Launching Writer's Workshop

Writer's Workshop Routines
Here is a simple poster I created of workshop routines, inspired by
Mrs. Meacham. I enlarged it to poster size and laminated.
Launching Writer's Workshop

First, we gather on the carpet for a mini-lesson. The children watch as I model certain aspects of writing. They are encouraged to try these new techniques in their own writing. After the mini-lesson, the children get their writing folders (see below) and begin by illustrating their story. It tends to be easier for them to draw first, and then write the words to describe their drawing. As they work, I confer with a few children. Finally, we gather back at the carpet for a short sharing time. Children are allowed to make compliments and I offer lots of praise as well!

Writing Folders

Before we began writing workshop, I put together the children's writing folders. I created a letter formation chart, a personal word wall, and also included an alphabet chart. Here is what I included:

Writing Folders

What Do Authors Write About?

I began our first writer's workshop by telling the children they are going to become authors and illustrators just like Eric Carle, etc. Just calling them authors got them so excited! First, we went over workshop procedures and rules. Then I told the children that the first thing we need to figure out is, "What do authors write about?" The children and I browsed through various books and talked about the types of things authors write about. Together we created a poster of topics to write about.

Then I looked at the different topics and gave examples of what I would not want to write about (for example, "I could write about bats, but I don't really like them and I don't know much about them. Is that a good topic for me?" NO!). I told the kids that authors don't just write about any old topic, they write about things that matter to them, things that are close to their hearts. I then hung a large Heart Map on my easel. On it, I sketched pictures of things that I care about and might want to write about. Then, each child got his/her own heart map to complete. These went into their writing folders for future reference.

In the next workshop, we reviewed the workshop procedures. I referred back to my heart map and modeled how to choose a topic to write about. I then showed them how to illustrate a story by thinking aloud as I sketched. Before sending them off, I asked each child to choose one topic from his/her heart map and turn to tell their partner what they will write about today. I showed them where to find the writing paper and they got straight to work! I only had them illustrate this time around, and then dictate the words to me. In a later lesson, we learned how to label our drawings with words.
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