Writing Workshop Teaching: “Catch-up” Day

Last week, instead of teaching what I planned, I had a “catch-up” day in writing workshop. You might also call this a repertoire day. Here’s how it went:

“Writers, I’ve decided that instead of teaching you something new today, I simply want to remind you of everything we’ve already learned.” There were some puzzled and surprised glances between my kiddos.

“Who can find the chart that would help you if you wanted to remind yourself about the “bricks” of information you might add to your chapters?” Hands shot up and RJ pointed to the “Bricks” of information chart.

“Stand up and go touch it. Everyone track RJ to see if he picks the same chart you would choose.” The class watched as RJ touched the appropriate chart. I had RJ physically touch the chart, because it it leaves no doubt for any of my kiddos which chart RJ is choosing.

I continued in this vein asking,

  • Which chart could I use to help me write a hook for a chapter?
  • Which chart will help me add end punctuation?
  • What if I want to revise?

I wrapped up by saying, “I don’t want to keep you any longer. On your way from the meeting area to your seat, I want you to touch the chart that is going to help you get started today.”

As students transitioned, I voiced over saying “Bianca is going to writing some hooks today. Smart choice. Oh, nice! Brandon wants to check his punctuation.”

This quick lesson reminded kids to use the charts in the room as tools to help them write, provided options for the type of work kids might do today, and set writers up to be in charge of their own writing.

For the rest of the week, my midworkshops focused on kids finding a chart to help them or celebrating a writer who went up to a chart independently. I’m doing everything I can to help my kiddos become more independent, so I can confer with writers.

To see my charts, inspired by the TCRWP unit Up the Ladder: Information Writing, check out my original tweet here.

Published by Eric Hand

I'm an educator and literacy professional with a long-standing passion for comic books and graphic novels.

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