community · writers · writing · writing workshop

It’s Saturday.

I think Saturday is reason enough to celebrate here at Two Writing Teachers.

On Wednesday, Ashley left this comment:

I have had a lot of false starts getting the writing workshop started. My students have never been in a workshop format so we are not doing well with independence.

Now Ashley’s frustrations are not the reason for the celebration, but they are the inspiration.  I remember feeling this same thing . . . false starts are nothing new to me in regards to Writing Workshop.  And students struggling with independence is as assured as my three year old asking me to play trains.  Yet when I read Ashley’s words, I felt my heart drop as I remember how frustrating these feelings are.  So I began thinking about ways to encourage Ashley and others who are feeling these same frustrations about Writing Workshop.

Then I had dinner with one of my favorite teachers in the entire universe (Hello Mrs. Bean), and I left feeling inspired and rejuvenated about Writing Workshop.  On my way home I thought: How cool would it be if we, as a Two Writing Teachers Community, could help Ashley and others feel inspired and rejuvenated about Writing Workshop in spite of the “false starts and struggles with independence!”

This is what I propose in order to celebrate Writing Workshop:

Share the reason(s) why you press on with Writing Workshop despite the tough times.  What keeps you going day-in and day-out?

We regularly have over a thousand hits a day on TWT . . . can you imagine how filled with inspiration the comments section would be if everyone left a reason for believing in Writing Workshop?  It only takes a couple of minutes and I promise you won’t regret sharing!

I’ll kick us off:

I teach Writing Workshop, even on the tough days, because it gives students a chance to find the meaning in their regular everyday lives and interests.

I believe in Writing Workshop because it empowers students to use their words to change the world.

19 thoughts on “It’s Saturday.

  1. I believe in teaching writer’s workshop because it works. Before becoming a workshop teacher I didn’t teach writing so much as ask kids to produce writing. The workshop allows me to break down the process and really teach. Mini-lessons and conferences allow me to target needs and move kids forward each day.
    Teaching is a journey not a race. The peaks and valleys are part of ride. Embrace them.


  2. I teach writing because I want my 5 year olds to internalize that THEY ARE WRITERS!

    There is nothing more rewarding than to experience a class of kindergarten writers asking you to give them more time, even though they have been working for 50 minutes.

    It is worth all the juggling of schedules, meetings, trips, and other distractions that occur on a daily basis.


  3. I teach the writing workshop because writing isn’t a neat, compacted program to be sold- it’s spirit. How can spirit be packaged into a curriculum? The very responsiveness of the workshop-writing, sharing, revising, and writing again shows me how the writing workshop tailors strategies and mini lessons around specific needs of the children. When children start to evaluate and revise themselves is the marker of true growth.


  4. Friday, at the end of writing workshop when I told students to pack up, I had a student who said,”Do we have to stop?” Moments like that encourage me to keep going even when workshop seems difficult.


  5. I love writers workshop because of the way children begin to think that they are authors. There is nothing better than hearing them groan when you say that their writing time is over. Well, maybe there is one thing better… When a little one comes into the class, hands you several pieces of paper stapled together-whether it is computer paper, construction paper, post-its or the back of an envelope-and says, “I wrote this story for you at home last night!” That’s when you know you have them!


  6. I love the way WW takes some (ok, a lot) of the pressure off of me. Without it, I felt that I was always having to come up with something for them to write. How can I know what will inspire them? With WW, they inspire themselves, each other, and me! I also like it because it shows them that writing is an everyday activity, not just a school activity – an assignment. It gives them something to do with all those cute notebooks and pens they beg their parents for. I also persevere with WW because I find they are so much more motivated, just like when they help choose the book they read for Literature Circles versus the times when a teacher (never me of course!) makes them read a book they can’t relate to.


  7. I love workshop because writing empowers people, it heals people, and it inspires people. I know that when it’s done well, workshop is a place where we can gift students with the processes, protocols, and safe spaces where they can improve not simply the craft of their writing, but their expertise as writers…so that they can help others in similar ways.


  8. Thank you Ruth for starting this post to share why WW is so important. Thank you to all of you who have shared, you are very inspiring and I’m not giving up even though its hard, I know in the end it will be worth it.
    I’m off to plan how to really celebrate my students words and voices through their writing beacause I know what they have to say is important.

    Thanks again, I have tears running down my face reading your comments, tears of happiness for the students in your classrooms and that I can be apart of such a wonderful group of educators. Have a wonderful weekend, I can’t wait to read more inspiring stories.


  9. I love writing workshop because it gives students choice and independence while still connecting the class through a shared minilesson. Writing workshop gives the teacher a chance to confer with students on the work they are actually doing right now and lifts each child from where he/she is and helps them truly soar in writing. Writing workshop gives kids a chance to work together in a community of writers. Writing workshop puts real texts in the hands of students to help them grow as writers through published writing.


  10. Thank you for doing this! Looking back I see that it would have been wonderful to have Writing Workshop when I was a student. I just remember fearing writing. I think WW takes fear and concern from writing and makes it fun.


  11. Even though there is nothing easy about managing Writing Workshop or designing appropriate mini lessons or jump-starting those reluctant writers, I have stayed true to the Writing Workshop format because my students crave those opportunities to share their stories with me and each other and because it is the only way to get heartfelt, authentic writing. There are three things that I changed (after reading your website and “Read, Write, Think”) that I think have made this year the best launch ever into Writing Workshop. One, I call the students writers “Okay writers, come on over to the carpet.” Two, I am giving them more opportunities to share their stories. Instead of having a few students read to the whole class, I have devised ways to let everyone read to lots of people. And third, I am being less rigid. For instance, I am giving them more choices of paper, writing implements, topics (like letting them write about things that haven’t happened yet and writing reports and “how-to” stories right away). And I can’t emphasize enough how giving them access to a stapler has inspired my writers. This little story sums up the general attitude toward writing workshop in my class this year: One student was ready to type his story on the computer for publishing and I was giving him some basic directions about the space bar, upper case letters etc. He looks up at me and says “How do you make an exclamation point because I am going to need a lot of those!”


  12. I teach Writing Workshop because I feel like I have been taught to write because of it. Looking back, my teachers maybe did creative writing once a week, handed us back red marked up papers, we re-wrote them and they hung on the wall. Teaching nothing about writing itself. It wasn’t till I taught writing workshop that I too felt like a writer, adding author’s craft and voice to my writing. I LOVE working with children who consider themselves writers as early as 5 years old! This love of writing is fostered in Writing Workshop, and can be nurtured as they grow. That is why I continue to teach Writing Workshop to make life long writers and let even our littlest writers know their voices matter and their stories are worth sharing.


  13. I always persisted with Writing Workshop, despite testing demands, field trips, and assemblies, because I knew that it was the cornerstone to building community in my classroom.


  14. I teach Writer’s Workshop because my students love it. They ask if they can write more, “Is it okay if my story is 30 pages?”, and they ask if they can do a research assignment to write their own non-fiction book.

    Writer’s Workshop teaches students that their ideas are good and deserve to be heard.


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