Sunday, November 4, 2007

Moving to a Writer's Workshop format

Hello and welcome to my writer's workshop blog. I teach at Hamilton Elementary in Westland, MI. This year our entire district is implementing Writer's Workshop in the elementary buildings. This decision was made based in large part on the low writing scores we have been receiving on the Michigan MEAP tests.

Our district has implemented various writing programs and packages through the last 5-7 years. We have added genre unit studies, Sharon Spencer units, Better Answers, St. Clair ISD units, MEAP toolkits and others. All of them had merit for certain aspects of writing. The biggest problem came with finding the time to add them to an already full curriculum. In the end, it almost felt like some of them were a band-aid approach to the problem which was that our children didn't really know how to write well.

Last year, our NCA Writing sub-group made the decision to implement Writer's Workshop schoolwide. We chose to purchase the Lucy Calkins' Units of Study for all grades K-5. We have asked each teacher to build in a block of Writer's Workshop time in their schedule. The time varies from 30 minutes in Kindergarten to a full hour in fifth grade.

Our hope is that we are going to develop the writing skills in our children and raise our scores on the state tests. We are in our first year of implementation. This blog will follow our process as we move forward and will hopefully serve as inspiration and help to other schools and/or classrooms that are also looking to improve the writing skills and scores of their children.

Bookmark my site and come back often to follow our journey. Whether you've been doing writer's workshop all along or are just starting out, you're sure to find information of value to your program.


Fiona Kernaghan said...

Your Readers Recovery and Writer's workshop sound fantastic, Diane! Congratulations on the success you're having with it so far. I am a big fan of reading and creative writing - as a songwriter I've learned it's a form of ongoing therapy as well as a career path. lol!

But hey, I found your blog when I was looking for people who are into Sheryl Crow - 'cause I'm an indie artist trying to get the word out about my own new record... and I just got this, my first review and it liken's some of my stuff to Sheryl's. Would you be cool about publishing it and helping get the word out?

"U.S based Kernaghan, the quiet achiever of the Oz country music clan, has spent much of her career as a songwriter for hire. This, her second album of grown up pop - high on melody and insight, light on twang - is more personal than a tattoo: "Secrets Of The Flesh" has an epic emotional flow that wouldn't have been lost on Sheryl Crow's great Globe Sessions."

Jeff Apter, The Sydney Morning Herald Metro.

diah said...

frankly speaking writer's workshop sounds very new for having research now on students mechanics writing skill. but seems the writer's work shop here is for beginner is possible if i apply this strategy to college students? and would you mind giving me information about the procedure to apply the writer's workshop?