WARNING: This is a long post… you may want to get a snack or a drink!
The Mini-Lesson (10 mins)
Students meet me at my carpet. Students know this is time for me to model write. I do a LOT to think alouds. Before I added a page, I modeled how I went back and reread the previous pages to be sure what I was going to add would fit in the book. I asked: “So writers, if I wanted to write about what I made for dinner, would that go in this book?” I do this just about EVERY day, because sometimes the kids need to hear it over and over. My kids also helped me think of what else I could add in my book about Theodora. They helped me form the sentence that I would write. Once we had decided on the sentence, I drew the lines for each word. Then I would write the words with their input, “Help me spell ‘the'”…. (10 minute mini-lesson tops)
Here is my writing piece (note…this took several days for me to model)
Status of the Class (2-3 mins)
Before they went off to write, I did my usual “status of the class”… What are you going to write about today? On day two with the books, my question changed to, “Are you going to add to your piece or start a new one.” I have let my kids choose a single page (like we had been doing) or starting a book.
Students Write (20-25 mins)
We set the timer for 20 minutes. The students could write, draw, and add words during this time. I put on classic music while they write (nothing with words…sorry no opera or sing along).
During this time, I meet with students to confer.
When there is about 5 mins left on the timer, I say, “Writers, you have about 5 minutes left. If you have not worked on your words yet, please do so.” This has been a standard announcement since we started Writer’s Workshop on day 1, so they have gotten good at jumping to it. I quickly glance at students’ writing. I mean REALLY quick. I don’t read them, but I am looking for progress during the 20 minutes. Those kids who don’t have word attempts down I say, “Oh boy, you need to get some words down and I’ll be back to check on you.” I am moving at a super quick pace. This is not my conferring time (I do that with my small group).
Sharing time (5 mins)
Students come back to my rug and sit on their folder, NO PAPER FUSSING ALLOWED!
Those students who I conferred with share their paper with the whole class under the document camera. Praise, praise, praise…. from me, Kind comment from a peer.
Students then get with their writing partner to share their work.
Students then hand in their writing folder to me. I keep them in a bin by my desk so we don’t waste time “looking” for them the following day. I can also glance through the folders easily.
Here is what one of my students worked on this last week. The print is kind-of small, but if you click on the picture, you will get a larger image.
What can I say about this writer?
- He is about to generate his own topics for writing.
- He can hold the language in his memory while he transcribes his message.
- He returns to the beginning of the sentence and will reread if he needs to remember the next word.
- His writing contains a logical and sequential order.
- He says words slowly and records the sounds he hears
- He uses our classroom resources (word walls) although, not all of our word wall words are spelled correctly in this piece.
- He uses spaces between his words
- He uses punctuation.
My goals for him (remember… during the conference, I will teach/suggest one)
- He is a risk taker, so I am planning on challenging him to vary the way he starts his sentences. These all start with “I am” and I think he is ready for a little sentence variety.
- I could also challenge him to go back and reread for correctness. I think he could do a little revising for clarity.
Writing Units are DONE!
Deanna Jump and I have completed a year-long set of scripted lessons. It will take the guess work out of writers workshop! You can see those lesson HERE.