18 November 2009

Our Workshop Schedule

One of my biggest challenges of teaching using reading and writing workshops is making sure that I confer with each student, check in with their reading response and writer's notebook, and give each student a chance to share each week.  As I tend to be an out-of-sight, out-of-mind person, when I saw index cards tacked to a bulletin board under the heading "Writing Conference" in a colleague's classroom a few years ago, I knew it was something that I had to try.  Over the past few years, our classroom workshop schedule has slowly evolved to what you see in the image below.

In an ideal week (does that exist?), a student will turn in his or her reading response notebook to me after independent reading, I'll read it that night and then have a chance to discuss their reading and their responses the following day when I confer with them.  On the following day when they have an opportunity to share some of their thinking from their independent reading book, I can prompt them for any particular thinking that we had discussed the previous day or that they shared in their reading response notebook.  The same process goes for writing. 

What systems or structures do you use in your reading and writing workshops? Or, borrowing words from Samantha Bennett in That Workshop Book, how do you help your "students [to] read, write, and talk about important content in order to learn how to read, write, talk, and develop their dispositions as thinkers?"

1 comment:

Mary DY said...

My frame of reference is math, of course. I really like the Marilyn Burns "menu system" where students have parallel activities that permits some choices. A checklist helps them move through the activities, completing a certain number of them.

When a teacher wants to use a particular activity as the focus of a whole class lesson, that simply becomes a "required" activity that everyone must do by a particular day or time.

My mantra has always been that "variety is the spice of life, especially in the classroom." But I believe wholeheartedly that the variety needs to come in the different activities themselves. We need the routine structures to help us manage the time and energy of the students and to take care of the mundane details like lunch money or collecting homework.