There are a lot of things we do differently in school than when I was in first grade. One of these things is Writing Workshop. I do not know about you, but there was a lot of sentence writing, sentence diagramming and the like when I was in early elementary school. With Writing workshop, we go over a lot of the same concepts, but in a way that is much more meaningful for the students. They are immersed in the writing process and learn from the examples of some great authors.
The typical Writing Workshop session starts with a mini-lesson. This lesson is for the whole group and will focus on the concept we are wanting to explore more in our writing. For example, we may look at the book Night of the Veggie Monster to see how authors really focus in on one small moment in time. In a later lesson, we described how some of our ideas are more like watermelons…and we want to bring our stories down to the seed level.
After the mini-lesson, the students then have a good amount of time to simply practice writing. We have several different types of paper they can use to create books. Right now, since we are working on personal narratives, they are working on stories that are either about something that happened to them or something that they do. Since we are working on small books, they may create several throughout the week!
During this writing time, the teachers are either circulating through the room and checking in on students as they work or calling over small groups we see might need to explore a concept a little more deeply. In this way, everyone will have some small group or individual instruction throughout the week.
After we have gone through several weeks of a unit, we have a time to stop and share what we have written with the rest of the class – Author’s Corner. Look for another blog entry on that when we get closer to the actual time it will happen.
Speaking of sharing writing, don’t forget you could go see Brad Meltzer on Friday, October 6th as he does a reading and signing session for his two new biographies: I am Sacagawea and I am Ghandi. Both of those books will be making their way into our classroom, and you may see me and my family there!