Friday, January 25, 2013

Keeping Up With All the WRITING in Writer's Workshop

I had a teacher contact me with this question:

"I am in DESPERATE need of suggestions on how to handle the writing that is done during Writer's Workshop.  I am using the two taped together folders right now, but I need suggestions about how to go about saving some of those writing samples when their folder of drafts is overflowing?!  Any ideas?" 

I decided not to just write her back, but to tell the world (or at least the people who read my BLOG!) First, the folder idea she is talking about is one that I share in my Writer's Workshop trainings. Its very simple really- two folders stapled and taped together. The front could even be a bradded folder for even more writing awesomeness! The front two pockets become a Writer's Toolbox. Students can keep anything in here that will help them do their writing. Spelling Words, editing checklists, word wall words, personal dictionaries, small copies of anchor charts for use in the current genre study, you name it. Anything that helps kids keep their eyes down and focused at their desks during writing time. Let the rest of the day be spent having them search around the room for their resources- but during writing workshop- I want focus to stay on their writing.

The second two pockets become a place for kids to put their writing. One side is what they are working on right now and the other side is work they might work on later. You might label it "Writing I'm Working On" 
"Writing to Work on Later"


This teacher's question is about how to keep up when the Writing to Work on Later section is overflowing. First, can I just say, this is an amazing problem to have and I wish every classroom across the country was experiencing this "problem". Right? Classrooms where kids are writing so much they are running out of folder space! I love it! 

So here's how I have combatted that problem in my classroom. And it is typically this time of year when there is a need for an activity like this. Happy January Writing Folder CLEAN UP!

I ask students to look through their drafts- keeping ones they may want to come back to and work on- about 5 of those- and the rest go in a storage file that I keep.  Kids are so cute when they look through the writing that they did back in September! They can't believe they "used to write like that".  If you want to add a reflection piece to this assignment- have kids write down some things they "used to do" in their writing that they don't think they do anymore. Some kids say things like "I used to scribble and now I use my letters" or "I used to not put any spaces in between my words" etc.

What they don't keep in their folder, you will just file these away- a file folder per kid.  You'll want to hold onto the writing from back in August/September, but you don't need kids to keep it in their folder all year long.  

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1 comment:

  1. I remember asking you how to keep up with all of the papers during one of our Writing Trainings. The papers were a MESS and I couldn't handle it!

    You suggested to use a journal, which I tried out this year. Now, halfway through the year, my students are finishing up their journals. I have been introducing paper one step at a time.

    I will be having a Clean Up Day later this semester! Thanks for the inspiration.

    The Frizz

    The Frizz in First Grade

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Melissa