Writers Workshop: Every Child is an Author

We want students to have joy as authors and find their voices and share their voices. It’s about a little boy named Sam, he finds Santa Claus in his front yard, and he goes on a wonderful journey. “What am I going to write about today? And what will I use to write with?” Writers Workshop really centers around choice. And I think to me that’s one of the most important pieces because the kids feel like they really are the authors in the classroom. I believe that every child has a story to tell. This allows the opportunity for each child to bring their own lives into the classroom. The Writing Workshop has a number of key components, perhaps the three most central components, The mini lessons you need to be responsive to the needs of the children in the class. We have the opportunity for children to write independently, and to conference with children and to coach them to move forward as writers. And at the end we have the opportunity for the children to share their writing What they’re getting used to is this idea of formative assessment that receiving feedback helps them grow their practice as authors and you’re always trying to tinker with what you’re doing to better communicate your story to your audience. “‘In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.’ What kind of hook has our author included?” As our classrooms are obviously so diverse when you do your mini lesson it allows you to kind of go from that access point, making it accessible to the whole class, and then when you really go into the conferencing piece it really allows you to focus in on that student and see where they see themselves at, where they want to go, and offer them more support there. What I love about a conference is it’s led by the students and not the teacher. Really they’re self-regulating their learning, they’re saying here’s what I want to go, here’s the goal that I have and hey teacher you can help me out a little bit because I’m wondering about a technique for this. We end with an author circle. It just really allows for a chance to celebrate everybody’s progress. I think it’s really powerful because it also allows students to see themselves no matter where they are in their writing that they are authors. The writing workshop framework allows them to move along a continuum of writing and see themselves develop their identity as a writer.

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