If your writing workshop has felt squeezed for time, then NOW is the time to chat with your grade-level colleagues or administrator about allocating more instructional time for the teaching of writing.
Time is a precious commodity in elementary schools. Making the time for a daily writing workshop often means that something else has to get short shrift. However, sometimes, the time for writing workshop gets cut by five or ten minutes. Here are several suggestions for what you can do if writing time gets cut.
Donald Murray, author of the seminal text A Writer Teaches Writing (Houghton Mifflin, 1985), teaches us that one of the most important things to a writer is time, time to write. But with the many time constraints faced by teachers, how can we be thinking about time in ways that make a difference for our students?
Sometimes in a busy and chaotic schedule, we inadvertently miss attending to some of our students who like to “fly under the radar.” Being systematic and intentionally positive can make a big difference for some of our writers.
Like any other skill, children need long stretches of time to practice writing if they’re going to develop strong writing muscles. Seeing as muscles need to be used often to get bigger, it’s important teachers are providing kids with (four or) five times a week to engage in a writing workshop where they have at least 30 minutes of independent writing time.
The one question that comes up again and again, no matter what part of the country I happen to visiting, is TIME.
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Teachers tend to take care of everyone else before they take care of themselves! It’s time to start carving out a little ME time for yourself at least one afternoon a week.
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