Friday, March 15

Learning Together Linky - Writing Workshop Overview

UPDATE: This is now a LINKY!!! Please consider linking up one of your old or new posts that covers your Writing Workshop Overview.

More Writing Workshop Topics to come each with their own linky...

Each post will describe an aspect of Writing Workshop in my world...

(much gratitude to: Lucy Calkins, Katie Wood Ray, Stephanie Parsons, my current and former school reading specialists, my amAAAAzing grade level teams and Y-O-U...the amazing bloggers and followers that inspire me all the time!!!!)...


I plan to include freebies as often as possible! 

I'd also REALLY love to learn from you! up at the bottom of this post...with an old or new blog post.

Please just make sure that...
1)You link your specific post instead of just your blog.
2) Your link is specific to the topic of that linky.

Thanks for considering!!!

On to an overview of Writing Workshop in my world:

As it is for now....I'm always mixing it up to stay fresh (and to drive myself crazy sometimes)...

I love, love, LOVE teaching writing! The kids grow exponentially as writers in first grade. Once they start to really consider their audience their writing gets SO good!

Our schools are moving toward being a Teachers College Reading & Writing Project Homegrown Institute for Reading Workshop. Eventually Writing Workshop will follow.

For now, though, we're a bit on our own, building the curriculum from here, there and over there...

There are three main of writing types we incorporate...

Here's what we do:

Writing Process writing is the absolute HEART of our Writing Workshop...

We study different genres of writing throughout the year. Each study includes reading and listening to books published in that genre. 

The big idea of every read aloud, every day, all year long, is reading like a writer...that"anything you see in a published book is something you can try in your own writing/illustrating."

We also emphasize that during STAR time in Reading Workshop (Study Think Ask Respond). During partner sharing, students are encouraged to share ideas and writers' crafts from one of their books that they want to borrow and try in their writing.

Our Genre Study Schedule will look roughly like this (thanks, Teacher's College) next year...but is subject to change each year. 

We also have room for flexibility to take advantage of teachable moments.

This year we've followed a bit of a different schedule, but we've incorporated these units...

Illustration Techniques Study 
Have you read Katie Wood Ray's In Pictures & In Words? It's incredible and really sets the stage for how we study illustrations all year long.

Personal Narrative
We use my Starting Point: Personal Narrative Pack and I must say I just LOVE how my students write during this unit! They get so excited about their ideas and we really have so much fun becoming a community of writers. This unit is also when we develop our Writing Partners (which I'll talk about in another post).

Question & Answer Books

Friendly Letter
The kids have SoOoOoO much fun with this unit! It's a fab one for focusing on capitalization, ending punctuation and spacing since letters tend to be shorter than stories. It's also delicious for getting kids to REALLY start considering their audience when they write...

This unit is a ToTaL blast! The kids have such a blast writing their reviews. They still choose to write reviews and they're so cute!

How To Books
I wrote a brief post about some of the read aloud books I used this year and this genre has been sooo much more fun this year! 

This year is the first year we're doing more than a dabble into poetry. 

I can't wait to try Susan Moran's (of the amazing TGIF blog) Poetry unit!!! I love her work!!!

I also LOVE Regie Routman's book Kid's Poems: Teaching First Graders to Love Writing Poetry. It's such a wonderful resource!

Non-fiction Writing
Students research a topic of their choosing and write about their research. This year we focused on using the wonderful subscription website Pebble Go and narrowed the scope of their research to animals. Using the headings from Pebble Go, kids took notes and made a non-fiction book about their animal, using PG as their main source of information. It was a BLAST!

Fiction Stories
I'm SO excited to implement this genre study for the first time this year! I plan to use this recent purchase as the foundation...Jenny Bender is a Lucy Calkins protege and staff developer - her book looks amazing!

For your freebies today, I'm revisiting some freebies that have been popular in the past...

Student Writing Paper with Editing Circles - there are several different styles of paper. Having the editing circles right there keeps editing at the forefront. The goal is for the kids to be able to put a smiley face in every when they re-read for upper/lower case letter usage, if they notice issues, they are to fix them before putting the smiley in that circle.


A planning web...(sorry in advance for the double clicking required)...we used this when we were mining for more ideas/topics. Kids lOvEd sharing their stories!
What are you wondering about Writing Workshop? I'd LoVe to infuse it into future Linky posts!!!

Feel free to link up...please make your link direct us to the specific blog post (not just your blog) about the specific topic of the linky.



  1. Fabulous post... I know what I'll be linking up to :0). Send love hugs and kisses! Give Em a squeeze for me!

    1. Just a test reply under my dear friend, Katie!!

      This is Michelle, from The 3AM Teacher

  2. You've got some great stuff here. I need to get more organized with MY writing.
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  3. thanks! I love learning more about writing workshop! Right now my class is learning about speech bubbles. I have been using Elephant and Piggie books (Mo Willems)to springboard this conversation.

    I also love Katie Wood Ray's In Pictures & In Words - what a fantastic resource!!
    Im your newest follower! Thanks for the amazing inspiration!

  4. I'm so excited you'll be doing a series of posts about Writer's Workshop. I teach at a small, private school and we haven't had much guidance in terms of how to teach writing. Writer's Workshop has been something new I've tried on my own this year with my First Graders, and while I am THRILLED with how it's improved my kids writing (and attitude toward writing, I definitely feel like I'm stumbling blindly in a lot of areas. The part I'm struggling the most with is how to get kids to successfully edit their own writing. I'm super excited to read how you do it in your room! Thank you!!

    Let’s Get Fancy in First

  5. Lisa, this series looks fantastic! I can't wait to learn with you! I'd love some new ideas for teaching writing as we are also on our own and my grade level team and I will be revamping and refreshing this summer.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

  6. Great post! I'm looking forward to this series..we are also pretty much on our own when it comes to writing..I think we'll be doing the same as Linda..trying to revamp and refresh the bits and pieces of curriculum we do have. This post is a great that you included the units of study that you use in your own classroom. :) Thanks!

  7. Awesome! I was *just* getting ready to create writing paper for my kiddos with the editing circles! How funny is that?! Great post! I have used Calkins' Writing Workshop and my own versions of it....but am not completely happy with it yet. (I just posted about that in my 2 Stars & a Wish post on my blog). Have you thought about turning this into a linky? It sounds like there's some interest....

    Primary Inspired

  8. I'm a linky virgin (embarrassing!) and I'd love to link up with your writing workshop but don't know what to do? I'm a quick learner, but need a lil help here :)

    Teaching in the Tongass

    1. I just commented on your blog, but should have put it here! My ability to reply to comments right on my blog is new to me and I forget that I can do that now! Would love to have you link up - you've got a great post!

  9. Yay! I did it! And I turned reply on, thanks for letting me know!


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