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Setting Up Writer's Workshop



I'm excited to share with you how I set up Writer's Workshop in my classroom! There are a few must have resources that are key to establishing a great start to the school year. I've broken it down into three main components. It's all about the creating the perfect space, setting up organization, and student partnerships!  

SPACE

By now I'm sure you've already thought about the best space for your writer's workshop materials and anchor charts. I believe writing and reading go hand in hand so I personally feel they are best next to each other. You may feel definitely of course and that's okay!  It's important that you have ownership over your classroom setup. Often times anchor charts correlate and it's beneficial to see them as one literacy space. Therefore, I have also positioned them perfectly in our classroom library. You'll want to ensure there is enough space for plenty of anchor charts.



In addition to ample space for anchor charts, I display writing process posters for my students. Our school uses a writer's workshop curriculum that is adapted from Lucy Calkin's.  These stages will align to that curriculum, as well as one that you may be implementing on your own. I have seen many variations of "writing stages" online and I found a system that works for me. Although students are working independently, we are moving through the writing stages together as a class. Therefore, we have one close pin that is clipped onto the name of the stage and we move to it. This allows students to know the status of the class during independent writing time.



The clip is moved during my mini-lesson. If you use a curriculum similar to Lucy Caulkins, please note that after choosing, we move back to revising and editing before moving to publishing and celebrating



The writing process posters come together in a bundle that includes many options to match your classroom color scheme. The black line version can be printed on colored cardstock. 


Lastly, I am sure to include a space for materials in a student centered friendly environment. You may notice the student writing choice papers and materials are located next to their book bins away from the classroom library. This allows for a smoother transition away from the mini-lesson space. Students can retrieve their materials on their way to the desks without having to step on any little firstie fingers or toes!


ORGANIZATION

Before the start of the year, I set up student writing portfolios. These portfolios are home to all of their published writing pieces. They are meant to be a tool in helping you communicate and share with families what we are doing in the classroom.

For our writing curriculum, we have a new unit each month. Students write ("collect") different pieces throughout the month during our writing process and then choose one to publish and celebrate at the unit. After the unit is completed, I place student writing pieces in their respective writing portfolios. 


In the editable document, you can add the unit title and month that correlates to your curriculum. Students can go home and share their published piece with their families. Parents are encouraged to write a message in the comments notes highlighting their student's successes. They will keep their writing in the folder and return it back to school until the next month.


You can use the student checklist to check when students return the portfolio in order to keep track of who still needs to return it before the next month. The sticker chart can be used two ways. Students can celebrate by placing a sticker in the sticker chart for each published piece their complete. Another option is one I choose to do each year. 


At the end of the year, we have a big publishing party by taking our writing portfolio and sharing it in partnerships. Students feel so proud of themselves after looking back on all their growth throughout the year. After reading in partnerships, students get to choose stickers to place in their "Write On" sticker chart before taking them home for the year.




These Student Writing Portfolios are available in color and black line versions in my TPT here. They in a Powerpoint document in order to add student names. They are stapled to manilla folders for use. 

STUDENT PARTNERSHIPS

Student partnerships play a significant role in the success of writer's workshop. After working independently, students meet with a partner to complete "partner writing." My first year of teaching, I gave student complete autonomy when it came to this stage of the lesson. However, I noticed that perhaps this structure was not supporting students to use this time to their fullest potential.
As a result, I created a resource that holds students accountable during writer's workshop, while still giving them a choice. My Partner Editing Checklist can be found in my store here. It includes two options, a vertical and horizontal version, as well as writing paper choices.

Each student has their own "Write On!" booklet of multiple copies of the partner editing checklist. The partners each take turns providing evidence of how they helping their writing buddy that day. The editing checklist provides students with talking stems to ensure positive and constructive feedback, as well as a way to differentiate for primary learners.


They keep this Write On! booklet in their Writer's Workshop folder and it quickly becomes a daily routine. Every once and a while I collect their booklets and use it as a way to assess and inform my instruction! I highly recommend this tool to boost partner writing in your classroom! 


I hope this post left you feeling excited about setting up Writer's Workshop in your classroom this year! Feel free to reach out if you have any further questions!



2 comments

  1. Where are those period / exclamation point / question mark posters from? :)

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    1. They are from Lyndsey from A Year of Many Firsts in her Common Core literacy pack!!

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