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Traditionally we think about writing workshop procedures at the beginning of the school year. We set the routines, organize the procedures, and launch writing workshop. I’m thinking, though, around this time of year, it might be a good idea to evaluate procedures. By this point in the school year, the writers in our classrooms have grown and their needs are changing. As spring fills the air, it is often necessary to buckle down and be even more tenacious in our work. It’s easy to be distracted with spring break so close and the sun streaming in the windows.

Sometime soon, take a moment to “zoom out” and watch students during work time. Ask yourself:

  • How are students empowered to work as writers?
  • Is the movement productive?
  • Does it sound productive? Why/Why not?
  • Do students have everything they need to work efficiently?
  • If you could wave a magic wand and change ONE thing, what would it be? List the procedures necessary to facilitate this change.

Conferring is the heart of workshop and taking the time to do this kind of observation and formative assessment of your procedures will take time away from conferring. However, in the long run, it will make future conferring time more effective. Without strong procedures and solid routines, workshop is doomed to fail.

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

5 thoughts on “Procedures Leave a comment

  1. This is the perfect post for me to read today as we go into the final stretch before spring break; we just distributed report cards on Friday. I don’t know about anybody else but this year has been intense for me as far as writing report cards. In addition to that, our routine has gone awry as we’ve welcomed various fine artists into our classroom. All good but also challenging as we’ve needed to alter our schedule numerous times. This week we will be getting ready for student-led conferences. I will keep these suggestions in mind for after spring break when we can reclaim our normal schedule and get back to a regular writing workshop time.


  2. I’ve been working with some of the teachers about their procedures because they are sinking with so much work to evaluate. Your idea to look again at how things in the classroom are working & to begin some changes now would help free time. Thanks for this Ruth.


  3. The reflection on how workshop is going is the key to improving. As kids become more independent, more procedures may need to be put into place. I’m going to share this with my teachers. Thanks.


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