We can change up how we are teaching depending on the situation and circumstances, but in order to do that, we have to know some choices and moves we can make. Knowing this, there are a few quick ways we can think about repertoire within our whole group instruction.
Finding ways to trust kids, it might be said, creates more space for learning. In this post, I offer a few ways trust can be manifested in a writing workshop…
As we set off to create writers who write in tandem with the printed world and the digital world there are a few we need to consider.
Whether you’re already back in school or returning in the next two weeks, I’ve rounded up some of our team’s best blog posts that will help you launch & sustain writing workshop in 2018-19.
Teaching kids how to teach a minilesson might be easier than you think.
In a minilesson, we work to not only demonstrate a strategy sometimes employed by professional writers, but also to provide a quick opportunity for young writers assembled before us to apply it, either in their own writing or in a co-authored class composition. This short segment of the minilesson during which writers ‘give a strategy a go’ themselves, often called the “Active Involvement” or “Active Engagement,” allows writers an immediate opportunity for application in the supportive environs of the meeting area. How can we make this part of the lesson really count?
There are many ways to teach a minilesson effectively. Many people think inquiry minilessons are stickier than demonstrations since kids “discover” things on their own. As a result, learning stays with kids longer since they’ve come to the learning on their own.
When I was a new teacher, my professors and mentors emphasized the importance of questioning as a teaching technique. We were taught to track the number and frequency of questions we asked, as… Continue reading
For many of us, especially in middle school, trying to fit all the pieces of writing workshop into, say, a 41-minute schedule, can feel daunting. How can we teach a minilesson, get our kids working, confer with individuals and small groups, provide a mid-workshop interruption, and facilitate a teaching share…all in that tight time frame?
Everything students are asked to do in writing workshop builds on effective teaching during the minilesson. It’s important to understand the basics of writing minilessons so we can write them quickly and teach our students to become stronger writers every time we bring them to the meeting area to teach them something new.
Writing Workshops have important structural components.
“Story is the basic unit of human understanding.” – Drew Dudley, Day One Leadership. We have been learning through story for thousands of years. Our innate fascination for wanting to know what happens… Continue reading
Poetry month in my opinion (and my students’) is a celebration of writing! It’s a time when we writers welcome new beginnings and hone the art and crafting of our writing skills. I watch my students take wings and write with grace and confidence during poetry month.
We’ve all likely taught ‘show, don’t tell’ lessons in our narrative units. But showing not telling can have instructional meaning, as well…
Katie Kraushaar, a middle school teacher, has six tips for keeping minilessons mini during writing workshop.
Sometimes the most effective way to help writers leap ahead, is to slow things down and take a step back.
A formula for writing clear teaching points
A strong active engagement, and a routine for informally assessing student work during the minilesson can give you the tools you need to be sure that no student leaves the meeting area completely confused.
My goal for the next few weeks is to pay close attention to kids when they leave the meeting area to start working. How many are actually trying out the new strategy? How many are going right back to their old habits? And what can I do to coach them to try new things?
There is a formula that I use, time and time again, to adapt my own minilessons. Yes, this formula helps me keep my minilessons to about ten minutes and makes planning more streamlined, but more importantly this formula helps me with one of my personal goals as a teacher: student engagement.