What is Writer's Workshop?

Writer's Workshop is a cyclical writing process that students go through on a daily basis. It is a great way to ensure that students can improve in their writing.

What is Writer’s Workshop?

Writer’ Workshop is a process that students go through during independent writing time.  The process is as follows:
  1. Prewriting - students plan out what they want to write about
  2. Drafting - student take their ideas from their prewriting planner, and start writing it into their text form
  3. Editing - students review what they wrote, and check their spelling, capitals and punctuation
  4. Revising - students review what they wrote and add / remove / move words or sentences 
  5. Conferencing - students meet with the teacher and receive feedback
  6. Publishing - doesn’t always have to happen - students publish their work by using the feedback they have received
It is a cyclical process and is never done.  When students are finished writing a piece, they start a new piece of writing.

What do I do during Writer’s Workshop?

As the teacher, your role is a little more passive. The students are the ones that will be working on Writer’s Workshop. While they are writing and working through the process, you may be taking groups for guided reading, and taking students for conferences.

What does a Writing Conference look like?

A writing conference with a student does not need to take a lot of time.  Students will come with their work, and maybe even a reflection form like “Preparing for My Conference” sheets.  Once you sit down with the student, review their work.  You should have already had success criteria built with the class by this point.  Your feedback will come directly from the success criteria. Remember to give positive feedback and next steps.  Be very specific on what the student needs to do in order to improve.

What do students do during Writer’s Workshop?

Students are constantly writing. Writer’s Workshop is never done. They go through the 6 steps noted above, and when they have completed a writing task, they start a new one.  Students are constantly writing texts based on the writing form of focus.

Students do not need to publish everything they have written. Published works is ONLY one expectation in the curriculum. Writing is a process, and the expectations are written around that process. It is all about gathering data about student growth through the process. A great way to assess writing and writer’s workshop is to use writing portfolios. It is up to you how you want to set up your portfolio. You may want to use a file folder for each student, and place them inside a file folder box.  This is great if you collect physical copies of writing - and want your students to use more paper and pencil. If you are more tech minded, you may want to use an app like Google Suites, or my favourite - Brightspace Portfolio. It is a great way for students to upload their items, and reflect on what they have done and what they have learned.

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