Writers' Workshop Overview
is Writers’ Workshop?
Workshop is a format that provides the structure to support
children learning to write. The workshop is designed for
use with grades K-5 and is designed for 60 minutes a day.
Activities are designed to teach youngsters what good
writers do to help them learn to write The learn to generate
writing using self-selected topics, work with others to
revise and refine their writing, as well as practice
author’s craft, skills, grammar, and conventions.
Predictable rituals and routines structure the workshop to
provide consistent expectations. There are four genres of
writing taught within the Writers’ Workshop: Informational/
Report, Narrative, Procedural, and Response to Literature.
does the class period look like during Writer’ Workshop?
Writers’ Workshop contains three parts: an Opening, a
Work Session, and a Closing.
During the Opening, the teacher teaches a 5-10 minute mini-lesson
that brings the entire class together as a whole group for a
single writing focus.
During the 40-45
minute Work Session the students go through the
writing process: plan, draft, confer, revise, edit, and
The 5-10 minute
Closing brings the students back together to share in
the Author’s Chair what they have learned as writers.
Choosing students to share
Conferring with individual
small group conference
you learn as a writer today?
Clearing up misconceptions
What drives the Writers’ Workshop?
Each grade level has a set of
internationally benchmarked standards that provide a
framework for instruction.
They also have a grade level specific scoring rubric
for each genre of writing. The mini-lessons are chosen
through on-going assessment that often includes diagnostic
assessment of different writing genres, looking at the
class-generated rubric to decide when the writing is good
enough, and anecdotal notes from writing conferences.
What is a mini-lesson?
A mini-lesson focuses on a single concept
such as a procedure (ritual or routine), a writer’s craft
(such as noticing an author’s technique or style), or a
skill (such as a lesson on language use and conventions).
A mini-lesson has four parts: the connection
(connecting to what good writers do, the standard, and what
the class has been doing in previous lessons), the teach
(the single focus of the lesson), the active involvement
(the students practicing the focus), and the link
(linking to what the student will be doing during the Work
Session and what they will do as writers “today and
always”). REFER TO WRITING MONOGRAPH: MINI-LESSONS
What is independent writing?
Students write daily on self-selected
topics during the Work Session of Writers’ Workshop.
Students in intermediate grades occasionally practice
writing to specific topics to prepare for the fourth grade
FCAT writing assessment.
What are the stages of writing?
– Students must first have a plan for
writing by reviewing previous work, looking
through their seed journals, or conferring
with a friend.
are responsible for generating their own
topics, knowing that a first draft is rarely
a final draft.
Students receive feedback through peer and
teacher conferences and response groups.
revisit the content of their writing to
determine if the purpose is clearly
communicated, if their paper is
well-organized, and if the writing meets the
elements of the standard using a rubric.
are responsible for addressing concerns with
spelling, punctuation, capitalization,
paragraphing, and language usage.
Not all writing gets a final edit.
Only students wishing to publish a
portfolio piece go through the editing
should polish 10 pieces representing each of
the genres each year representing their
REFER TO WRITING MONOGRAPH: PLANNING,
DRAFTING, REVISING, AND EDITING
What happens in a writing conference?
Conferring is a powerful way to provide
individualized, purposeful, focused and specific
Conferring teaches the writer and not necessarily just a
single piece of writing.
The goal is to teach the writer is such a way that
s/he uses the lesson for all pieces of writing to come.
REFER TO WRITING MONOGRAPH: WRITING CONFERENCE
What is a response group?
Response groups typically are composed of
three to four students and might be thought of as small,
on-going, collaborative groups who assist each other with
various tasks of writing. REFER TO WRITING MONOGRAPH:
How is student writing organized??
There are three types of folders used to
organize student work:
folders contain pieces of writing students
are currently working on.
folders contain everything a student has
written for the year and provide a long-term
look at the progress of the student over the
While intermediate students keep
every piece of writing, kindergarten and
first teachers often help students sort
through their work each nine weeks, keeping
only representative samples that help the
student represent their progress in writing
showcases the “best effort” of student work
that is working toward or meeting the
A complete portfolio is kept for each
student and sent to the next year’s teacher.
During the year, the teacher/student
selects one piece from his/her portfolio
that best represents their writing from the
Portfolios are generally kept in
orange folders and are kept over the course
of a child’s years at Timucuan
At the end of the fifth grade year,
the portfolio is sent home for the family to
celebrate the child’s work over the course
of his/her elementary career.
What is the Author’s Chair?
At the Closing of Writer’s Workshop,
students have a chance to share with their classmates what
they learned as a writer.
Students that share also have the opportunity to read
their writing and then receive appropriate feedback in the
form of compliments and suggestions.
Sometimes they share an author’s craft they have
they share just the beginning or ending of their writing,
and sometimes they share an entire piece.
Often the teacher has requested that specific
students bring specific pieces to the Author’s Chair to
reinforce the mini-lesson or to point out something she
noticed during the Work Session that she thinks has
implications for the entire class. REFER TO WRITING
MONOGRAPH: AUTHOR’S CHAIR