Launching Writing Workshop – 30 Days, 10 Minutes to a More Literate Classroom
This idea is a guaranteed winner – I promise!
Every year, on the first day of school, my students come back from lunch to see a mysterious box, covered with a cloth. Then music starts to play. I usually use 2001, A Space Odyssey because it is SO dramatic! As the music crescendos, I whip the cloth off the box. It is wrapped, so I rip that off too! Of course, I’m not saying anything while the music plays, but I’m dancing around in a goofy, ridiculous way. All the kid’s eyes are glued to me and not a few jaws are dropped as I rip open the box and start throwing tissue paper around the room.
Finally, at the most dramatic moment in the song, I reach in, my mouth wide with awe and delight, and I reveal – a writing journal!
I then proceed to bestow them upon the fortunate students in Room 205. After my craziness, as you might imagine, every student has something to write about. So, when the music dies and the hubbub quiets, we have our first writing session of the year.
For the first Writer’s Workshop, I keep it short. Kids have likely lost their writing stamina over the summer, and I’m interested in having them enjoy the time and get something on the page. We go through all the steps though.
- It is quiet when we write so that everyone can do their best thinking.
- You can write wherever you want to in the room. Just make sure you choose a good learning spot for yourself.
- When we finish one piece, we start another.
- Sharing is always encouraged, and always optional.
I like to begin our Writer’s Workshop together in this dramatic fashion for a few reasons.
- Kids always have a story to share with their families on the first day of school.
- I like to confound their expectations and surprise them as much as possible in the first week of school. Fifth grade is like no other class they’ve experienced.
- Writing is exciting to me, and I want it to be exciting to my students.
- It’s just fun, and fun is always a good thing!
If you are thinking of going digital this year, check out my Customizable, Digital Writing Journals. I use a notebook AND a digital journal in my classroom.
If you want a little taste of how this looks in my classroom, check out the video. I hope you find some inspiration to dress up your own Writer’s Workshop this year. You can do it, I know you can!