At Manor we strive to instill a love of writing in our students. We are currently in our fifth year of implementing Writing Workshop in our K-5 classrooms. Developed through the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project from Columbia University, the workshop model is a research-based, authentic approach to teaching literacy. Students are taught "mini-lessons" based on the Common Core Standards and spend the bulk of their workshop time crafting, revising, and editing, a variety of writing pieces. In grades K-5, students receive instruction on the elements of narrative, informational, and opinion writing. The teacher acts as a coach and confers with students or meets in small groups to guide their writing development.
Along with reading workshop, students receive instruction in spelling, word work, and handwriting. Our curriculum includes Fundations in grades K-3 and Words Their Way in grades 4-5.
Writing Workshop in Action...
Focus: Writers’ Workshop in Fourth Grade
The students are sitting at their desks facing the overhead. The teacher has photocopied an example of a persuasive essay about global warming. The teacher is leading the students in a discussion about what they notice about the text features. The students raise their hands and share their observations.
In this classroom, the students are lead on a discovery of the unique features of a particular genre of writing. Once the students generate this list, they work collaboratively with the teacher to create a rubric to evaluate their writing in that genre. With the students involved in the identification of specific text features, examples to follow, and a rubric to evaluate their writing, they are ready to get to work. During Writers’ Workshop, the students develop “seed ideas” in their writers’ notebooks. These are ideas regarding the subject matter and stance they want to take on an issue. Once they’ve chosen their topic, stance and arguments, they are ready to begin working on their persuasive piece.
During the workshop, the teacher confers with as many students as possible to guide them in their writing. At the end of the workshop, the teacher gathers the students either on the rug or back at their seats to share and reflect. The teacher may ask, “What successes did you have as a writer today? What challenges did you face?”