January 19

My Writer’s Workshop story so far…

At the end of last year I made the decision that I would blog about my practice and my student’s progress in Writer’s Workshop. There are not a great deal of blogs out there specifically on this topic and I thought I could write one… so here I am.

I am hoping, I will use this blog as a record of lessons taught, to share challenges that arise and hopefully instil motivation in others. I don’t believe I know all there is to know about Writer’s Workshop and am continually changing and adapting the way I do things to better my practice, for my students. Last year, I was part of a Writing study group facilitated by Lisa Burman. Being part of this group helped confirm to me that I was on the right track with what I have been doing in Writer’s Workshop with my students and it was also a great sounding board for sharing of ideas, challenges, problems and successes. I am looking forward to continuing to participate in the study group this year.

This year I will be teaching a year 1 class and will be going into school next week to set up my learning area. I have been using Writer’s Workshop to teach writing in my class for the last 3 years and each year seem to refine how I do this. For the first two years it was just me and my work bestie Marcia that were doing Writer’s Workshop with our students. We saw, and continue to see, great value in what Writer’s Workshop instilled in our students. Student’s saw themselves as authors, as writers, as illustrators and as editors.  We very quickly saw the shift in power from the old style writing we had been doing from teacher to student. The students were in control now, and we needed to do our very best to support them by through conferencing and targeted mini-lessons.

In our third year of teaching Writer’s Workshop (last year) Marcia and I (as we both work part time) were both paired with Danni, the most amazing graduate teacher you will meet. Danni quickly shared our love for Writer’s Workshop and could see the benefits in teaching writing this way. This was great for Marcia and I as it meant that Writer’s Workshop could continue seamlessly throughout the week, regardless of who the teacher was on that particular day.

Towards the end of last year our school began running PLTs (Professional Learning Teams) around different practices around the school. Writer’s Workshop became a focus and we had a large number of teachers at our site seeing value in it and trying it out in their classrooms. Many finished the PLT process saying they will be continuing to use Writer’s Workshop to teach writing with their new classes in 2017.

So I look forward to sharing with you what this year brings for me, my students and my colleagues.