Labor Day

In honor of Labor Day, I’m writing a little post about the kinds of “labor” I expect to see in writing workshop. Early on in the school year, it’s important to define student and teacher roles in writing workshop. With the holiday, this may make a perfect minilesson in your workshop this week. The teaching point could be along the lines of…

In writing workshop everyone has a job to do.

I think a T-chart is perfect for this kind of lesson. Imagine STUDENT on one side and TEACHER on the other. Depending on the age of your students, you may want to complete the chart ahead of time, or you could engage your students in a conversation, then make the chart later. So let’s ask: What is a student’s job during writing workshop?

Students’ Work —

  • Write. Then write more.
  • Come ready to work.
  • Read voraciously.
  • Talk with other writers.
  • Take risks.
  • Learn Standard English.
  • Keep a writer’s notebook.
  • Think about writing outside of the classroom.
Teachers’ Work —
  • Talk with students about their writing. Notice what they do well. Help them do something better.
  • Make notes after talking with students.
  • Write what they expect their students to write.
  • Assess writers. Make notes.
  • Teach conventions.
  • Teach craft.
  • Teach process.
  • Keep a writer’s notebook.
  • Engage in reflective practice.
  • Think of themselves as writers.
  • Treat people with dignity and respect.
This is the kind of list I’d share with older students. I think it is important our students know we are actively engaged as writers. And just like most things in my life, I don’t ask other people to do something that I’m not willing to do myself. Writing workshop expectations are no different. If it’s good for students then it’s good for teachers.
How about you? What kind of “labor” do you or your students engage in during writing workshop?
(Hope you’ve enjoyed your holiday and are rejuvenated for the week ahead!)