I have been excited to share this ever since the idea popped into my head late last year, but I wanted to give it some time to trial (and error!) in my room first ;)
If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I love and adore the Daily 5 model in reading and Math Rotations in math. The thought finally occurred to me, why not try a similar structure in Writer's Workshop? So, Writing Groups was born:
|Click the picture to be taken to the chevron signs in my TpT Store.|
Because I have learned that I am the type of teacher who loves small groups over whole-group, I decided to give it a go with this year's class, especially since it is 2/3 boys and I typically lost my boys the most during Writer's Workshop time. I felt I lost them (and also any kids who just didn't *love* writing) not really in the whole-group instruction time, but mainly in the independent writing time. Our writing test scores are a focus of our school-wide goals, so I felt it was time to shake things up a bit and do something that worked for me, the kids, and was (fingers crossed) as engaging as math or reading ;)
I decided first on the four groups I wanted to incorporate to help my students not just become better writers, but to get excited about purposeful writing again.
I came up with:
- Teacher Time: direct mini-lessons & instruction from me
- Independent Writing: either working on something I taught them in TT or free-writing
- Partner Writing: working with someone else on a written piece (both kids are writing)
- Spelling Practice: going through our school's spelling program book with an adult (parent/tutor)
- Handwriting: I'm not incorporating this part this year, but it's my back-up for Spelling Practice
|Click the picture to download the PDF from Google Docs|
We created an anchor chart of expectations and I used a similar style to my Math Rotations anchor chart:
One thing that helped me immensely was the addition of Mrs. Cooper to our room. She was assigned as a writing helper this year and it has been such a gift!! She is in charge of running the spelling groups and will use our school's spelling program and workbook with the kids. She also helps implement some differentiated lessons for both my strugglers and my advanced kiddos.
Obviously, this is not a normal occurrence, so my original plan was to teach the lessons right before Writer's Workshop and then have the kids do the workbook activities to reinforce what we just went over. Or, they could work on handwriting practice (we teach cursive in class-- do you all still teach that? I love it!) instead. This is different than Daily 5's Word Work, since that is more grammar-based and Spelling Practice is all about rules, patterns, and the specific list of words that are tested at the end of the week.
Of course, my littles have their bookmarks in their Writing Folders (which also house their Vocabulary Journals) so they can keep track. It also helps me stay organized, since Monday and Wednesdays I can just say "Bookmark Picture #1" then "#2" and on Tuesdays and Thursdays we're on #3 and #4... Perfect for keeping it simple :)
|Group 1 on the left through Group 4 on the right|
In Part 2, I will explain each part more in-depth, but I am so excited to give you this initial overview and help wrap your head around the big picture. I do have these chevron signs in my TpT Store and they, like the Math Rotations signs, also have Rotations One-Four and Groups 1-4 signs in each of the seven colors, as well as a background-free option.
Check back for Part 2 soon and have a wonderful weekend!!