This week I had the advice to add more rationale behind what makes Writer’s Workshop a best practice for teaching, to add more commentary. I have come to the conclusion that is not what I want for this wiki. I will give credit where credit is due, but all of the material within my wiki pages is mine that I have created myself, or with the guidance of a mentor teacher steering me in the right direction. So I am left feeling torn about what to do now- include more substantial material and supportive references/resources OR make this how I envision it for use with my students in the classroom. I know my wiki pages look like a bunch of lists just linking to other pages, but those lists really are the meat and potatoes of my classroom.
Writer’s Workshop classrooms are based on a simple daily routine of a status of the class (2 minutes), a mini-lesson (5-10 minutes), writing time/conferencing (20-40 minutes), and a sharing time (5-10 minutes). So with this type of a structure, my mini-lessons honestly don’t consist of much more than I have written on my wiki pages. I briefly explain a concept, I ask students for example ideas to model the concept or technique with and then ask if there are any questions I need to clarify. This process takes only 5-10 minutes. (Unlike a lecture class where teachers try to engage the class for the entire time with information about the topic at hand.) During the writing time is when I confer with students individually to make sure they are on the right track and using the concept/technique correctly in their writing.
The places I find my information about Writer’s Workshop are from the mentor teachers I worked with, my own ideas, and from Teaching That Makes Sense (TTMS) or good old Wikipedia’s Writing Workshop page. NCTE, time4writing and similar teaching resource websites have information as well, but nothing new that I haven’t already discovered somewhere else. I am not by any means saying that I know everything there is to know about Writer’s Workshop, I am only supporting my statement that a basic routine is followed for Writer’s Workshop and the mini-lessons that are taught vary based on what the students are needing help with. There is not a curriculum written for the writing workshop style classroom to reference. I have added a couple of resources to my pages, so I haven’t ruled out the idea completely. I used the Ontario Ministry of Education and time4writing as resources on my pages and added direct links to the sites to give credit for the information.
I suppose what I could do, too, is cite which Common Core standards relate to the lessons or materials I have posted. The standards align mostly with the lesson as a whole rather than these individual snippits I have posted so far, so that would be a time consuming process. One that is well worth the time, though. I have to cite the standards to my administration on my lesson plans, so I will have to do it eventually!
Work I’ve done this week:
I always forget to tag my pages I create. I guess because I still don’t quite understand how tags work so I don’t get the importance of them. I know I will have to go back in and make sure all pages are correctly tagged.
Welcome to Writer’s Workshop this is the main page so anything new is linked from this page
Creating Your Writer’s Workshop Notebook I added a little info about the purpose of the notebook and it’s importance
That’s what I accomplished this week. My wiki will always be a work in progress as I continue to use it and think of other things to add to it. I have added nearly all the information I used over the course of a whole school year in my project, so there isn’t a lot left to add except the actual writing assignments and rubrics that I used for grading (which I don’t have access to or I would have). But, the assignments change with each class and each grade level, so I am hesitant to put them on. I could do a page like I did for the Craft section and not link everything until I teach/use it. I suppose I should do that. I kind of already did with the Personal Narrative and Poetry links… those lead to nowhere because I haven’t created the pages yet…
I hope this project gets used and doesn’t lead to nowhere… with budget cuts and teaching assignments re-arranged each year, there is a chance I will never be able to teach another writer’s workshop class like I did last year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that doesn’t happen so I will be using my wiki daily!