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Summer School!

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Organizing Writer's Workshop
Writer's Workshop is organized much like Reading Workshop.  Students are grouped based on the standards or skills they need to work on. The class begins as a whole group for a mini lesson which is followed by students splitting into their workshop sessions.
Here is a suggested structure for Writer's Workshop.
The Mini Lesson- 5-15 Minutes
  A mini lesson is a short piece of instruction given to the class as a whole. There are three types of mini lessons.
  • Procedures: This involves instruction that helps students understand how workshop works. During this type of lesson it is best to have students give input into the procedures they think will make workshop successful and productive.  This can include things like how to set up their writer's notebook, what transitions in workshop should look and sound like, how to conference with a peer, or how to request a conference.
  • Strategies Writers Use: This is the "how" of writing, as in "How do I pick a good topic?" or "How do I write a good lead?" These lessons are best organized around the writing process. If your schedule makes it difficult to fit in the entire 50-60 minutes for Writer's Workshop you can combine it with Reading Workshop. A read aloud can be used to show examples of good writing or writing skills. 
  • Qualities of Good Writing: These lessons are designed to introduce students to examples of good writing. They involve reviewing and analyzing models of good writing using the language of your classroom criteria. These kinds of lessons often come up naturally during reading time or teacher modeling.
 Status of the Class- 2-5 Minutes
Status of the class is a quick way for finding out what students will be working on that day. There are several ways this can be done.
  •  Out Loud: Students tell the teacher and the class what they're working on. They can tell the title, the topic, or the stage they are in the writing process. When saying aloud what they plan to work on, students will feel more accountable for accomplishing their goals for the day. This does, however, take more time.
  • Visually: Teachers will have a chart of some type and students put their name under the category on the chart that represents their work goals for the day. Many times this is a chart of the writing process in which students indicate the stage they are on such as pre-writing, drafting, revision, conferencing, editing, or publishing
Writing Time15-30 Minutes
Writing time is the main focus during Writer's Workshop. This is when students work to accomplish their goals for the day. During this time the teacher can conference individually with students. This time can also be used to meet with small groups of students who have similar instructional needs. This time can also be used to have students practice a skill covered in the mini lesson so that the teacher can assess whether the students is meeting their writing goals.
Conferencing During Writing Time
During writing time you have a chance to work with students individually. It is also a great time to assess a student's development. There are a few things the teacher needs to do in order to make the best use of this time.
Management: It's important to have a procedure for conferencing in place and that students understand this procedure. Students need to be able to: 1.) Know when the teacher is available for a conference 2.) Request a conference in an appropriate way 3.) Work on one thing at a time 4.) Before you leave the conference, make sure the student know what to do. 
Conferencing Forms:
Sharing 5-15 Minutes
This gives writers a chance to share their writing with the class. This gives the student a real audience which can give them valuable feedback about how they are doing. During this time students can give informal feedback or you can have them complete a rubric that can be given to the writer later. Sharing can be done as:
  • Whole Class: This gives the student a chance to share in front of a larger audience which can help build their confidence. They will also have more opportunities for feedback with more students hearing their writing. 
  • Small Group: Students can be put into groups of 3-5 students. This can save time but requires more management. There will be several groups of students talking at once so it's a little more noisy. The teacher will need to monitor to make sure that each group is on task.  
  • Partner Sharing: This can save time but has it's downfalls. The writer gets feedback from only one other person. You also need to think about who is partnered with whom.
Just as with Reading Workshop, Writer's Workshop does not have to follow a single format. Good writing instruction incorporates reading and word study into Writer's Workshop. This idea behind both is that they are dynamic and flexible so that students are receiving the instruction and practice they need.
Good Resources for Writer's Workshop
These are resource books that I have used in my own Writer's Workshop. I found each of them very helpful. Click on the image to get more information on the book or resource. 

Great Resources
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Last Update on 4/15/13