Thank goodness!


5th grade Friday is upon us and I have lots to share today!  Slowly but surely my Writer’s Workshop is coming together and I get so excited when I see my kids embracing and growing within the model and mindset.  Every morning we start with a short mini-lesson where I “throw” out a tool to the students to put in their tool kit.  I literally have them “open” their tool kits, and I “throw” them whatever tool we worked on that morning. The key with the workshop is getting out of that mindset where the kids HAVE to be working on exactly what you taught that morning.  I was so used to giving them busy work and making them all be working on the same thing, but with this model they just write.  It makes total sense because each kid is in a different place in their writing, why would I expect them to be able to take a step back and do something completely different.   How do I keep track of where they are you might ask…well I have my handy dandy binder!  Each student has a tab and I confer with them multiple times a week and keep notes!  A couple times a WEEK??  YES!  Each conference takes me roughly 5 minutes, that’s all they need!  I pick one thing for them to focus on and tell them the next time we meet I want to see how that skill is coming along for them.   I have been talking a lot with my class about equity and how some of them might need more of my time than others.  They all understand that I will work with them, but maybe not quite as much as other students.

How I track meetings AND student goals.
How I track meetings AND student goals.
Another whole class tracker
Another whole class tracker

I also have been really big on students using checklists to track their work.  Students have them out while they are writing and I use the same one to show them where they are for each of their published pieces.  They get to keep it in their writing folder so they have something to reference on their next attempt!

Final with a checklist from me!
Final with a checklist from me!

As teachers we all have that one student who just gets you…this year that student for me is Leslie.  She works so hard, does EVERYTHING I ask of her, AND on top of all of that. she has shown so much growth so far this year.  She works so hard and it totally shows in each attempt she has made within our unit.

Her 1st attempt
Her 1st attempt…
And the 2nd...
And the 2nd…
Third Attempt!
Third Attempt!

Obviously she still has things to work on, but you can see how much progress she is making!!

Leslie using her own checklist to monitor her writing.
Leslie using her own checklist to monitor her writing.

The whole point here is to make the students accountable for their own work. They are 5th graders and will be heading off into the scary middle school world where there is not a teacher always there holding their hand!

Side bar point here…I was out sick Wednesday and my students made me this:

So sweet :)
So sweet 🙂

They all signed it on the inside!  Just helps me get motivated to come to school every day knowing I have these sweet kiddos here with me!

What else do you want to know about my workshop model in the classroom!?


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