Writing Workshop Series: Post #3 - Publishing

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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!

All posts in this series:


  1. I like the fact that you let them own their writing by not editing it yourself and making it perfect.

    Teach on a Limb

  2. I like that too because truthfully, it looks un-natural for students work to be perfect in the primary grades. I can't wait for your next post, I loved reading about all your readers workshop unit celebrations, and I'm betting I will love these ones too!!

    ❤ -Stephanie
    Falling Into First

  3. I really enjoyed your post. It's so refreshing to be reminded that the student work should be just that , student work. The teacher is much more valuable in conferencing about ideas and traits than just conventions.

  4. You are such an inspiration! I do have one question - my team and I are meeting to create a long range planning calendar for the school year (baby steps) and you said you created your calendar for your lesson plan binder. Did you have a program that created it? Would you be willing to make one for Teachers Clubhouse so we may purchase it? We like the color coding, the extra spaces to write in, etc. It seems to be the best one we have seen for what we want to do. Thank you so much!

  5. Don't you just love Writer's Workshop... I am your newest follower from the blog hop and have given you an award! You can come pick it up here http://applefortheteach.blogspot.com/2012/07/versatile-blogger-award.html
    Find me at Lesa-s.blogspot.com

  6. Hi Katie! I created my long range plans in Microsoft Word. I wouldn't be able to create a template for you to use since mine is completely customized based on the school year dates and the length of each unit. In Word, I used a table and then merged the cells as needed based on the length of each unit. Kind of a long process to do, but well worth it for my sanity! ;)

  7. I have seen your blog around the blogosphere and I kept forgetting to press FOLLOW! Well now I did :) Congrats on 500 that's a huge milestone!!

    T.G.I.F. (Thank God it's First Grade!)

  8. Hi Amanda,
    Thanks for following me, I am your newest follower. Love your idea about students' writing being "student perfect."


  9. I am checking out your blog after you posted on mine. You have some great ideas! Adding your button to my blog.

  10. Oh gosh writing has to be one of my least favorite things to teach. I am just awful at it. I am going to read through all your posts because I too don't want my students' work to be teacher perfect but it ends up being because I mark all over it with the colored pens. I would rather teach them the process and let them go about their business.

  11. WW is my very favorite time of day! Thanks for the all great tips! I'm so excited to follow and get more great info!


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