Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Little Piece of Magic in an Ordinary Writing Workshop

As I was looking around the classroom yesterday, I saw such an amazing site-- students actively writing without reminders! A writing workshop from my dreams :)

It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and I had to blog about it.

We love to begin the year with mini lessons about how to read the rubric. After that, we have lengthy units of study looking critically at how writers write opinion pieces, poetry, nonfiction, and narrative pieces. Everything! Writing was like pulling teeth for some kids back in September.  Now, in late April, we are reviewing these mini lessons but this time we are looking critically at the advanced column and writing it in kid friendly language. For their final piece, students get to choose everything...the topic, the style, the organization, everything. Here is an image from our mini lesson:

Like always, we move from our mini lesson and begin our rotations. We use this chart to guide us and at this time of year, the kids have it down!

The first rotation I work with is the small group rotation. The kids love this and can almost guide themselves. It was so fun to watch them interacting about writing and I hardly had to facilitate a thing.

While this group was finishing their game, I began to look around the room and this is what I saw...

One boy is researching harp seals for his non-fiction piece while another is engaged in his choice writing.

This young lady is publishing her piece on the computer. My students regularly publish on Voicethread, Vocaroo, PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, and Mixbook is a class favorite this year! Please by sure to check out my guest post about other ways to offer an authentic audience to students on Rachel Lynette's Minds in Bloom.

This young man is revising his work using our revision cans. It amazes me how this simple tool can get even the most reluctant writer to revise!

Click below to set up these rotations in your classroom and watch the magic for yourself. You can also download my complete writing workshop management plan for the 21st century.

What are some amazing things you do to keep writing engaging throughout the year?

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


  1. I am about to look up your post about the revision cans. I have to be honest and say this is the 1st year that I have tried to teach writing and didn't start until late December. This was my 3rd year in the upper grades (now when I taught K I taught it all the time!).

    There is so much that I want to learn about teaching writing.

    I just found your blog through your guest post on Minds in Bloom. I'm your newest follower! :)

    I Run Read Teach

  2. Thanks so much for your comment!

  3. I am so glad you shared your writing ideas - writing seems to be so hard for so many students so it is great to keep it fun and engaging!

    Love to Learn

  4. I have been following you for awhile, and this lesson is just another reason why. How inspiring to see all of this writing, creating, thinking and revising! You classroom must hum with energy.
    How wonderful!
    Happy Teaching,

  5. Great post. Thank you so much for sharing!
    Pirate Girl's Education Invasion