Today, Christi Overman spoke to the teachers in the Beginning Writing Workshop Training. A year ago, Christi occupied a seat in the workshop. At the time she thought she would be teaching kindergarten . . . a few days before school started, she learned she would be in first grade.
Along with the whirlwind grade level move, it would also be her first year teaching all day; her first year teaching language arts. Christi shared her journey and her attempt to completely embrace writing workshop. She decided that on day-one she would give it a good faith effort and she would keep it up the entire year. Christi’s goal was implementation of a true Writing Workshop.
What emerged was an incredible first grade workshop. Christi shared the frustration of things not going smoothly; the anxiety of finding the words to say in focus lessons; the importance of keeping her own writer’s notebook (even though her first grade students didn’t); and the joy of having colleagues and resources which guided her. Her advice was to stand on the shoulders of a curriculum set and to find a colleague to share the journey of writing workshop.
She ended with a reading of Walk On: A Guide for Babies of All Ages by Marla Frazee. I was moved by her candid recount of her year and the bravery it takes to jump in and try something new.
I was also impressed by her faithful effort to implement all of Writing Workshop — not just the parts she “liked.” I believe too often we, as teachers, just pull bits and pieces of things we like without giving something a chance in its entirety. In my opinion, this is why all Writing Workshops are not created equally. If you are new to workshop, I encourage you to follow Christi’s lead and jump in with both feet. Attempt to make your Writing Workshop as pure as possible and then watch as amazing learning happens.
Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.