Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Starting Writing Workshop

This week we jumped into writer's workshop and it. was. beautiful! :)
Yesterday we started talking about ideas. Where do ideas come from? 

Roller Coaster was the perfect book to start us off. 

Most of them could relate to experiencing something for the first time and so after we read the book we did a quick write about something we had done for the first time. 

Then we spent some time brainstorming ideas on our heart map. The kids were pretty excited about that, and lots of their maps included their family, pets, toys and other things dear to their hearts! :) We discussed that our heart map carried some big ideas, but it was important to make them more clear and specific when we wrote about them. 

Today was the day we really jumped in. Instead of using a read aloud, I decided that we need to learn a little bit from other authors, so we watched a couple of author interviews to find out about other people's processes and where they get ideas.

We started with Jacqueline Woodson because we had read Each Kindness.

They noticed so many great points about her process. Writing different genres, ideas being everywhere, writing multiple things so we don't get bored....

Then we watched an interview with Oliver Jeffers (the kids were big fans of Stuck and the Great Paper Caper), a totally different approach to an interview, and they loved the humor, but again they picked up on lots of great points about what authors do.

He was very clear about his process for writing too and that lead beautifully into our talk about what writer's workshop would look like in our room. There were some gasps when I told them I didn't want them to erase, but cross out mistakes so we could talk about their thought process. Their eyes glimmered when I told them they could write about whatever they wanted, using whatever materials they wanted, including a variety of papers. Heads nodded when I said we could talk about what we were writing, but other conversations should be kept to a minimum.

Then I told them that we would take turns letting boys and girls spread out using clipboards!
(oh the glee!)

So first they had to all choose their varieties of paper. Some decided to write in their notebooks, others stapled notebook paper together (to make chapter books) and still others still used my blank books stapled together.

Then they settled in around the room and started writing.

I could not believe how quiet it was!

Were there pockets of whispering?

Did kids keep coming over to talk to me.
Yes. (something to address next week)

But I got to hear kids read so many beautiful stories to me, each one as unique as they are! Everything from fantasy to true stories (with maybe a just a few elaborations).

I'm more than a little excited for where writer's workshop is going to go this year. It has always been a struggle for me, but it's amazing what you can do when you have an hour designated to it! This is a group that loves to write and I think we will learn lots this year!

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