Writers' Workshop"It is terribly important for kids to read and write for thereasons that people the world over read and write, which is to
communicate, to be delighted, to laugh." - Lucy CalkinsReading and writing are interrelated, and just like we read every day, we write every day too. It is amazing to see how children grow into independent writers who are eager to tell others about their world. They begin to see everything as a story and to really think like authors. Don't be surprised if, "I can write about that!" becomes a common phrase around your house!Writing Workshop follows the same format throughout the school year:* Mini-lesson: (5-15 minutes) in which the teacher teaches something the class will benefit from.* Independent Writing/conferring: During this time the children are writing independently and some are meeting with teachers, and sharing when the teacher relates something the children have done back to the mini-lesson, and/or highlights student work.* Share TimeRules for conferring:* Look at the child's writing work. He/she should continue writing as you look at/read the piece.* Ask questions to figure out what the child is doing in his/her writing (related to content).* Respond in a positive way to the content of the piece (i.e. I love the way you have written about a true story from your life. Writers all over the world do that, too!).* Decide on one thing to teach that might help the child (it could be the mini-lesson teaching point).* Remind the child to continue using the strategy in the future.The important thing to remember during conferences is that we are NOT trying to improve the student's piece of writing; we are trying to help the student improve as a writer. Teach the child a strategy that he/she can use each time he/she writes. This is not a time to tell the child how to change their piece of writing or to fix spelling and punctuation mistakes. We are looking at the content of the piece only, and how we can help the child as a writer.If children ask how to spell a word, remind them to use their strategies (stretch the word, say it slow like a turtle, write down the sounds you hear) and to simply do their best. They can always refer to the word wall in class. If we start telling them how to spell words, they will continue to rely on us for spelling.