On Long Island, NY, August begins with lazy, summer mornings, beach days, barbecues, travel and an easy-breezy pace. It ends with alarm clocks set, lunches packed, work bag full of new school supplies and the anticipation of another school year. I will not meet my new class of third graders until September 6th, but I am already thinking about them and the work we will do together.
I’ve been a teacher for over 20 years now and some elements of writing workshop are second nature to me now. However, my students are only 8 years old (some will start the year at 7!) and have only been in school for a few years. Coming from a pandemic that disrupted their kindergarten year and made for a more challenging first and second grade, I’m not sure how much my students will understand about what it means to be a writer. There will likely be some students who have learned about the writing process and understand what revision is and how to learn from a mentor text. There will likely be some students for whom those terms and ideas are brand new.
As I wrote this post, I thought to myself, “What do I want my new third grade writers to know and understand about writing?” There is so much. I brainstormed some of the important themes in a Jamboard.
Using the themes that emerged, I composed a letter to my new students, to help them understand writing identity, writing process, why writers write, how a community can help, and how books and texts we read can become mentors. Here is the letter that I will share with my students:
How do you introduce writing workshop themes and ideas to your students?