Introducing writing workshop to upper elementary students can be a challenge. I’m publishing this post about how I introduce the writing workshop model with my 4th graders.
Setting the Expectations
I have a basic list of writing expectations that I establish early in the year with my students. We glue a copy of the anchor chart you see below into our Writing Notebooks for easy reference. I spend several weeks during our sentence writing unit modeling and reinforcing these expectations. I consider them the “baseline” writing behaviors necessary for 4th-grade students to know and be able to do when they begin the school year.
Modeling the Writing Process
For our first writing unit, I focus on having the students write a memoir of their first day in 4th grade. I chose that topic because I know without a shadow of a doubt that everyone in my class has not only had a first day in 4th grade, but it’s a very recent memory (3 days, to be exact!). Plus, it’s a shared memory so we can brainstorm together with our specific details of the day. No one gets left out with this prompt.
Normally my students complete a prompt per week with a typical 5-day week. However, since this is their first writing prompt with me, I want to slow it down and model every step. To do this, I stretch out the first prompt from one week to two. Click on the link below to get a free copy of my Writing Expectations handout (you can easily enlarge it into a poster as I did in the photo above) as well as my 2-week outline for introducing the writing workshop. Happy writing!