Monday, October 22, 2012

Writing Workshop and some exciting stuff!

In the past, I've really struggled to teach writing.  What is suggested in our Reading Series...well...I just don't like it.  There's no logic to it really.  It's like someone throws feathers up in the air and you just catch what you catch.  I've tossed around different things.  Tried a few things here and there.  And I'm all about logic.  Systematic.  RELEVANT.  Nothing drives me more crazy than randomly teaching my firsties something that has no rhyme or reason or sense to it.  They don't get it and neither do I.

So this year I've combined a few things and come up with something that is actually working for once.  Hey, that's what teaching is all about, right?  Try something and if it doesn't work, try something else.  Tweak.  Adjust.  Experiment.

So here's how I have my schedule arranged.  Every morning after announcements and lunch count and the daily "chores", we do our "writing workshop" for 30 minutes (I wish I could do longer, but alas, the schedule does not allow it).  I am telling you, Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills have been a GODSEND.  I am not kidding you.  It has been such a great thing in my classroom and the best part is that the kids LOVE IT.  They get SO excited about writing workshop.

If you haven't checked it out, here's the link:

Then I've kind of/sort of incorporated the Daily 5.  Unfortunately, I do not have a big enough block to do The Daily 5 five times in one day.  So it's kind of a modified version.  Anyways, those of you familiar with The Daily 5 know that one of the components is Work on Writing.  For this, the students have several options of what to do.  They can:

-Write in their journal (their choice OR a pre-written topic).
-Make a card.
-Write a report.
-Write a book report.
-Write a letter.
-Write a list.
-Write a story.

They choose.  I have drawers on our writing table with everything already copied.

Inside each drawer is an idea list and a template sheet.  I laminated them and put them in the drawers for reference.  The letter list actually has an example on the back of how to format the letter so they can see the proper way to date it, address it, write it, close it, and sign it.

These are the journals I have for my students.  I found these binders at Odd Lots for somewhere in the neighborhood of $0.80 a piece.  I put a cover page and several blank journal pages inside.  The journal pages are from Journals Through the Year by Rachelle Smith.

Blank pages are already in their binders.  They can add pre-written prompts if they have a hard time thinking of something to write.

Here are some of my firsties during Work on Writing!

Making a card...

Writing a report on weather...

If you're interested in the drawers full of writing goodies, you can pick it up at my TPT shop!

A couple more notes before I head to bed...

1.  I now have a Facebook page!  If you look to the right, you will find a link to "like" my page.  I'm a Facebook junkie, so don't be surprised if you see an update pretty often on there...and I LOVE to chat, so you might see lots of opportunities to chime and converse in some teacher talk!  ;)

2.  I have to give a shout-out to my school.  We are "officially" rated an EXCELLENT SCHOOL DISTRICT!  The only one in our county!  Woo-hoo!  :D  Hard work, dedicated teachers, community/parental involvement, and a love for our schools has brought us success!  Congrats to all those in the Pleasant Local School District in Marion, OH!


  1. Congrats on being part of an excellent school. It is so nice to know you are surrounded by amazing teachers and very lucky students :)
    My Second Sense

  2. Congratulations:) I love that you mentioned Deanna and Deedee's pack for your first grade class. I have contemplated purchasing it and was wondering if it was more geared towards kindergarten.

    the Resourceful Apple