Monday, July 22, 2013

Writing Is My Focus!

Good morning!  Starting off my day with a wonderful cup of coffee thinking about the fact that in two weeks I will be back in my classroom with my little second grade sweeties.  I've been to my classroom a couple of times already this summer but REALLY need to get up there this week to organize and clean. My book bins are a mess!  

Every year we all go back with exciting ideas and things we want to try a little differently...right??? Well, my main focus this year is... Writing Workshop.  For the past couple of years I have noticed that my Writing Workshop time is getting less and less attention due to scheduling and what seems like less instructional time in our days!!!

Not this year!   My plan is to write, write, write!!!  I LOVE reading groups!  Being a former Reading Recovery teacher, reading is my passion.  Writing has always come hand in hand with reading instruction for me.  The natural discussion that comes from reading books provides wonderful writing experiences for individual instruction and group times.  We write about story characters, responses to literature, point of view, and informational topics. My students love to write to themselves while I teach groups.  It is great to have a station in the room full of books, graphic organizers, writing supplies and materials to assist them with whatever writing topic they are working on...papers, index cards, envelopes, scissors, glue, stickers, etc...  Writing Workshop can mean different things to different teachers.  For me it includes teacher read alouds of books for ideas to write about, group discussions of read to self materials for written response, and independent write to self times during centers.

This year I have a couple of new resources to help me out and I am SOOOO glad I made these this summer! My writing posters were looking a little sad so I made these FREEBIES above if you'd like to grab them.  I plan to place these behind my group table so we can constantly discuss the components of each type of writing. 

The other resource I am THRILLED about is my Writing Workshop Prompts for a Complete School Year!  I have put together a packet that will support me through the entire school year with not just writing prompts but...DETAILED writing prompts!  I have made STUDENT TICKETS that match each prompt for my students to cut/staple to their stories.  Now this is the part that will help me the most...not necessarily the prompt card but the student ticket.   While I am teaching my writing/reading groups the other students will work on their write to self stories.  Each will go to the Writing Center and choose a topic.  After completing their pre-write organizers and working on their rough drafts independently...each will conference with a peer first, then come to me for editing. Students will read their stories to me and we will have discussions making sure each question on the prompt ticket has been addressed.  If not...I can circle or highlight the question on the prompt ticket and have the students take it back to their seats or work with me at my table.  It will eliminate some of the question writing such as ..."Who are the characters?  How did this make you feel?  What comes next? and How does this story end?"  Basically, it speeds up your conferencing by not having to write all of the questions.     Here is an example of one of the task cards so you can see the questioning... 
I'd love for you to look at my preview of this packet.  Just having the prompts ready to go and materials set up at my Writing Workshop table will save me so much time and energy!!!  My focus can be on "How to Teach/Model Writing" and "Student Conferencing" instead of which topics to write about.  My reading materials will support these seasonal topics throughout the year.  Science and Social Studies topics are also integrated into the prompts which will save me time as well.   I'd love to hear how you all do your Writing Workshop in your classrooms.  Let me know.  Thanks!-Yvonne