I promised I would keep updating how our writer's workshop is going so I'm back today for a little update......before it starts to looks very different. EEEKKKK!!!!! I'm excited for what's coming up. But let me share with you the new routines we put in place this week.
Last week we got our writer's workshop folders. I LOVE these folders. They are called Nicky's folders and they are made from a soft plastic. They have a clear pocket on the front and back of the folder - plus the pockets on the inside. My grade level bought these for our take-home folders - but I had to buy more to use for my writer's workshop folders. They last all year. They bend and mold so easy. I tell my kids they are "magic writing folders" and they need to have their folders under their paper as they write (really it's to keep them from losing their folders all over the place, but it does help make their writing more clear)........ok, so maybe I'm falling for my own story a little :0) Anyways, they believe it and LOVE their "magic folders".
When it is tidy up time after we've shared (super important to have them share), kids place them in their chair pockets. They fit perfectly sideways and don't fall out. I gotta tell you that I LOVE these chair pockets too. They aren't the regular size - they are "mini-sized" just like my little ones. I got them at Really Good Stuff HERE. I love that they are really holding up extremely well. I was so afraid they would tear, but I haven't seen any of that! LOVE THEM!
We also stopped using community crayon tubs for writer's workshop this week. We received our own "green pouches" where we keep our individual crayons and pen. This is an important step in writer's workshop for my room because they are no longer tied to sitting at the tables.
NEXT STEP: We will begin talking about how all writer's don't sit at tables to write. They find nice, relaxing places to perfect their craft. I will do lots of modeling how I choose a good spot to write and which spots are not good. We practice finding spots to write and in time it becomes like second-nature.
I love this time for 2 main reasons:
1. I like when they are spread out around the room because they generally talk less and it a quiet hum begins indicating thinking writers are at work.
2. I love the feel of the room - lights are turned down, calm music playing, and kids spread out (some slouched over a low table, some laying on their bellies, some choose to sit at a table) - it's about choice. Controlled choices. THIS IS WHEN THE REAL WORK OF WRITER'S WORKSHOP CAN BEGIN TO UNFOLD!!
Visual ScheduleThis is something I've toyed with using for years, but I am such a forgetful Nelly I've never really kept up with it. I always figured I'm in charge of what we do in the class so why do the kids need to see our schedule?
I am a total convert! I made the decision I was going to use a schedule this year and I am so glad I did. I even employed the kids to help me with it and keep me on track. THEY LOVE THIS SCHEDULE! If I forget to flip a card over after we've done it - they remind me. They also use it to help them understand our day internally. If we have 2 more activities before lunch - I no longer get a ton of "When is it lunch time?" questions anymore. They look to the schedule and determine for themselves. I often hear them say, "It's not too long before lunch. We just have big book left." I love hearing this talk! I am now convinced of the importance and benefits of using a visual schedule. If you don't currently use a schedule - listen to me. I didn't used to "get it", but now "I totally get it". Use one for Pete's Sake! :0)
QUESTION: Do you use writer's workshop? Do your kids sit at tables or choosing their own writing spots??