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Put Writing Clubs on Your Radar for 2022-23

Leave a comment about how you’ve implemented or plan to begin writing clubs in your classroom for a chance to win a copy of Lisa and Patty’s new book.

Lainie Levin recently wrote about finding joy to carry along from this school year into the next. As someone who chose JOY as my one little word to live by in 2021, I understand that consciously choosing to be joyful is what we have to do, even when it’s hard. That said, many teachers I work with feel as though the joy zapped out of their writing workshops. Be it new curriculum mandates or COVID-related issues, it’s been a hard 27 months (and counting) for nearly all educators. So how do we bring back some of the joie de vivre — if you will — to writing instruction during the 2022-23 school year?

After having spent a lot of time physically distancing ourselves from one another, we’re finding ways to gather a bit more closely again. Writing clubs are a way to bring students back together, honor student choice, and strengthen a classroom writing community. But what are they and how do you start and sustain them?

In Writing Clubs: Fostering Choice, Collaboration, and Community in the Writing Classroom, Lisa Eickholdt and Patricia Vitale-Reilly provide readers with a road map to help teachers implement complement and stand-alone writing clubs that will help students learn to collaborate and grow as writers.

Complement Clubs

Complement writing clubs correlate with an ongoing unit of study. These clubs might focus on process or craft. Complement writing clubs are scheduled just as you have scheduled time for writing partnerships to meet (i.e., two to three times per week within the writing workshop block).

In Writing Clubs, Eickholdt and Vitale share a variety of these clubs that can be utilized while engaging in genre-based units of study. Lisa and Patty suggest three types of complement clubs, which include process clubs, craft clubs, and digital clubs. Each chapter includes an array of minilesson topics/teaching points you can use to teach a variety of skills to the entire class. In addition, these chapters include lots of tips for launching and sustaining complement clubs, as well as sample unit plans that show how complement clubs can factor into the daily plans.

The chapter on digital clubs was one of my favorites. With many schools offering 1:1 technology, it is important to make sure that technology is a tool that helps writers accomplish tasks. Technology is only a tool if it’s meant to accomplish something, rather than having technology just to say that it’s in the building. In this chapter, the co-authors help you to find meaningful ways to teach into digital clubs that “fall into one of three categories: lessons on how to use the platform, lessons that build on or extend key concepts we are teaching students about writing in that genre, and lessons where digital writing leads the writing” (2022, 91). The sample unit plan is a fourth-grade and includes brilliant ways for students to collaborate about poetry while using tech tools. There are digital poetry samples, which are sure to get your wheels turning about how you can help digital clubs to complement any genre you teach.

Stand-Alone Clubs

Stand-alone writing clubs function as freestanding, separate opportunities for writers to gather by choosing the mode of writing. These clubs can be formed around preferred genres, favorite authors, or characteristics of writing (e.g., conventions). When students work in stand-alone writing clubs, they have a level of autonomy since they make their own decisions about their writing work. Stand-alone clubs may meet for a couple of weeks at a time, in between units of study, during the school year.

Imagine encouraging your students to gather together as part of stand-alone units where they’re able to gather around a shared love of an author or similar genre interests. When kids are engaged in writing, they can play and experiment with conventions so stand-alone clubs can even be conventions-based. By giving students the opportunity to come together to work in small groups, we foster choice, collaboration, and community.

Just like the second section of the book, the third section on stand-alone clubs is chock full of checklists, sample units, anchor chart samples, author/book lists, potential teaching points, and student work samples.


Writing can be a solitary endeavor. I craft my best writing when I share with peers who ask questions and provide feedback. My finished product is always stronger when I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with other writers. The same thing goes for young writers. Students will grow as writers whenever they have the opportunity to collaborate and feel at home in a community of writers.

I hope you’ll give writing clubs a try next year. Use Lisa and Patty’s book to help you start your journey to bring joy back into your classroom through the implementation of writing clubs.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

  • This giveaway is for a copy of Writing Clubs: Fostering Choice, Collaboration, and Community in the Writing Classroom. Many thanks to Stenhouse Publishers for donating a copy for one reader.
  • For a chance to win this copy, please leave a comment about this post by Thursday, June 16th, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner, whose names I will announce at the bottom of this post, by Sunday, June 19th. You must have a U.S. mailing address to enter the giveaway.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win. From there, my contact at Stenhouse will ship your book out to you. (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
  • If you are the winner of the book, I will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – WRITING CLUBS. Please respond to my e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

Comments are now closed.

Many thanks to everyone who left a comment on this post. The copy of Writing Clubs will go to msnorajarvis.

