Refining our Writing Workshop

The writing workshop has been around for some time now in CCISD elementary classrooms. As teachers, we have studied Lucy Calkin's Writing Units of Study with great vigor and dedication. Throughout this time, we have worked diligently to create classrooms that nurture budding writers; building communities of writers who are now graduating from high school and heading out into the world. Along the way, we have struggled with certain areas of the writing workshop trying desperately to fit it all in. This is a place to read and discuss ways to help solve some of the common issues teachers face teaching writing. It will continue to grow over time as I find interesting articles and websites that provide support for the important and valuable work we are doing in our writing workshops.

Happy Writing!

Alyssa Toomes

"I am miserable when texts are forced to fit into formulas determined solely by notions of correctness and acceptability in school settings, and not reflective of how people writing outside of schools use language and text shapes to convince or move readers, to open eyes, to explore and discover through the act of writing, or to express beauty and deep emotion."

                                      -Katherine Bomer

Respond below in the comment stream to this quote. #bomer

The Golden Rule of Writing
by Elizabeth Martin

Good writers think, write, and read constantly throughout the writing process.

Write your thoughts about this "golden rule of writing" below in the comment stream. #goldenrule

Finding Time to Become a Writing Teacher Who Writes

Welcome! Teachers Write is a community of teachers and librarians who believe that people teaching writing should walk the walk. I’m children’s author and educator Kate Messner, and I launched the Teachers Write! virtual summer writing camp on my blog after a Twitter conversation with Teachers Write co-conspirators Jen Vincent and Gae Polisner. We started working together to sprout an organic, relaxed, and unique professional development activity for teachers and librarians, and before long, a supportive and passionate community of writers had bloomed.

Helping Students Generate Ideas Worth Writing Down

Literary Consultant, Elizabeth Martin, once posed the question, "Why do students think they can only write about the happy times?" When students can't find something to write about during writer's workshop, we can nudge them to think about times of worry, sadness, frustration, anxiety, or despair. It could be as simple as, they were worried their parents couldn't afford to buy them the bike they wanted for their birthday (Even though they eventually get the bike.). Inspiring kids to think about their own life experiences and identify a problem can be difficult. Providing students with experiences such as read alouds that have the main character wanting something or experiencing internal struggles can give them a model  and a way to explore sadness. See the site below for more information and a suggested text to use in writing workshop.

Suggested Mentor Texts to Explore Problems

  • Those Shoes
  • Dancing in the Wings
  • Salt in His Shoes
  • My Rotten Redheaded Brother
  • The Raft
  • Enemy Pie
  • Come on Rain
  • Longshot
  • Fireflies
  • Wednesday Surprise
  • A Day's Work
  • 14 Cows for America
  • Thundercakes

Breaking Through Writer's Block

Supporting Reluctant Writers

This article is from a professional writer's point of view.

The article below is from LD Online, the world's largest website on learning disabilities and adhd.

Why Do Gifted Kids Hate Writing?

Trouble Teaching Fiction....

Stop by Room 210 to check out this text on teaching fiction writing.