Writer's Workshop.....Fresh Ideas Made Simplistic

This summer was one of the best PD filled summers.  Yes, I say that with all smiles!! They were chalk a block full of deep learning, thinking, and easy to bring back to my classroom.  My favorite workshop was given by Jennifer Jacobson who has written the book "No More I'm Done." My grade level has be trying to step up our game in writer's workshop for a while now and she was just the icing on the cake. Her ideas are student centered and individualized, yet easy to put into place and manage.  I highly suggest her book. It's an easy read that will get your writer's workshop up and running from day one. She goes step by step explaining in depth exactly how to begin and take each writer to a new height.
So with her new ideas in mind, I began creating the writing area in my classroom. 
Here is the entire writing area filled with: word wall, authors chair talk board, writing conference board, writing conference table, writing workstation area for writers and supplies, and authors chair. 
She talks in her book about the idea of an author's chair. (new idea to me) This is where as a child is working on their writing they sit in the author's chair and are questioned by their peers.  They read their writing aloud and the other students notice 3 favorite things about the writing piece and are able to ask 3 questions. The board you see on the right under author's chair is a helper board to remind students to ask 3 questions and notice 3 fabulous things.  The blank clothes pins are for the students pictures. This will let them know who sits in the author's chair for that day.  Then to the left their are 5 spots that will tell the students who will have conferences that day. If I don't happen to get to them that day, I'll just move their name up. I like the idea of clothes pins, because they can easily move and switch themselves around. 

Here is the writing conference area where I will meet with writers to discuss their pieces.  I like the idea that Jennifer Jacobson has about writing with your students then conferencing after everyone has had a quiet 10 minutes to write.  During conferencing students who are not conferencing will still be engaged in their writing pieces. 


This table is for writers to write and a spot for all the supplies.  On the table writers will find: a stapler, crayons, markers, hole puncher, 4 different types of paper, post its, and other art supplies to spruce up illustrations.  She talks in her book about the idea of "spider legs" this is where the student takes a long strip of paper and can add on to their writing during editing.  This takes the place of erasing and confusing from scrunching all the words together.  

This is just a close up of what is on the table and how the students can easily access all their materials. 
 These are two different writing paper templates for students to use for their writing pieces. One offers the writer a larger picture with less words then they will eventually migrate toward the smaller picture and room for more writing.

Click here for writing paper templates

Click here for the writing workstation lettering
Click here for author's chair lettering
Click here for writing conferences header