Writing Workshop

by: Victoria Neff

“The writer is by nature a dreamer.”

Writing Workshop

The reason for writing workshop is to provide time for students to practice their writing and integrate literacy to aid it, every student is their own author and they are able to create a piece of writing using a craft and their style. This is more of a time to give them experience rather than just being taught. This is the portion where they are set to just write and do their thing.

Memoir writing

A six word memoir is a great way for each student to individually tell a story of themselves. This is done by a mini-lesson that explains what a memoir is and how it can be made into just six words. A good way for students to start this is to have them free write about something that is important to them. That way, the scope is narrowed, but it is still an open ended topic. After this, the students select the six most important words that sum up what they wrote about.

I did this activity with my students, and it was interesting to see what they all came up with. This was a completely new topic for them, so I had to start from the very beginning and explain what a memoir was and how it was used to convey an idea about yourself. The children were able to narrow down the memoir into six strong words quite easily, and they each represented their own values and morals.

To the right is an example of a student’s six word memoir.

Persuasive writing

This style of writing holds true ownership to their style and personality individually. Again, a good way for this is to start off with a mini-lesson, maybe with some examples, and then let them write down notes as to the reasons that they are persuading and their supporting arguments. Although there is a set topic for this style of writing, it still gives them that chance to show what they believe in and what they consider strong arguments that are convincing.

When I did this lesson with my students, they already had one persuasive writing activity a few days before, so they knew somewhat of the style of writing it required. The topic I gave them was “Convince you parent or guardian why you should stay home from school for one day.” This was a fun, relatable prompt that the children could make their own. It was interesting to see the different ideas they came up with and which details they included in their letter that they found the most important.

Word Work

Word work is also known as getting to know different words and how they are made up. Knowing the composition of words such as their spelling and how the phonemes sound to create the whole word are part of word work. Prefixes and suffixes are also learned, which helps with the meaning of words in context. Knowing these things about words helps with decoding and knowing how to spell in every day writing.

Word study time

Splitting up into groups by spelling level can benefit those to where they can study the word patterns that most fit their ability. There are still some challenges for them, but this helps them focus in on certain patterns at a time. Patterns include CVC, doublets, etc.

Vocabulary time

A good way to introduce a new text to students is to go over vocabulary words that are found in that text ahead of time. Through this, students will most likely be able to tell what the text will be about. After the students learn what each word means, they will then be able to use that knowledge and see how the words are being used in context. This shows a great learning point- from prior knowledge and learning completely new words, to seeing them in action and making sense of them through sentences.