As I stated on my Reading page, I do believe in a balanced literacy program. I also use a combination of word study work, spelling, and the six traits to teach writing in my classroom. Every day, your child will participate in a 90-minute reading block of whole-class core instruction. This does include a writing time that focuses specifically on ways to become a better writer.
Writer's Workshop in our room is very similar to Reader's Workshop, in terms of the structure of our time. It includes a mini-lesson that focuses on a specific skill, a time for students to practice in the whole-class setting, small groups, and individually, a time for students to work independently on the skill, and a time to come back as a group and share what we have learned. The skills we work on during writer's workshop will be focused on individually at first, and then we'll begin to put the skills together, to help your children become proficient writers!
Check out what we're working on throughout the year here.
Weekly Letter Home
Each Friday, your student will bring home a "Weekly Home Letter" that they have written to share a little bit about what we did this week, goals for next week, and their own performance throughout our time together at school. Please take time to look over these letters and spend some time visiting about them with your student. I believe this is a time where you and your student could enjoy a close discussion of what is happening in our classroom.
Students are provided with Writing Folders at the beginning of the year and have specific sections to store work and important papers in.
Students keep writing ideas in their Writer's Notebook and are able to decide to use those writing "seeds" to begin a full piece. The prewriting, first draft, edits, and final draft are kept in their writing folder.
The final copy is then saved to go into their final book of finished pieces that they'll be able to take home at the end of the year.
Six Traits + 1
In my classroom, to teach good writing skills, we focus on the "Six Traits + 1" of good writing.
Ideas & Content ~ This is the message the writer wants the audience to get from their writing. The ideas a writer uses should be original, not borrowed from a book or online resource. The content should contain a main idea with supporting details to convey a specific message to the audience.
Word Choice ~ Words in writing need to be specific and accurate to the topic the writer has chosen to speak about. The writer should use strong words, descriptive and precise.
Conventions ~ Conventions include using correct punctuation, grammar, spelling, capitalization, and paragraph structure. By focusing on conventions, the piece of writing will become easy for the audience to read, providing a smooth transition from beginning to end.
Voice ~ Voice is when the personality of your student comes out. The audience should really be able to see through a piece of writing that there is an actual person writing the piece and that they have something important to say, true to who the writer is in real life.
Sentence Fluency ~ Sentence structure is so important in writing. The writer should create a flowing piece that carries the reader along. Sentences should include some short and some long sentences, which leads to a fluency easy for the reader to get into.
Organization ~ The organization of a piece is really where the "logic" comes in. The content of a piece of writing should be organized in a way that is easy for a reader to understand as he or she navigates the way from the beginning to the end. The introduction of the problem, the build-up & background knowledge, the climax, and finally the solution, should all be given their own special time and place in the piece of writing.
Presentation (the +1 part!) ~ Presentation has been added to the Six Traits model over the last several years. Once a writer has completed a piece of writing, it is important to focus on the presentation of how the writer will share this with the audience (in our case, a lot of the time this is myself, their peers, & parents). We work throughout the year to comprise writing pieces that we keep in a writing portfolio to share. Once or twice a semester, we have "Author Shares", in which the students choose their most favorite piece to share with friends and family. We'll let you know more about these opportunities as they arise.