Writing Workshop is by far, my most favorite part of the day. It allows for kids to creatively express themselves in a way that they might not otherwise be able to in other subjects. It also allows for me to get an insight into their creative energy and learn more about them as students and people. It’s a sacred time during the school day and preparing for that time of day is very important.
Even though I write all my own writing lessons and unit plans, I don’t do it completely on my own. Every lesson is based off of the Lucy Calkins’ Writers Workshop model. I have been teaching writing this way for 12 years and counting, and it hasn’t let me down yet!
After a few years though, I started to realize that Lucy doesn’t tackle much in the way of how students should organize their work throughout the writing process. Since organization is a huge factor in my teaching and I strive to help my students to either become well-organized or stay well-organized, I had to address this need within my favorite part of the day, Writers Workshop.
One thing Lucy is a stickler for (and I love this!) is that students keep a Writers Notebook with them at all times and use it to brainstorm their ideas. This is a place for them to complete brainstorming tasks as well as a place for them to jot down ideas, etc. throughout their days, both at home and at school. However, beyond brainstorming, there isn’t much said about how to keep track of materials. What happens during the draft, revise, edit and publishing stages?!
I implemented a system in my classroom that has worked well for two reasons, one it is simple AND two it involves a binder and dividers and kids LOVE binders and dividers! Something about a binder makes them feel a little bit older and more independent with their learning.
Check out this short video to get a look at exactly how I organize my students for Writers Workshop. Also, check out this free resource to teach kids how to draft a story with all the materials you need included!