Keep Your Writing in a Home!

Yesterday, Tonya Haywood (a kindergarten teacher who really needs to keep a blog — wink wink), used Eric Carle’s book, A House for Hermit Crab, to talk with her novice writers about keeping their writing in a home (aka:  writing folder).  She then outlined the basic parts of Writing Workshop and today her students will participate in their very firstWriting Workshop.  They are sooooo excited!

Here are some ideas for organizing student writing that I’ve seen over the years:

  1. One folder.  One side of the folder is for In-Progress Writing and the other is for Completed Drafts.  When a publishing day approaches, students choose a piece from the Completed Draft side to publish.  This is especially convenient for primary writers.  The secret to this system is to host frequent folder clean outs!
  2. Two folders.  One for working drafts and one for graded writing.  This was the system I used in my own classroom.  Students kept their working draft folder & I stored the one for pieces that had been graded.  We referred to these graded pieces as manuscripts.  Students published from manuscripts.  Published pieces were never stored in a folder — they went out into the world (including our classroom walls!
  3. Glue two folders together.  This will create a system with four pockets.  Students can use the pockets to organize their drafts.  For example, the pockets could be labeled as:  In-Progress Drafts; Drafts Ready for Revision; Drafts Ready to Edit; Abandoned Drafts.  Janet Shofner, second grade teacher, introduced this system to me.  I’ve seen it work quite well in grades 2 -3. 
  4. Drafting Notebook.  Jill Shock, second grade teacher, has her students keep a spiral ring notebook as their drafting notebook.  All drafts go in this notebook.  When a student is ready to take a draft to publication, they remove it from the notebook for revision and editing. 

The important part isn’t what system you use, but that you have a system for storing student writing.  It is only by being organized that we can empower our students to write their very best.