Writing Workshop

Made up of a minilesson, independent and partner writing time/conferring and/or small group instruction, mid-workshop teaching, and a share.  It is imperative that teachers maintain their own writing folder or writer’s notebook to model strategies for students during minilessons and conferring.


Minilessons usually run around 10 minutes.  Teachers begin by connecting to prior work, the current unit of study or students’ work and then clearly state the teaching point for that day.  Teachers then teach by demonstrating a writing skill and strategy that will support students as writers.  Next, students have an opportunity to practice the strategy after the demonstration during active engagement by trying it on in one of their pieces, planning for their writing work aloud, or in a section of a familiar demonstration text.  Teachers then link the minilesson strategy, as an addition to students’ writing repertoire.  Minilessons are organized from concrete to abstract skills within a unit of study and are grounded in teachers’ assessment of student needs.

Student Writing Folders/Notebooks

Students collect many drafts each day on 3-5 page stapled booklets that are housed in their writing folders (K-2) and collect ideas/entries in writing notebooks (3-5) initially in the writing process.  Intermediate students move to writing folders once they begin drafting.

Writing folders (K-2)    

Writing folders (K-2)    

Writing notebooks (3-5+)

Writing notebooks (3-5+)

Student Writing Time with Conferring and/or Small Group Instruction

During student writing time, the work time can be divided between private time when students write independently, and partner time, when students reread and talk with their writing partners around the minilesson teaching point.  Teachers may choose to confer with students three days a week and work in small groups with students two days a week while students are writing independently.  Teachers may pause for mid-workshop teaching to refocus students, highlight conferring work, or teach another skill that builds upon the minilesson teaching point.

Teaching Share

After independent writing time, students return to the meeting area for the teaching share.  Teachers select one or two students to share how they incorporated the minilesson strategy into their writing that day.  Teachers may also use the share time to introduce upcoming writing minilessons or work that unfolded during an individual student conference with the whole group.  The share time usually runs between 5-10 minutes.