Four Writing Workshop Ideas for the Final Stretch
For some of our readers, this week is the last week of school. Others just finished last week, and still others have a few weeks left before summer break begins. If you’re in the final stretch–the last few days or weeks of school– here are a few ideas to keep kids writing right to the very end.
FREE WRITE — ANYTHING YOU WANT!
If you’ve already wrapped up your final unit of study and had your publishing party, you might give kids the last few days to free-write, anything they want. You could put a wide array of mentor texts on display: graphic novels, mysteries, fantasy, poetry, fairy-tale adaptations, brochures, recipes, magazines, and other favorites. Then kids can browse the mentor texts for inspiration and write anything they want.
BRING OUT THE APPS!
The last few days might be a nice time to bring out the iPads or Chromebooks and allow kids to explore a few favorite apps for writing and publishing. They might try out Storyjumper or ChatterPix, or Stop Motion Studio create animated movies. If you haven’t already started using these as a regular part of your writing workshop, now is a great time to test them out a bit so that you can plan to incorporate some digital publishing in your units of study for next year.
At lunch today, a colleague was talking about how much her first and second graders love to write together and how she plans to use the last two weeks to let them do some coauthoring. Maybe your kids have been asking you all year long if they can write a story together–now is a great time to let them finally have the opportunity to coauthor with another student–a story, a script, songs, or anything else they might think up. If they haven’t had a chance to do this yet this year, you can teach a few simple lessons on how to write together. Making sure to ask your coauthor before you add or delete something is one key lesson you might want to teach. Giving each other positive feedback using statements like, “I noticed how you ______” is another great strategy.
Last, but not least, if the weather where you live is finally starting to warm up, take advantage and bring your class outdoors. If you’re fortunate enough to have a playground, or even access to an outdoor classroom or trail, have kids bring a notebook or a clipboard and do some writing in the outdoors. If your school doesn’t have a playground (like many city schools I’ve worked in), you might do a walk around the block and stop and sketch along the way, or record some observations and thoughts when you get back to the classroom.
All four of these are great things to do any time of year. Make the most of the final stretch and try out one or two things that you normally might not include as part of your writing workshop–you can use these as an experiment to try things out for next year, give something a test run to see how it works, and keep writing and telling stories all the way to the last day of school.