Writer's Workshop: Week 1 +FREEBIE!

Well, we are 14 days in, and I FINALLY started Writer's Workshop on Wednesday. I kinda feel like a slacker, because usually by this point, we have gone over all the steps of the writing process and we are mostly independent. Not this year...

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.

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!



  1. Yay for stop light writing. This is my 3rd yr w it and i really think it makes for organized writing. Makes me giddy to think the kiddos will come to 3rd w an understanding of it from now on. Thanks.

  2. WOW! I have never heard of Stop Light Writing!!! THANKS for sharing! Stop by anytime!


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