Writer’s Workshop: Components and Structures to Help You Get Started
The Structure of Writer’s Workshop
The basic workshop works in a one-hour model. That doesn’t mean you can’t use this approach if you have less or more time. It just means you have to make some adjustments!
The main components of the workshop framework are…
Independent writing time
The Minilesson: 15 minutes
During the minilesson, the teacher is providing instruction and modeling in one of the following areas:
- How to set up a writer’s notebook
- Where to get materials
- How to come to the carpet for a lesson
- How to talk to a partner about writing
- What to do when you’re ready to move on
- Prewriting: gathering ideas, planning writing
- Drafting: organizing and developing ideas into a piece of writing
- Revising: making changes to the writing with the message and reader in mind
- Editing: making corrections to writing in spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization
- Publishing: putting the writing into its final form so that it can be shared
Craft (for more ideas on books to use for this, check out my mentor text post for a free download!)
- Using figurative language
- Good beginnings and endings
- Story structure
- Expository structure
- Zooming in on a moment
- Using sensory details
- Show, don’t tell
- Developing characters
- Developing settings
- Paragraph writing
- Using dialogue
- So many more crafts – anything an author does in their writing can be a minilesson!
- Author’s chair: one student shares their writing with the class (the student is chosen by the teacher to feature something they did well)
- Everybody shares: each student reads something they worked on to another student
- Favorite line: Each student underlines their favorite line that they worked on that day. They take turns sharing their lines in a group.
Other important components of Writer’s Workshop
Those three components make up the main structure. However, these components are so important!
Conventions: even though many people weave the conventions instruction into the minilesson, I personally think it’s important to have direct and purposeful conventions instruction every single day.
Daily Oral Language, or Morning Message, where students correct errors every day isn’t research based, and studies show it is not effective in the long run and doesn’t change students’ actual writing conventions when they create a piece of writing.
Instead, mentor sentences are an authentic, purposeful way to get more mileage out of your conventions instruction.
Writing Response Groups or Buddies: Students share their writing with a teacher-assigned partner or group to get feedback. Structures for writing response need to be explicitly modeled for and taught to students in order for them to be effective.
Get these Writing Response Group tools and more in my Writer’s Workshop Resource on TpT!
Intervention Group: A small group of students meets with the teacher to work on a specific skill or strategy.
It’s basically a minilesson that targets what the students need and is done with lots of support and application.
Guided Writing: In a small group, the teacher walks the students through a part of the writing process a step at a time.
Writing Conference: An individual student meets with the teacher to discuss their writing, what they’re doing well, and what they can do next to grow.
It helps to keep a record of conferences so you know who you’ve conferred with and what they’re working on.
- The Framework of Writer’s Workshop
- Components of Writer’s Workshop
- Minilesson Planner
- Steps in the Writing Process
- Guide: Guiding Students Through the Writing Process
- Think Aloud Sentence Starters
- Writing Process Folders: directions & printables
- Conference Log
- Personal Editing Checklist
- Revision Strategy Card: Find a Place