This year, I just didn't feel like they were ready. I can't really put my finger on why I felt this way, but I envisioned Writer's Workshop being a disaster of epic proportions. I couldn't wait forever though. First I set up their writing folders. Here are a few of the inserts I put in:
Every time I have a conference with a student, I fill out this form. It's hard to see, but there's a box for the date and title of the writing piece, then I write one positive thing and one thing they can work on for next time.
A couple graphic organizers I use for keeping track of ideas to write about. See below for a better copy and link to pick up your own copy!
The steps of the writing process.
A few reminders for when it's time to edit.
I found these online several years ago, and I don't remember where they're from :( There's one for each of the 6 Traits in their folders.
QUIT DRAGGING YOUR FEET AND LET'S GET STARTED ALREADY!
I decided to start with two days of idea generation. I do NOT want to hear the classic line, "I don't know what to write about!" We talked about how good writers look into a watermelon story and pick out the seeds. Here's a graphic organizer I made to help students take a big topic and zoom in. Click on the pic to snag your own FREE copy!
I also made a SMARTBoard lesson for this. Can I upload SMARTBoard lessons into Google Docs or TpT? I don't know! If you want it, leave me a comment with your email address and I'll send it to you :)
OK, so the next day we did more brainstorming. I downloaded Sara's AWESOME "What Do I Write About" graphic organizers found here:
Next was the scary part... actually writing a story. This year instead of giving the bunnies blank pieces of writing paper, I decided to try out Stop Light Writing. I cut out green and yellow strips of paper, and modeled how to write a story. Instead of doing a red strip for the last sentence, I did another green to reinforce that the ending sentence is just restating the topic sentence. I put a checkered flag at the end and said it was a "race to the finish!" When they were done writing, I gave them a piece of white construction paper to glue the strips on, and they could draw a picture on whatever white space was left. Added Bonus: They could rearrange their sentences! We're still working on them, but here are a couple:
I HAD to share the one about the student going to the Admirals game (a minor league hockey team in Milwaukee) even though it's not done. It made me smile.
I am loving the Stop Light Writing, and we'll do it a few more times before I give them the actual writing paper. I've also seen it where students write the sentences with a green, yellow, or red marker, but then what do you do if they need to erase? Colored pencils maybe?
Anyone else out there do Stop Light Writing? Tell me your tips and tricks!