Friday, July 29, 2011

Writing Workshop

The changes I want to make in Creative Writing classes this year aren't for the students who come in already wanting to write. What I do works for them. The changes I want to make are for the students who are taking the class solely for the English credit. The ones who are shocked that we will write EVERY DAY in Creative Writing.  The ones who mistakenly think this is a sluff class.

So, here I sit staring at the lake, with a pile of books and notes sitting in front of me, thinking about changes I want to make.  I know I want to do more procedural mini-lessons at the beginning of the year.  Get those routines established, you know.  I want to create a space that is comfortable for writing--and a safe one too.  Sharing needs to become more prevalent this year and does celebrating our writing.

So, I'm back to the pile. First book up is Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi.  Although focused on elementary writing workshops, it is easily adaptable to my situation.
Favorite line so far, "Only the student can decide what can be learned." Love it.


  1. I like that quote. So true. As you ponder the idea of how to get your reluctant students writing, have you ever had them buddy with younger students at the elementary level? Probably have. Just a thought. One other teeny thought. Look at making a fine, final copy using Apple in iPhoto. My young class made a spectacular book together. Pricey, but perhaps a grant? PTA? bake sale? Sorry, for intruding on your thoughts, but I'm retired now and there's some itchiness going on with ideas I can't implement! Maybe I'll post about it!

  2. I always think that THOSE are the kids that will make me a better teacher. The ones that are dying to write . . . they're already on their way.

    One thing that I found helped me last year was to allow students to pair up with a 'First Reader' - someone in the class that they felt they could trust to read their work first. Sometimes they were just asked to share the sentence they were most proud of. Starting small, working our way towards sharing more and with more people.

  3. Thanks for the ideas ladies--they are going in my notebook!

  4. Glad to have the rec for the Fletcher-Portalupi book; it is one I haven't read, but I've used other Fletcher books. I agree that choice is so important. Do you have plans to pull those challenging students in by choice? Is there a leeway you have so you can take some time to 'baby' them along? It's such a hard choice, how long to wait, how patient? Also-I feel befuddled about this time of year because there's so much I want to read (or re-read). Thanks for showing me that one goal can be helpful, especially when it's one I feel, like you do, Deb, that it's important. Happy first of the year!