Saturday, March 9, 2013


We write each afternoon in journals during Writer's Workshop.  Our routine is:

1.  Eight seconds of think-time to decide on a topic.  My favorite is when children come in first thing in the morning and tell me what they want to write about that day.  This week, a sweetie-pie said, "I've known my topic all day!  Hotel Transylvania!  It's a movie..." and went on from there.
2.  Tell someone sitting close about your topic.  Make sure you have at least 3 details to describe.
3.  Write four sentences.  The number of sentences increases through the year.  It's determined by the unit we're in for Reading, right now- unit 4.  This takes about 10 minutes.
4.  Illustrate for about 5 minutes.
5.  Color the picture.

     Usually, three children are chosen to share.  They display their journal on the Smartboard using the document camera and read for us.  We encourage and critique, usually correcting the big two first-grade editing issues: uppercases and periods.
     Thursday, I shared Pandora Gray's quote from Day 3's Slice of Life:

There are a lot of writers, but only one you.
     Then, I mixed up the journals and read each one.  They had to guess who's who.  By this time of year, it was pretty easy.  Three girls love their dogs, two boys love basketball (UK and Upward) and two friends almost always describe video games.  (I made a big decision last month- We all love our moms and dads, but we're not writing about them anymore.)

The best part?  They wanted to guess again yesterday.


Mommy Reads said...

Teaching writing is something I have always loved, but not felt especially confident with. WW has brought the confidence to me and my budding first grade authors. I'm going to do this next week just for fun! Thank you!

Maureen said...

I love the insight you provide about writing in your classroom. I particularly like your fun ritual of "I mixed up the journals and read each one. They had to guess who's who." This is great community building for the class! I think my preschoolers would love this. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how quickly young writers find their writing territories.

Anonymous said...

That's a very cool way to do workshop. One of the things I enjoy about WW is that it seems like it will be at least a little bit different for everyone- and that can be ok!

Mrs. V said...

It is great that routines help young writers think of writing topics on a regular basis. It seems like because they know they will be writing, they naturally think about options throughout the day. This seems to be true with adults. During the month of March, I imagine many people walk around with potential slices tumbling around in their minds!

jenb. said...

Your routines are so explicit and achievable for your students. Way to set them up for success!! I am going to share this post with my first-grade teacher friends!!

Robin said...

Man, I wish I could think of my topic in 8 seconds! WW can be such a fun time of the day...and some days...not so much. I always enjoy hearing good WW stories!