What Writer's Workshop Looks Like in my Classroom!

Writer's Workshop USED to be my least favorite subject to teach. I. Hated. It. I had the most difficult time coming up with mini-lesson ideas and truly understanding what my students needed to become better writers.

Now, I absolutely LOVE teaching writing! I look forward to this time each day and hope to instill a love of writing in my little first grade writers!


In my classroom I follow the Writer's Workshop model. A mini-lesson, followed by independent writing, and end with Share Chair! This is definitely NOT perfect or anywhere near a model classroom, but this is what works for me!


My mini-lesson is always done whole group and lasts about 10-20 minutes, depending on exactly what we are discussing!  We usually meet at the Smartboard to go over our standard and then move to the carpet for the actual lesson and modeling. We always begin by unpacking the standard and students turn and talk about their expectations. This has really helped my students become better writers. They really understand what they are expected to do and can easily explain the standard to others.


After unpacking the standard, we begin our mini-lesson. This used to be really hard for me. I had a hard time knowing exactly WHAT to teach during my mini-lessons. I found some great resources that helped me plan out my instruction for each writing genre.



During my mini-lesson I usually create an anchor chart WITH my students. I keep all our anchor charts posted in our classroom so that students can use them while they are writing independently. I change these out as students need them!


I also make sure to MODEL, MODEL, MODEL! Whatever concept we are working on, I make sure to SHOW my students how to use it in their own writing. I also make sure to read aloud the words that I am writing on the chart paper, I will even make a few mistakes so that I am able to edit and revise my writing later!


After our mini-lesson, my students are ready to practice and write independently! 


Independent writing is what my students spend the most time doing during Writer's Workshop. We usually write for around 30 minutes. At the very beginning of the year we discuss what independent writing looks like and sounds like (which also becomes another anchor chart) and I set very high expectations for them during this time! I play classical music (Disney lullabys are my favorite) and they know that their pencils should be doing the talking! 

Each of my students has a Writer's Notebook. This is where ALL their rough drafts, anchor charts, standards, graphic organizers, etc. go! I've tried doing a writing binder and a writing folder in the past, but this has just worked best for me! There was always an abundance of paper with the folders and binders, and these notebooks stay pretty clean and organized! 

For the really important anchor charts, I create cute little mini versions for my students to glue in their Writer's notebooks. I LOVE when I spy them using them during Independent writing time! 


This is the time my students get to WRITE! This year, I have my students sit and write at their desks. In the past I have allowed them to find writing spots around the room. But, now that I use Daily 5 they are able to write around the room during Work on Writing, so I just have them stay at their desks for Writer's Workshop! 


Instead of having a designated Word Wall in my classroom, each of my students keep a Personal Dictionary in their desk. They are able to ask me to spell words for them when they are not able to stretch out their sounds and spell the words themselves. We also do an entire mini-lesson on "Writer's Spell the Best They Can" at the beginning of the year and I introduce their dictionaries. 


It seems like I always have a few students who use them religiously, and a few students that never touch them! No matter what, I think it's a great resource! I included {special} pages in the back for calendar words, color words, number words, etc. that my students can use throughout the day, not just during writing. 



While my students are writing independently, I use this time to conference with them individually and in small groups! 

Sometimes I pull students to my table to work with them, and sometimes I complete drive-by conferences and travel around the room with my notebook and conference bag! 

I LOVE having this notebook full of all my notes when report card time rolls around! Makes writing comments MUCH easier! 


You can grab the editable notebook covers here

Inside my notebook, I keep notes pages to keep track of what I conference about with each student. I also have one for math and reading! You can grab these freebies here


After independent writing, my students are ready to share their writing with the class! 


During our Share Chair time, my students share their writing with the class. This usually only lasts about 5 minutes. We either meet back at the carpet or I have my students stay at their desks, it just depends on how much time we have left. I usually choose which of my students share, based on who I conferenced with that day or who I noticed did a good job with what we were working on during our mini-lesson. I always try to relate it back to our mini-lesson or something that we've been working on during Writer's Workshop. 

I had THE cutest little white rocking chair to use as my share chair, but when I was out on maternity leave a couple of years ago it broke. Very sad! I haven't found a new chair that I absolutely LOVE yet, so my students either sit in my rocking chair or on one of our buckets that we usually keep near the computers. 

Do you use the Writer's Workshop model in your classroom? What are some of your favorite writing resources? Make sure to leave your favorite resources in the comments!

Stay tuned for some more of my favorite mini-lessons for Writer's Workshop and how I teach Personal Narratives! 

For even more ideas and resources, make sure to follow Teaching with Crayons and Curls on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Teachers Pay Teachers


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