This has been a very exciting month for me as I have worked to launch Writer’s Workshop in my classroom. The writers in my room are very enthusiastic and LOVE writing! They continue to add to their Writer’s Notebooks as we incorporate new ideas, mini-lessons, and grammar skills. I invite them to try any and all techniques, and, surprisingly, they are!
Our basic schedule is ideal. We have an hour block of Workshop. I have it broken into three parts: 10-15 minute mini-lesson, 30 minute writing block, and 10 minute share time. During the writing block, I have been working to conference with my students. This is where the differentiated learning occurs…and many great discussions occur! I have been using my Writer’s Workshop Record Sheets to help me track which students I have met with, what they did well, an area on which to focus, and when they have shared.
The other day, Alex and I had a remarkable conference. He had been writing a fantasy story about Zubas (zebra-tubas) who go to war over pizza. He proudly shared the map he created of the setting (as all good fantasies have…he’s truly reading like a writer!). As he was sharing part of his story with me, I was mentally making my “teaching point” about encouraging him to focus on incorporating more dialogue into his story. Before I could utter the words, my mouth dropped open and spread into a huge grin…Alex said to me that he had noticed, while reading The Hobbit, how J. R. R. Tolkien had used dialogue for his characters. Alex commented to me that when a new character spoke, he realized Tolkien started a new paragraph…he stole the words right from my mouth! I was so proud and amazed by his observation and desire for application in his writing, I about exploded. Last week we had a mini-lesson on reading like writers and looking for things they can emulate in their writing…Alex had done exactly that! I invited him to share at the end of class, but Alex chose to wait until his piece was further along. I can’t wait to hear him tell his classmates of his writing!
Although the following YouTube clip is not of Alex sharing his dialogue, it is of another boy who shared the pride of writing dialogue in his Writer’s Notebook.