Writer’s Workshop Problem #1 – Staying On Task:
- Offer a reward of moving to a comfortable spot if students are on task. This will motivate many students to say on task while they are writing.
- Put any struggling writers in a closer proximity to where you hold conferences. This may be a spot on the floor or somewhere they enjoy writing. The closer proximity will allow you to monitor their writing as you are carrying out your conferences. (This article HERE has free writing conference guides and gives tips on managing your conferences during writer’s workshop.)
- Play music softly. You can easily create school appropriate playlists. My writer’s workshop is an active time (peer conferences, teacher conferences, editing, writing, drafting). Having music is my noise level monitor. If I can’t hear the music, then the class is too loud.
- If all else fails, get out some peppermints. Peppermints are a great way to keep students alert and keep mouths busy.
Writer’s Workshop Problem #2 Avoiding Writing by Asking A Lot of Questions:
- Have the student complete the preconference checklist before scheduling a conference with you. You can get a FREE copy of this guide HERE.
- Tell them to sign back up for another conference with the teacher. Many times they will find the answer before you get back to conferencing with them.
- Have them meet with a peer to conference or ask a class expert. This article HERE tells you more about how to use class experts.
Writer’s Workshop Problem #3 – Can’t Get Ideas on Paper:
- In a conference have them TELL you what happened. Let them use their details guide and planning to assist them. As they tell you, jot down things you hear them say. Ask questions about the details: sights, sounds, smells, people, feelings, etc.
- Tell them that writing is just talking on paper. “Go tell that paper your story. Don’t worry about spelling or getting it right. This is a draft.”
- For students who are really struggling, use a recorder (audio notes app is free and easy to use). Then have the student tell you their story. They can then go back and listen to it and write what they said.
Writer’s Workshop Problem #4 – Struggling Writers
Use Pictures and Illustrations:
- Have the student bring some pictures or have parents email you photos of events the student remembers. If you can’t get pictures have the student draw a picture of the event.
- Conference with the student: Ask details. If the student is drawing, let them draw the details and if they want to write, put the photo(s) on construction paper and let the student add words or drawing of details.
Use a Daily Journal:
Have the student pick a topic they like from the journal. Work with the student to either start writing about the topic or adding details and additional information. This JOURNAL here has over 50 topics and story starters to get brains working.
Be the Secretary:
– As students begin, meet with them to help get their ideas on paper. Using either the plot train or the writing guide for notes, ask the student what happened. Ex:
-“Ok, now what happened first in the event?”
-“Who were you with?”
-“Anything else important”
-“What happened next,” …until the end. Get them to give details and jot these down.
-FINALLY, before they start working, have them use the guide to tell you what they think they are going to write.
-Many times these students are really worried about spelling errors. This will help give them a wider range of words that are correctly spelled and allow them to focus on the writing stage.
You know your students. Writing is a way for kids to get their minds and hearts on paper. Let their imaginations run wild. Need help planning your Writer’s Workshop? Check out these resources. Just click the text to learn more.
Links and FREEBIES mentioned in this article.
Still want more ideas? Check out this Pinterest Board