So, my school district has decided for whatever reason, we no longer have Writer’s Worskhop at the elementary level, we will teach Reading and Writing together as Language Arts. “Oh, this is wonderful!,” they say. “Reading & Writing will finally be connected as they were meant to be all along.” And I agree. Wholeheartedly. I’ve been trying forever to tie the two together and teach Reading & Writing side-by-side. But the way THEY mean it is that we write in response to Reading. Our Writing is based on text. On someone else’s ideas and words. I am appalled at this decision and believe there is the need for students to write about their own life’s experiences, events, and things they know about . Research and all of the Writing Elders (as I like to think of them) such as Fletcher, Graves, and Calkins along with MANY others have shown not only the value, but the significance of having a daily Writer’s Workshop. I inquire regurlarly, “Where is the research that states students do not need Writer’s Workshop, but they need to daily respond to the text and then write a response, then an extended response, and then a culminating task, and then a literary analysis….?” You get the idea and sense my frustration.
I have carried my anger, frustration, and sadness about this all school year long, as well as most of last year. I have come to realize that in the end, I need to do what is best for my students. What I know is best. I don’t like to throw around degrees and experience, but I DO know what I am doing. This is not my first ELA rodeo! 🙂 It just saddens me when I know kids are missing out on the joy and love of writing.
Over the Thanksgiving break, I did a lot of running and a lot of yoga and a lot of reading and a lot of thinking. I had to do something different for my kids. I had to make this work. I have to come up with a way to balance what they think I should do with what I know is best.
Writer’s Workshop Wednesday is born.
I have been teaching Writing when and where I can in our tight schedule, but I felt students need at the absolute very least one day dedicated to Writing Workshop. Today I introduced the simple, yet super exciting idea. They’ve heard me grumble about writing all year & they get just as excited as I do about writing! (Hear,hear to their teachers before me!) We are working/trying to finish up All About Books/Texts that Teach. My students are super excited about WWW. (They totally got the alliteration! I love my little writers:) ) So, I taught my lesson, put on the classical music for studying radio station on Pandora, and we wrote! 🙂 As any good writing teacher knows, the most important part of writing is to get them excited about it! Step 2: talk to them about their writing.
We had some wonderful conversations and I am eager to see where this may go!