Writing workshop can be an invigorating, creative, empowering opportunity to encourage students to become confident, capable writers! Unlike some instructional writing approaches, writing workshop for elementary students involves different forms of active participation from everyone in the classroom to be a success! Read on to learn about the principles and practices of writing workshop.
Just starting out?
Ready to establish a writing workshop in your classroom?
Looking for ways to reenergize your current workshop approach?
is a great place to find basics around structure and pedagogy and learn what a successful writing classroom looks and sounds like.
can help you maximize your physical space to embrace the basics for writing workshop success. Resources include tips for teaching writing workshop remotely or in a hybrid setting.
addresses the importance of fostering a sense of shared respect in your writing workshop classroom. Links to powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) resources can help you create a community where all voices are heard and every opinion is welcome.
Writing workshop is built on a student-centered framework of explicit instruction, independent writing time, and opportunities for teachers and students to reflect on their writing journey into different genres and forms.
Although curricula differ on daily execution, there are a few common elements to all writing workshop programs.
As with any curriculum, there are some things to consider when implementing writing workshop. What questions should you ask to get the most out of writing workshop experience?
What is the research behind writing workshop? Are there proven benefits of using a writing workshop approach for elementary students?
How does writing workshop differ from other approaches to writing instruction?
How much time does writing workshop take each day?
What are mentor texts, craft moves, and minilessons?
Why do teachers need to write in writing workshop and how do I get started?
Hear thought leaders address these common questions around writing
workshop and more in the resources below!
Learn about writing workshop—what it is, the parts of a lesson, and the minilesson structure—and compare it to other types of traditional writing instruction.
The organization of your classroom plays an important role in setting your writing workshop up for success. An effective writing workshop session should last anywhere from 35–60 minutes—a sizable part of your daily instruction—so it’s worth the effort to create an environment that is conducive to writing!
To create an atmosphere of engagement, creativity, and motivation for your writing workshop, embrace a bit of flexibility when it comes to where students choose to do their work. Think how comfort aids concentration and can help to build stamina for students’ extended writing work.
Stake out a meeting area for mini-lesson instruction at the beginning of each lesson and sharing/reflecting at the end.
Carve out some comfy spots for individual student brainstorming, journaling, and writing.
Establish shared spaces for peer review and peer conferencing.
Designate tables as collaborative spots for small-group work.
Set up stations for housing sample texts, anchor charts or rubrics, and mentor texts.
A successful writing workshop also includes a certain amount of friendly nudging in the form of conferring. As a teacher and key confer-er, consider what works best for you!
Once you’ve identified an approach and/or space, stick with it. Students benefit from clear expectations and routines; having established locations for specific parts of the daily lesson can be reassuring.
See Conferences and Conferring During Writing Workshop for specific resources around conferences.
You can generate positive expectations, routines, and relationships around writing workshop even if you’re not in the same physical space as your students. Check out tips for conducting writing workshop in remote and hybrid settings below.
Discover how to foster engagement, creativity, and motivation with your writing workshop class—and successfully adapt to any setting.
Tips for implementing a remote or hybrid writing workshop three-part lesson—planning, preparing, and teaching—from Jump Into Writing!
In addition to configuring physical spaces for writing, conferring, and group work, you need to establish a sense of community for your students to feel comfortable during writing workshop.
Key areas for student participation in writing workshop:
The basic nature of a writing workshop classroom requires that students and teachers interact in ways that are mindful of self-awareness, social responsibility, and decision making. When you establish a writing workshop in your classroom, you can prepare your students not only to be better communicators but also better classmates!
Using techniques grounded in social-emotional learning (SEL) in your writing workshop classroom is a great way to incorporate mindfulness and build positive expectations and experiences.
The assets below provide thoughtful, actionable tips for applying SEL to writing workshop. Resources include a look at how SEL is integral to the design of Jump Into Writing!—Zaner-Bloser’s writing workshop curriculum for grades 2–5.
Learn about the importance of building and sustaining a successful community of writers, with a special emphasis on social-emotional learning.
Hear what it means and what it takes to establish a writing community in your classroom.
Would you like to share your thoughts on writing workshop? We’d love to hear from you!
Interested in learning more about Jump Into Writing! writing workshop curriculum for grades 2–5?