author’s thinking (i.e. organization, craft, word choice etc.).
4. The teacher uses a student’s partially or fully completed writing piece to highlight an identified skill or strategy.
After the mini-lesson, the students engage in a guided practice activity so they can apply the skill/strategy that was just taught to their own writing.
The goal of independent writing time is to provide time for students to develop a habit of writing and view themselves as writers by writing daily inside and outside of school. Students have the opportunity to choose their own topics for writing within genres and apply what they have learned independently.
Writing Conferences and Small Group Writing Instruction
While students engage in independent writing, the teacher conducts one-to-one conferences or holds small, guided writing groups to provide feedback and lift students’ ability within a targeted writing skill/strategy. The goal is to broaden students’ knowledge base as writers and strengthen their proficiency with the writing process so they can be successful writers when writing independently.
The goal of sharing is for students to see themselves as writers and value other writers’ feedback. The teacher provides an opportunity for all students to come together as a community of learners to reflect on their writing. Students have the opportunity to share their writing and receive feedback and learn from other writers.
The 3 Common Core Genres:
- Persuasive Writing
- Narrative Writing
- Non-Fiction/Informational Writing
The 6 Traits of Writing
Ideas~ The main message (idea) and the details that support it.
When Prewriting, to develop ideas we:
Find/decide on an idea
Focus the idea
Develop the idea by using details
Sentence Fluency~ How words & phrases flow through a piece of writing.
When drafting & revising, a writer purposefully:
- Crafts well-built sentences
- Varies sentence lengths
- Captures smooth & rhythmic flow
- Breaks the rules to create fluency
Organization~ The order or sequence of writing from the beginning to the middle to the end.
When drafting, we purposefully think about the organization of our ideas & details to:
- Draft a lead that hooks the audience
- Order the middle with transition words
- Draft a satisfying ending
Word Choice~The use of powerful words & phrases to clearly express & deepen the meaning of our IDEAS.
When drafting and revising, we think about word choice & use:
- Sparkling Verbs (action words)
- Juicy Adjectives (description words)
- Specific Nouns (people, places, things)
Voice~The tone of your writing, the personal stamp & force behind the words that prove a real person is speaking & cares about what's being said.
While drafting and revising we purposefully:
- Establish a tone (sad, cheerful, humorous)
- Convey the purpose
- Create a connection with the audience
- Take risks to create voice
Conventions~The editing standards we use in writing to make it correct & easy to read.
When editing our papers we:
- Check spelling
- Use punctuation
- Use capitalization
- Use correct grammar
- Check for indentation of paragraphs
*Information & graphics taken from: http://www.edina.k12.mn.us/