Writer’s Workshop

In our classroom we will be involved in a modified Writer’s Workshop. Some students have done a form of Writer’s Workshop before, but just because they recognize the name – Writer’s Workshop – that doesn’t mean they have done it the same way we’ll be doing it. Since I’ve made up this version of Writer’s Workshop (which is a Lynch blending of workshops from a few experts in the writing field such as Ralph Fletcher, Barry Lane, and Lucy Calkins), I can guarantee you they’ve done nothing like it. This will allow students a lot of freedom in their writing choices, it will help them become better writers overall, but most importantly, it will hopefully let them enjoy writing no matter what their attitude about writing is coming in to fifth grade.

If all goes according to plan, sometime at the start of your child’s sixth grade year, he/she will be a published author. They will start working on this book in the spring of fifth grade. For the past three years my students have written a book that is published worldwide. My students have been featured in newspapers, radio shows, and television shows about their books, and they have held numerous book events in Connecticut.

The biggest misconception about writing in the entire education system is the belief that we as teachers must focus on one particular essay whether it be a narrative, expository, or persuasive essay.  The truth is, we have to do what we can to make each student a better writer. This is overly simplistic, but I really believe it – if you are a better writer, then you are a better writer. That means that when we do spend some time on a narrative essay, the better writing side will take over. What I ask is to share, share, share with your child what you can about how you use writing in your own lives. Obviously, you know best what to share and what not to share, but take advantage of the opportunity to help your child find writing that excites him or her. You may get a e-mail picture of a funny street sign from your friend in Idaho and if that sign is appropriate then share it. If it’s got words, it’s writing. You may receive an e-mail from Sir Lewis Pungar in London, telling you how you can claim the $3.1 million you inherited by being the long lost cousin of some Saudi prince. All you need to do is send him your social security number, your bank account number, your house keys, and your ATM pin codes and they will wire you the money tomorrow. (I get these all the time.) This is a great piece of writing to share and it comes with a bonus real-life lesson, too.

I also love when students bring in pieces of writing to share – writing they found online, in a newspaper, in a magazine, or somewhere else. It could be something funny, something cool, or something that means a great deal to them for any reason at all. We don’t all have to be polished grammaticians (I’m fairly certain I just made up that word), but if students could get hooked on even one aspect of writing it will make the entire experience that much more enjoyable. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


We start every school day with Morning Work that includes five math questions and five grammar questions. Sometimes we correct these in class, sometimes we use them for an activity (like a writing activity), and sometimes I grade them. I almost always collect them and use them for data on what students need to work on individually as well as what we need to focus on as a class. I do whole class lessons that involve grammar, but I prefer to weave these lessons into some type of writing activity.

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