Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Workshop Wednesday: Building Stamina in a Writing Workshop

It's our third week of school, and my students and I are finally getting comfortable in our routines. I'm excited to link up with Jivey for Workshop Wednesday. It's been too long since I have had the chance to link up with her, but I wanted to have pictures of our activities!
I like to spend a lot of time at the start of the school year frontloading my kiddos Writing Notebooks. Fourth grade is the first year that they aren't "done" during Writing Workshop. I tell them from day one that they will write during workshop time, and if they finish one piece they move on to another without needing to talk to me. In order for that to work I have to help the kids come up with possible topics.

After we set up our notebook categories the students and I being to brainstorm. Most of our brainstorming takes places in the lists section of our notebooks.

The students start by writing all about themselves on one page in their notebook.

On another day the next activity is to list our 10 Best Life Events and our 7 Worst Events. I do 10 best and 7 worst because I like to keep things positive.

The next day the kids list their favorite places.

 Then they list the things they are an Authority on. (I love this because Authority has the word Author in it!)

 We also list things that make us upset using the book, One of Those Days by Amy Krouse Rosenthal as a guide. 

After each activity I have the students star the items that "have a story to tell." You can see from the pictures above the different stories that are planted in her notebook. To help build stamina I have the kids pick one each day and write about it. We start with writing for 5 min. Then we share with a friend.

Most of them have not finished the pieces that we started-but a lot of them want to go back and finish those stories...that is what they will work on when they have "free writing time" later in the school year.

At this point in the year my kiddos are writing for about 10-15 min each day (that does not count the brainstorming part of class.) I know it doesn't seem like a lot, but we are slowly building. I am hoping we will be up to 20 next week.

How do you start Writing Workshop in your classroom? How do you help your kids build stamina?


  1. I'm going to have to look into that One of These Days mentor text. Sounds great!

  2. I agree with Gary- One of Those Days sounds like a great book! :) Thanks for linking up! I love all your seed ideas you collect!