Launching a Strategic Writing Workshop: Tips and Tools of the Trade

With a new school year upon us or about to begin for the rest of us, thinking about launching your writing workshop in a strategic, well-planned way will pay off in the end.  Setting up the routines, expectations, and the flow of writing workshop first thing will enable your writers to blossom this school year.

Here are our tips and tools to think about when launching your writing workshop this Fall:

Meeting Area. Think about how you will create a designated space for minilessons and small group work.

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Workshop Meeting Area and Conferring Table

Classroom Library. Consider how you will organize and set up your classroom library so readers can easily and independently find their books.

TK Library 95th St School

Lise Traphagen’s TK Classroom Library at 95th Street School in LAUSD

Materials.  Consider how your writing workshop materials will be organized, including notebooks, pens, folders, publishing paper, chart paper, markers

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Writing Materials Area

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Writing Materials Paper Choice

Management Charts. Think about where you’ll place these strategically around your room

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How Writers Can Prepare for Writing Workshop

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Parts of Workshop

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Writing Process in Upper Grades

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Writing Process in the Primary Grades

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Writing Process: SMASH 5th Grade Teacher Genie

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Writing Process: SMASH 2nd Grade Teacher Christian

Process Board.  Consider having a process board in your room: a place to display anchor charts for each stage of the writing process. Encourage writers to refer to these charts to build independence.

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Writing Process Board 

Anchor Charts. Think about how to display charts for writing plans, qualities of good writing, and thought prompts to build independence with your writers.

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Anchor Chart: Writing Plans

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Anchor Chart: Story Elements

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Primary Grades Anchor Chart: Bring you Story to Life

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Anchor Chart: Qualities of Good Writing

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Anchor Chart: Thought Prompts

Conferring. Consider building a notebook or binder to store your strategic conferring notes and think about the classic conference.

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Classic Conference

Accountable Talk: Consider displaying charts with specific suggestions about partnership talk, including your expectations for building meaningful, accountable talk in your workshop.

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Building Meaningful Conversations

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Turn and Talk: SMASH 2nd Grade Teacher Christian

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Language Stems: Partner Talk

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Group Talk: SMASH 5th Grade Teacher Genie

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Partnerships: A & B and Seating in Meeting Area

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Partnership Ideas in the Primary Grades

Mentor Texts: Think about the mentor texts you’ll use during your launching unit and have those displayed for your writers to refer back to throughout the unit of study.

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Mentor Texts on Display

Celebrating Writers. Consider displaying your writer’s published pieces after your writing celebration.  A proud declaration of the writing going on in your classroom.

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Published Writing

We hope you have a successful launch in writing workshop this Fall and encourage you to send us pictures of some of the tips and tools you find helpful in your classroom.

Written by Growing Educators Staff Developer Courtney Kinney