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Writer's Workshop


New Member
I'm a second grade teacher looking for ideas on how to teach Writer's Workshop. Is it essential to edit everything that students write?? What are some good lessons to get students excited about writing? I would appreciate any ideas.


Senior Member
writer's workshop

The more I read, the more I find that as teachers, we expect kids to re-write and edit too often. As long as they understand the process of editing and can do it independently at some level, I think it's only necessary to edit their really good pieces. When I first started teaching, I kind of just followed along with what everyone else was doing. The pattern was brainstorm, graphic organizer, write, revise, edit, publish, repeat. The kids were such robots!

Now, I break down skills that I want my kids to know (ex: things like writing a satisfying ending or grabbing beginning, using appropriate description, or how to use quotations). Then, I spend about a week or so doing short minilessons that include modeling and reading excellent literature that uses that particular element. In the meantime, they just write. Everyone writes about pretty much whatever they want (or sometimes they write within a certain genre-- narrative, informational, persuasive) I find that if I praise the use of the elements I've taught in one or two kids, it almost ALWAYS transfers to everyone else's writing at some time in some form. It's so much better than asking everyone to try something they are not ready for.

One way that I encourage the use of these newly introduced elements, is that each day, one child writes on a large piece of chart paper instead of using regular writing paper. (If they are in the middle of something else, for that day, they start something new for the big writing). We begin the next day looking at that child's writing. Before we meet, I look at it, and try to pick out at least two praises. I highlight them in front of the kids, and talk about what makes them so great. I also try to find at least one "push". The child, or I, edits the writing with the help of the class. Then, we keep the charts handy to refer back to.

I never liked how I taught writing, but now that I've settled into a more responsive way of teaching it, I'm loving it and the kids are soaring.


Full Member
Great idea!

I agree that editing everything is unnecessary and overwhelming. My kids choose the pieces they'd like to publish and go through the process a few times during the year. They use an editor's checklist more frequently to check the target skills they should have mastered (mostly conventions) on everyday journal writing.

I love your idea that one child each day writes on chart paper. What a motivator and great way to give a purpose for writing and to have authentic pieces to learn from. I would also be sure to praise and teach from each piece... modeling for the kids how to offer a worthy compliment and a helpful suggestion are also valuable lessons. I may try this starting tomorrow!