I had the privilege of accompanying a group of first-grade teachers to visit another another elementary school’s Writing Workshop. Below I’ve pasted the information I got from my friend, and literacy guru, Carol, about what to expect during the visit. Carol is a retired educator from the district we went to visit.
The teachers are all experienced teachers and have worked as a team for seveal years. Their writing workshop is based on the work of Lucy Calkins and influenced by the work done at the Manhattan New School in New York City which the three teachers visited a couple of years ago.
Each writing session begins with a mini-lesson, which is followed by a student writing time, and then concludes with sharing/author’s chair. The teachers have been going through student writing folders at this time to decide what to teach and reteach before progress reports go home next week. The lessons you see on Thursday will probably come from this review of folders. Lessons the teachers and students have worked on this year include: “special moments”/personal narrative writing; content components (main idea, details and descriptive words); making sure each student’s writing has clear meaning; and the idea of ‘how do I know this piece is done’ or ‘when I am done, I have really just begun’.
We will divide you into groups of two and you will rotate through each of the three classrooms. At the conclusion of the writing workshop time, the students have recess and the teachers will have time to talk with you and answer any questions. They are also happy to share their email addresses so you could contact them if you have further questions.
If you have time, we could stop for a quick lunch and talk about what you saw in the classrooms, any questions you have, and what ideas you might take back and try in your own setting.