Set-Up and Products – Writing Workshop Wednesdays

I’m back for our second Wednesday of Writing Workshop Wednesdays.  Click below if you missed last week’s post.
Why Writing Workshop?
Today’s post is all about what products and items you will need to set-up Writing Workshop in your classroom. Below I’m sharing with you what I’ve used in my classroom and what has worked for me. There are definitely many ways to set it up, but I have found the below ways to work for the last few years.  The products and items listed below work for if you have the actual Units of Study materials at your school or if you are just using the Writing Workshop model on your own and creating your own mini-lessons.
Below are some of the items you will need to start using Writing Workshop in your classroom.
  • Folders – Each student needs their own folder that is only for Writing Workshop time. Inside the folder, put in two labels. On the left side they label can read – Finished, Done, red sticker for little kiddos. On the right side the label can read – Still Working, Not Done, green sticker for little kiddos. The red and green work well for non-readers, red meaning I’ve stopped working on this piece and green meaning I’m still going.  You basically want one side of the folder for kids to be able to put pieces that they are finished with. The other side of the folder you want students to put pieces they are still working on.
  • Place to keep the folders – I choose to keep my folders in Lakeshore’s All Purpose Teacher Organizer. It can be purchased at Lakeshore for $59.99.  Target also has bins that would work and there are many places now that make book bins that will hold folders.  I like the Lakeshore one because it has a spot for each part of the writing process. I have my bins labeled – pre-writing, draft, editing, publishing, finished.  When the kids put their folder away, they put it in the bin of the step that they are on. It’s a great way for me to quickly check and see who is on what step of the writing process.  It’s also a good way for kids to know the steps of the writing process and be able to identify what step they are in throughout the week.
  • Place to keep writing paper – I use a Sterilite Plastic Drawer set from Target.  You can use many different things to hold your writing paper. I just recommend having more than one drawer or compartment. You’ll want to offer a few different types of paper to writers and need a way to keep it separate and organized.
    • Paper –  Here are a few different options –
Small Moments Writing Pack
    • If you and/or your school has the Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study Writing Workshop program there is a disc with many different types of paper.  I recommend following Lucy’s instructions about what paper to use during what time of the year, but I also recommend offering up a few different types.  When I taught first grade, we had booklets (three pages stapled together).  Some pages had one line with a big space for pictures. Some pages had 4 lines with a smaller space for a picture, etc.  The nice thing about this is that it presents the writers (students) with a choice (differentiation).  Each writer can use what paper works for them.  As the year goes on and we want the kids to be writing more, the paper choices will change and offer up more space for writing and less space for pictures.
    • If you don’t have the Lucy Calkin’s books at your school, I highly recommend the Small Moments Writing Pack by the Applicious Teacher (Leigh Langton).  I used this pack when I taught 2nd grade at a school that didn’t have the Lucy Calkin’s materials. I liked the pre-planning pages and I love that she offered up a few different writing page options depending on your students and their abilities.
    • Booklets – I also used booklets when I taught first grade a few years ago.  They were pretty easy to make and I could again adjust the number of lines and picture space to offer more options.  About the Authors recommends the booklets because it helps the kids feel like real authors since they are writing in a booklet like the books they see.  Below is an example – towards the end of the year I also offered booklets with blank pages. This allowed kids to be creative with where and how they put their text and pictures. Here’s a funny story a student wrote about me…I was a huge Suns fan and Steve Nash was my favorite player.  So, she decided I would marry him lol
    • If you google or look on Pinterest, there are also many other paper types.  Again, make sure you have a variety so every writer will have an option that works for them.
  • Resources – I already mentioned this two amazing resources last week.
    • Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study materials are amazing.  She now offers them by grade level and they are tied in with the Common Core standards. In the Units of Study, you will have various topics (Narrative, Opinion, Informational, Poetry).  You will also have mini-lessons provided for you that are written as they are taught in actual classroom.  It makes it very easy to teach mini-lessons because the book offers a great format and step by step directions for each lesson.  It could be scripted, but I recommend reading the lesson and making it your own.  This program is expensive, but definitely worth it.
    • For a less pricey option, with still a lot of bang for your buck – I also recommend About the Authors by Katie Wood Ray and Lisa Cleveland.  This book can be found on Amazon and is much more affordable.  In this book, they have ideas for mini-lessons, writing paper ideas, set-up ideas, etc.  Great book especially for K-2 teachers.  This is where I got the writing booklet that looks like a book idea that I mentioned above in paper choice.
Thank you for stopping by today to see what items and materials I use when teaching Writing Workshop.
Here’s what’s coming up next in the series…
-Typical Writer’s Workshop Format -Mini Lesson Ideas -Teaching Editing -Publishing Pieces -Tying Up Loose Ends

FREE Writing Checklists

Picture of four writing checklists.
To make your life easier I have a FREE set of writing checklists for your students to use! These are geared towards the primary grades and include 8 different checklists – so you’ll be able to differentiate based on what you’re teaching and your students’ needs. Grab your writing checklists HERE.
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