Generating ideas and shaping stories to share with others is important work. Literature informs, instructs, transforms — it changes both author and reader, and entire societies. Even the stories that our youngest children tell are full of wisdom and unexpected truths. Maybe especially those.
So our students learn, from day one, that they are powerful authors. The writing process itself is the goal. Through the process of making books: picture books, graphic novels, chapter books, or whatever books they can envision, students are encouraged to explore and experiment, allowing them to develop many invaluable life skills and to discover who they need to be as human beings.
The best way to describe my approach to Writer’s Workshop is the same approach I take in my books. It’s “Spinach in the Chocolate Cake.” That means my young readers think that all they’re getting is chocolate cake — a book that makes them gasp or laugh on every page. But every page is actually filled with lots of fun facts and useful information to spark interest in many different subjects. Likewise, when I teach, it looks like my students are only having chocolate cake (doing fun exercises and making glorious books), but actually, they’ll be eating mostly spinach, getting stronger and growing more able to do super-awesome things.
What kind of spinach is that? Take a look:
Learn to think and work independently through the use of a writer’s notebook.
Gain confidence to make decisions and to follow through by using strategies learned in focus lessons.
Become risk takers because they know that asking the right questions is more important than having the right answers.
Be persistent in solving a problem because problem solving is modeled in the hard, but joyful, work done during write-alouds and shared/interactive writing.
Celebrate their resourcefulness in finding ideas and information from many different sources, such as mentor texts, process charts and many other types of inspiration within the classroom, and not just by asking the teacher or a friend for help.
Identify themselves as makers of books, with big ideas and important things to say.
Go beyond the day’s topic because it got them SO excited about something else that they cannot wait to run after it.
To learn more and sign up for our Creative Writing courses, click here.