Last week, during our SIP day, Southbury was lucky to have Ruth Ayres, one of the authors of Day by Day, spend the day with us. I was able to observe her in one of our 4th grade classrooms, modeling writer’s workshop. Ruth was fantastic to watch! Her mini-lesson was on integrating dialogue into writing. As she conferred with the students, I was drawn to her personal style, her teaching techniques, and her overall comfortable, yet purposeful, presence in the classroom. The students who met with her gained a great deal of writing knowledge in a short conference time. As I am conferencing with my students my hope is that I will make a difference in my students writing knowledge in a similar manner.
Where I felt I learned the most was in the sharing time of the workshop. I was amazed at how many students were able to share during this time. Ruth started by asking, “Would you like to share what you learned today?” The students were encouraged to respond with a, “Yes, thank you.” Then the sharing began…each writer shared what he or she had learned in the conference time with Ruth, and brought the entire lesson full circle, as many of them worked on adding dialogue to their writing. Those who didn’t work on adding dialogue that day still added value to the share time. One boy had trouble finding something to write about because he was “stuck.” Ruth, very cleverly, had him share what he plans to do to get unstuck. Many of his peers related to this as they have all faced that problem at some point in their writing. I loved how the students were able to “teach” their peers during sharing and how Ruth’s differentiated lessons during conferences became something every writer in class benefitted from at this time. WOW! I truly left the classroom encouraged and inspired by what I had seen in action. I can’t wait to try it in my room starting tomorrow!
I was so excited to see that Ruth gave Southbury a “shout out” on her blog Two Writing Teachers! Thank you, Ruth Ayres! You’ve helped open my eyes even more to what writer’s workshop can look like…my students are in for a great year of writing.