Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Workshop Wednesday

Hello Everyone!  Today I am linking up with Jivey from Ideas by Jivey for Workshop Wednesday.
The topic is setting up workshops.  The subject I will be focusing on is writing.  One of the very first things that I do to get my writing workshop started is to have the students decorate their notebooks.  I always ask students why they think I assign this, and they come up with great answers like, "Writing is creative, so we should have a creative cover."  Students also mention the individuality of writing, and that we should try to make it fun.  I get a wide variety of notebook covers ranging from magazine collages, to art work, to photos, to stickers...  I always try to model, so here is my notebook cover.  (My students this year have already picked up on my zebra print obsession.)
I feel very strongly that students need a wide range of topics available for independent writing, so we do a lot with that through read alouds. Here are three of my favorites.  (There's not enough room on this page for all my favorites, so I'm limiting myself to three.)
(Fourth graders still LOVE this one!)

Nancy Atwell has a great list of "Writing Territories" (from Lessons that Change Writers).  I don't use all of them, but I list several on the board. Students use these broad categories to come up with some general topics to write about.  (We will narrow these topics later.)  Students who want to can share their ideas to inspire others.
Another resource that has great ideas for gathering topics is Notebook Know How.  I know everyone is crazy busy right now, but this is an excellent resource that is definitely worth your time to read, if you haven't already.
Some ideas found in this book for gathering topics include:
*Quietly observing the classroom
*Taking a walk outside
*Lists: best events, worst events, scary stories...
*Some good suggestions for writing off literature
*"Writing from a Word"
*"Lifting a Line"

I learn so much about my students just from seeing their topics.  I can't wait to start reading their writing.

I'm off to check out all the other great ideas for getting workshops started.

Thank you!


  1. I am (re)reading "Notebook Know-How" right now so we are on the same page. It is a great resource full of wonderful ideas for starting out the year.

    I love your use of mentor texts! Fourth graders still love picture books (and so do I).

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  2. These are some great texts to use! I''ve used a few already! :) Thanks for linking up!
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