Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Writing Workshop

This is my third year teaching and I thought it was time that I step up my writing instruction. I didn't want the writing to be forced so I borrowed some ideas from Nancie Atwell in the structure and function of the workshop. So I began the workshop with two of my classes so far and it is going slow. I knew it would. So what am I doing and how am I assessing it?

Students are expected to 'publish' once every quarter (9 weeks) and write every time workshop meets. Grades are given for participation per workshop.

Writing Topics: Students get to choose, however, multiple writing topics are introduced via a daily journal throughout the week and mini-lesson on workshop day. Students can write just about anything they wish.

Grading: Students get a workshop grade (I circle the room and confer w/ students.) All students keep a record of work and leave drafts in writing folder. I can pull a folder at any time and see work and leave input. They also receive a grade for final draft of writing that is submitted to be published.

Publishing: is a source for publication. Students create a publishing worthy product for this magazine and must submit it. The local newspaper is a great source as well. Alterantively students can 'publish' to scholarships that require writing. I make sure to post details about these scholarships and incorporate mini-lessons that will help students write for these contests. My honors classes are required to 'publish' two times per quarter.

Mini-lessons: I borrow ideas for these from Nancie Atwell and use the OWL as a resource as well.

Conducting Workshop: FIRST: 5-10 minutes are for mini-lesson SECOND: 30 minutes are for silent writing (during this time instructor will meet with at least 10 students and read and counsel over writing) THIRD: 5 - 10 minutes Revising and/or editing

So far so good but this requires a lot of organization on the part of the instructor. I'll post a follow-up blog next week.