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writing clubs

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.

I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

37 thoughts on “Put Writing Clubs on Your Radar for 2022-23 Leave a comment

  1. Hello! I will be starting a writing lab at my school next year. This is something new and there is no format to follow. I will be considered a Specials class with 45 minutes to teach. I just found your blog and am hoping to learn ALL the things about teaching and encouraging writing for K-5 students. A former 5th and 4th grade teacher with little knowledge on early writing with younger grades.

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  2. Wow this book looks so exciting! My students did poetry clubs this year, in which they shared a poem and got feedback from their peers. I’d be so excited to dive deeper into writing clubs and learn more about how to make this process really effective for my class. I love the independence it can bring them! And the authentic feedback and support from their peers is just so valuable.

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  3. The idea of writing clubs sounds really interesting. I would love to know more about implementing this into my workshop. The stand alone clubs sounds very useful as I’ve tried to use a more authentic workshop model, the second half of the year, where students can have free choice over what genre they choose to write. Thanks for sharing this!

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    • I tried writing clubs with my 4th graders this year. They absolutely loved it and asked me all year if we could meet in our clubs. I would love a resource to support idea. I certainly will get this book!

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  4. I’m a nonformal educator (master’s degree in environmental education) who likes to write and incorporate all disciplines in my lessons. In addition, I lead a writers’ circle for six years as an enrichment group volunteer for our third-grade teachers. Hosting the group was one of the absolutely best things I’ve ever done and really benefited all involved (classroom teachers included). Writing clubs, writers’ circles, whatever you call them – if you’re giving the students an extra chance to write without the pressure of grades and provide great feedback, it will be so successful~ Good luck to all who try this!

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  5. Love the idea of writing clubs! Writing needs an audience and writers need supports with folks they trust. A club solves a lot of this! Thanks!
    Ellen

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  6. I would love to start writing clubs! My students love book clubs, so this would fit in perfectly! I hope to win a copy of this text! Thank you!

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  7. I’ve done reading book clubs and students have loved it. Love this idea of writing clubs…another great way to build relationships and bring joy to writing!

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    • Collaboration at its finest. I can’t wait to share these ideas with the teachers I work with. Writing is my passion and I always enjoy new and exciting perspectives!!

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  8. I am reading the book, I’m the Kind of Kid Who…Invitations That Support Learner Identity and Agency. The idea of complement writing clubs connected with this for me. I can see some of the students I work with enjoying a club focused on graphic stories. Thanks for alerting us to new professional books.

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  9. I especially like the idea of convention clubs. Revising and editing are often seen as boring or hard to focus on in your own work. By getting kids together, they can show off their “expertise” with a convention. ‘Sue, you are really good at spotting when a sentence needs a period. You be the period police.” This fosters efficacy, identity and cooperation.

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  10. I offered writing clubs this year for students in Grades 4-6. They were wildly popular. Eager to get my hands on a copy of your new book. Congratulations!

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  11. I love the ideas of these structures. Our district is implementing a literacy resource that includes a writing workshop (slightly modified), and I would love to see a Complement Club used alongside this rather scripted program. We really want to keep the JOY in student writing!

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  12. I will be teaching only writing next year and I am nervous about that. I will still be incorporating reading and I will be needing some innovative ways to shake up this class. Writing clubs sound intriguing!

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  13. This is a great way to support teachers moving back into small group work. The distancing required because of COVID has greatly impacted teaching because students haven’t been able to gather in closely.

    We have been working on ramping back up our best practices in literacy instruction. Writing clubs would be awesome.

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  14. Writing clubs sound great to try out. I would definitely be interested in reading more to see how I could fit this into my year.

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  15. I am in the process of forming a stand alone writing club at my middle where I teach. This book will be a great resource in helping to implement this club. I’ve found over the years that there are many students who write and would the opportunity to share their choice in writing. I creatively write also, so I am able to form great relationships with these students.

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  16. I’ve been looking for a way to do a better job of teaching writing, and this sounds like a great method! I can’t wait to check it out!

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  17. What an interesting concept. I know my students work as peers, but not groups. My mind started “working”…I could see a fun after school club of writers. Even making their own “books”. Definitely something to think about. It could change the thoughts that writing is terrible-most students change their mind 1/2 way through the year. This might change the mind thought earlier.

    Looking forward to learning more.

    Thanks!

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  18. This sounds like a great way to promote more relationship building, too! I’m finding that my students need more teaching and practice around relationships than they have in the past. And who couldn’t use more joy in writing?

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  19. This sounds like an amazing way to rejuvenate writing in my fourth grade. I can’t wait to share with my team!

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