Disclaimer: This subject of this post is a work in progress. I look forward to your feedback in the comments.
Currently, I make room in my classroom schedule for writing and reading workshop at least four times a week, each. Technically speaking, that would be approximately one hour of reading and writing every day. Some days it adds up to a little more than that and on other days, it’s a little less. But who’s counting? My students are counting! They constantly remind me if our writing time is delayed because it happens at the end of the day and we all know how rushed the end of the day can get.
Both workshop times include silent writing and reading, mini lessons as needed and appropriate, and a sharing time to close the workshop. Reading and writing workshop is a mix of writing and reading invitations and student initiated projects. (Currently, some student partnerships are working on creating posters to raise awareness about littering and hanging them up around the school.)
Sharing books and writing is something my students look forward to and sometimes doesn’t happen because we run out of time. So, based on student suggestions, we have created a schedule that we started testing last week.
On three days a week in writing workshop, students sit, stand or lie around the room to share their writing either in pairs or small groups. On Tuesdays, three students share to the whole class. We throw confetti (shout out to my Time2Write teacher writing group) to celebrate the writer.
Once a week, students join an impromptu self-selected book group to share about their reading. These books groups are based on what students are reading on that day, though it’s perfectly OK to join another group even if your reading on that day doesn’t match the category of any particular group.
Let me explain.
After silent reading time on Thursdays, students who are reading the same book, same series, same author, same type or genre of book, for example, get together for 10 – 15 minutes to talk about their book. If a child can’t find a group that fits that day’s book, they join a group with others whose book on that day also does not fit within any other group.
When problems arise with scheduling, assignments, expectations and many other classroom structures, tasks and routines, and I can’t figure it out on my own, and even when I can, I ask my students what they think. More often than not, their ideas and solutions are brilliant.
And, I am grateful that this is bringing me joy despite the noise all around me.
Cross posted to The Two Writing Teachers Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge.