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Yesterday, I mentioned that the students have free-choice writing time each day where they are working on taking their own pieces through the writing process. Each time students finish a story, they record it on their "writing record" (kept in writing folder). Once students have five pieces completed (and recorded) they select their best one for publishing. This is noted on the writing record with a highlighter.
In the past, I had students sign up to edit with the teacher before publishing, but I no longer do that. In fact, I don't have them edit with me at all! WHAT? That's right! I don't want their work to be perfect...especially if I'm the one fixing the errors! I want their work to be "student perfect." This means they have taken it through all of the stages, revising and editing to the best of their abilities (using our checklists). Later in the year, I do have them peer-edit, but not teacher edit. I want their final pieces to show THEIR abilities and growth.
This is not to say that I don't conference with students - I do! But all of my time is not spent editing. I've found that I'm much more valuable to students in the beginning and middle stages of writing...when they're forming their ideas and getting them down onto paper. I am constantly moving around the room during writing workshop, stopping at students' desks for mini-conferences and pulling students who need more help for in-depth conferences.
We have 2 rules during our writing workshop block.
1. Writers are always writing.
(This means that if students finish with one piece they start on another piece. They do not pick up a book to read, or go to a literacy station - writing time is for writing).
2. Writer's do not disturb other writers.
(This means they are working quietly and are considerate of others around them. They use their resources - dictionaries, thesauruses, etc. - not their neighbors).
Some years students sit at their desks to write, other years students can stretch out on the floor around the classroom to write - this really depends on the makeup of my class! Some years I play quiet music as they write, too.
I always have a "publishing center" set up in the classroom. This center includes paper, construction paper, envelopes, stickers, markers, crayons, colored pencils, fancy scissors, tape, and a stapler. I don't really have room for students to sit there, it's just a space to house the supplies for easy access if they're in the publishing phase.
Our "genre writing pieces" are published in unique ways (such as our Story Tees from yesterday's post), but their free-choice writing pieces are published using the materials in the publishing center. Students use the pages there to make their very own books that includes a cover, a title page, a dedication page, and an about the author page. Once published, students take the book home in a baggie to share with their family. Parents are encouraged to write little notes about the book on the inside covers. Students then return the books to school and share them with the class. They then go in a special basket in our reading center for students to read and enjoy until the end of the year (at that time they're put in students' writing portfolios to take home).
Here's a little peek at some of the materials and resources mentioned in this post from Teacher's Clubhouse.
Next, I'll begin sharing some of my favorite writing activities and celebrations from each of our writing units. Come back tomorrow for Friendly Letter activities!