Writing is one of the most important of all human skills. It is almost the only lasting way we can communicate with one another. But it's also not easy to teach and for most kids, not easy to learn. It's one of the skills area of education and should be practiced daily from kindergarten to graduation.
WRITER'S WORKSHOP BASICS
Writer's Workshop is a writing class where our whole family writes together, Mom included. We all start with a mini lesson and then spend most of our time just writing. We all have writer's notebooks that we fill with brainstorms, idea webs, essays, responses, journal entries, poems, and stories. We choose many of our notebooks entries to take through the writing process and publish for our classroom library. It's really fun to read books we have authored.
Mini lessons are short lessons on writing that we incorporate daily in our Writer's Workshop. They help us develop skills as writers, practice grammar, and also learn great pre-writing techniques to generate ideas and organize our thoughts. Often we'll practice the same mini-lesson concept for several days in a row to master what we're learning. Mini lessons range from completing a page out of a grammar workbook to writing silly similes together.
We explore lots of writing genres in our Writer's Workshop. Our writing time is mostly made up of practicing writing reports, personal narratives, 5 paragraph essays, creative stories, letters, poems, and other genres. These are the kinds of things that we actually take through the writing process together. I model each style before expecting the kids to go off on their own. Once they've learned the format we pre-write, draft, revise, edit, and publish our work.
We teach spelling three different ways using a combined approach. First, we use a daily sequential spelling practice list. Each day we practice writing words together from specific word families. This helps us to recognize spelling patterns. Second, we practice writing words we have misspelled in our school work. Finally, we have a challenge list of 10-20 words each week that we practice using games and activities.