Teaching Reading: 3-5 Workshop
Writing Extend Your Knowledge | Writing
Examine the Topic
The amount of time students have to write–in Writing Workshop and throughout the day–is a critical factor in students’ writing development. Read the following statements by Nadeen Ruiz, and by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi. Think about how these statements relate to your classroom writing program and what questions you have about providing appropriate time for instruction and practice in writing.
Every writing expert, from Donald Graves to Lucy Calkins and Nanci Atwell, talks about time. We must have regular times for our students to write. We would hope that this is true on a daily basis, but, if it’s not possible, there will be certain days that are dedicated for writing. And children know when those writing times are going to occur.
Through his books and his research, Donald Graves has had a major impact on the teaching of writing. One day a teacher asked Don, “How should I teach writing if I can only sandwich it in one day a week?” “Don’t bother,” Don replied bluntly. “One day a week will teach them to hate it. They’ll never get inside writing.” It is crucial for students to have frequent, predictable time set aside for them to write. Plan to schedule a minimum of three days a week for about an hour each day. Four or five days is even better. It’s important that students know when the workshop is scheduled so that they are ready to meet it. When students know they’ll have a specific time to return to a piece of writing in progress, they think about that work when they are away from their desks. You may be thinking, with a sense of panic, “Okay, but I don’t have three hours a week to spare!” Of course not. Yet many successful writing teachers have found ways to hurdle the time issue. They’ve done this by scrutinizing their schedules and pruning out other, less effective methods they are using to teach students writing skills. Let’s assume you have tackled the time demon and carved out regular class time for the workshop. It’s also important for students to plan how they will use their time. The wording here is deliberate. When we suggest you schedule time to write, three days a week, we are referring to a workshop environment where student choice is prevalent; where students decide when a piece of writing is finished; where students set their own agendas and their own pace. While individual teachers have added their own rituals and routines, three basic components should be present in your workshop: (1) time for whole-group instruction (often referred to as a mini-lesson), (2) time for writing, and (3) time for structured response.
Excerpted from Fletcher, R. and J. Portalupi, Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2001.
Consider a typical week in your class, and then write your answers to the following questions:
- How much time do you schedule for student writing? Based on what you have read and viewed, should you add time to your daily or weekly schedule?
- How do you structure this time to support and advance student writing? How might you change it to increase opportunities for students to improve their writing?
- How do you balance student choice with teacher choice of writing topics?
- What challenges/questions do you have in scheduling adequate time for writing?
- What changes can you make?
Tips for New Teachers: Supporting Young Writers
Supporting Young Writers
- Be positive. Emphasize first, and more frequently, what works in a piece, rather than what doesn’t.
- Your first sentence gives a very clear introduction….
- I really like the way you used this specific word to let your reader know exactly what you meant.
- Choose the most important strengths and weaknesses in students’ work when giving feedback.
- Be sure to comment on pieces in first-draft form, so that students have a chance to make changes. Comments given after a final draft is completed get less attention.
- Address the content of students’ writing first, then deal with mechanics.
- Carve out time for students to read and respond to one another’s writing, so that they learn how to be effective peer respondents.
Adapted from Graves, M. F., C. Juel, and B. B. Graves. Teaching Reading in the 21st Century, 446-448. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2001.
4.2 Analyze the Video | Writing
Watch the video, "Writing," taking notes as you watch. After you watch, jot down your answers to the questions below. If you prefer to watch the video in segments, pause the video when you see the next chapter heading.
Workshop 1 Creating Contexts for Learning
This session examines how classroom organization, routines, and grouping practices can enhance literacy skills in the middle grades. Literacy expert Jeanne Paratore discusses teaching strategies that foster reading and writing skills. Classroom examples illustrate the research.
Workshop 2 Fluency and Word Study
This session focuses on how students in the middle grades develop vocabulary and reading fluency. Literacy expert Richard Allington discusses specific teaching strategies that help build fluency and vocabulary, illustrated by classroom examples.
Workshop 3 Building Comprehension
Comprehending text is one of the main goals of reading. In this session, literacy expert Nell Duke discusses what good readers do and strategies teachers can use to help students build comprehension skills. Classroom footage provides examples of comprehension strategies.
Workshop 4 Writing
This workshop examines the relationship between reading and writing in the middle grades. Literacy expert Nadeen Ruiz discusses the connections, conventions, and inventions that provide a framework for teaching writing, illustrated by classroom examples.
Workshop 5 New Literacies of the Internet
This workshop focuses on the evolving use of networked technology in education. Literacy expert Donald Leu discusses strategies that help students effectively read, write, and communicate on the Internet. Classroom examples illustrate strategies for using Internet resources in the classroom.
Workshop 6 Teaching English Language Learners
Changing classroom demographics call for a range or teaching strategies. In this session, literacy expert Robert Jim�nez discusses strategies teachers can use to create a successful learning environment for all students, while supporting English language learners. Classroom examples illustrate the research.
Workshop 7 Teaching Diverse Learners
In this session, literacy expert Dorothy Strickland discusses how teachers can meet the diverse needs of readers and writers in their classrooms. Classroom examples and teaching strategies address different aspects of diversity, including culture, language, background, ability, and learning approaches.
Workshop 8 Assessment and Accountability
This session explores assessment, standards, and outcomes. Literacy expert Kathy Au discusses the strategies teachers can use to assess students' understanding in reading and writing. Classroom examples illustrate how students can participate in their own assessment.
Supplementary Workshop 6 - Teaching English Language Learners
Professional Development Workshop Guide