There are lots of things to keep top-of-mind when you’re leading a writing workshop. Are all students engaged? Are they crafting pieces that hold meaning and value to them? Are kids constantly adding writing strategies to their writing toolboxes? The list could go on and on.
There is another question I want teachers I work with to ask. Are all students sharing their writing at the end of workshop? When I say sharing, I’m not just talking about turning and talking with a writing partner and reading a paragraph of the writing to him/her. What I have in mind is the type of share that happens when the whole class gathers in the meeting area at the end of workshop time. Basically, a teaching share. This is when you invite one, two, or even three students to share an aspect of their writing work with their peers at the front of the class. (Often you invite students you conferred with or gathered for a strategy lesson that day or on the previous day.)
In her book, Don’t Forget to Share: The Crucial Last Step in the Writing Workshop, Leah Mermelstein suggests teachers select the people who will share their writing at the end of each writing workshop. Mermelstein also suggests teachers provide students with the structure for the type of share, (i.e., craft, content, process, and progress) so young writers have a framework with which to work. By varying the types of shares, it is possible to honor all of your students and show them that they have something they can teach their classmates about writing.
If you want to make sure all of your students are sharing their writing on a regular basis, consider tracking who shares and when. You can do this on a classroom share chart tracker (The concept is similar to the Class Conferring Manifest that can be found in the appendix of Day by Day.) I created a Student Share Tracker in Google Drive to help you get started. You can view it by clicking here.
For more about sharing during writing workshop, click here.
If you’re interested in having us speak at your school or at a conference, then please contact Chandra Lowe at Stenhouse Publishers (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information regarding professional development or speaking engagements. You may also contact us directly through e-mail. Click here to obtain our contact information.