5 Ways to Make the Most of Writer's Workshop

I am so thrilled to have my good friend, Theresa, from True Life I'm A Teacher guest post on my blog today!  She is sharing some FABULOUS ideas to help with writing!!

If you are looking for a new teacher to follow, make sure to check her out!  Her ideas are amazing and I just LOVE her style! Yay!


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Hey Friends! I'm so excited to be sharing today on Mandy's blog! She is the best, and has some AMAZING advice, and ah-hem...tips!!!



I have a love-hate relationship with teaching writing. It's one of my favorite, and most dreaded things to teach all at the same time. It's a hard concept for kids...there's not a right or wrong answer (not that that should be the point of anything), which complicates things for kids (and maybe teachers too!)

Over the last few years, I've really worked on my writer's workshop skills, so when Mandy asked me to share about writing, I knew EXACTLY what tips I wanted to share...5 to be exact!



When planning mini-lessons, less is definitely more when it comes to writing. It's impossible to take a piece of writing through the entire writing process in just one lesson...there's so many components to writing, that it's best to think of small ideas: procedural (think launching writer's workshop lessons), specific strategies, skills, or writerly craft elements you want to teach. Examples of mini-lessons (this list could go on forever {cue, "foreva, eva, eva?...foreva, eva, eva"}, but here's a few ideas:
  • Choosing a small moment
  • Fact-finding
  • Fact-sorting
  • What is narrative/informational/opinion writing?
  • How do writers get ideas?
  • How do writers use their best handwriting?
  • What do writer's do?
  • How to writer's write from the heart?
  • Vivid Verbs/Strong Verbs
  • Describing the Action
  • Revising
  • Editing
  • How to come to the whole-group meeting area
  • How to use a writer's notebook/writer's folder
  • Writing a strong beginning

Not only do I model each mini-lesson with my own writing, I share student examples. Shockingly, the student examples elicit FAR better responses and results than my own writing. Students are always impressed at what their own friends have written. This is a POWERFUL motivator for reluctant writers, and especially for your capable, but underachieving writers.


Whenever I model writing, I ask my students for help. Usually, I don't even have to ask...just by thinking aloud, students start chiming in with their own ideas about what would make the writing better!


Using mentor texts is perhaps one of my favorite aspects of writer's workshop! By looking at what expert writers have done, students can see very specific, concrete examples. Students can then put into practice in their own writing what the expert writer has done in the mentor text.
Below are my FAVORITE personal narrative mentor texts.



Having writing supplies easily accessible (and available at times other than just writing) is important! Plus, having special paper, pens, and pencils will help reluctant writers get excited about writing.


For even more ideas and resources, be sure to follow True Life I'm a Teacher on InstagramFacebookTeachers Pay Teachers, and Pinterest!


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