The basic philosophy behind Writers’ Workshop is that students write every day for real purposes about things that interest them. Students learn the craft of writing through practice, conferring and studying mentor texts with the ultimate goal is of developing lifelong writers. The Writers’ Workshop has a structured order of events that occur daily within a specific block of time. The structure of Writers’ Workshop follows a predictable pattern and set format which builds structure, expectation, and opportunity for students to write. The model always starts with a mini-lesson with the whole class in which the teacher explicitly teaches one skill, strategy, or quality of writing. Once introduced, the teaching point becomes an option for students to use in their writing.
As students move from whole class to independent writing, the teacher confers with students individually or in small groups about their writing. Through additional mini-lessons and conferences, the teacher is able to attend to individual needs, set goals for students, and reinforces previous lessons. At some point during independent writing, the teacher may chose to address an observation or remind students of prior lessons with a midworkshop interruption which provides a mental break and refocus on writing objectives. The workshop often concludes with the whole class reconvening for a brief share. The teacher may identify a student whose work has effectively utilized a strategy or teaching point.
The philosophy and principles of Writers’ Workshop create a learning environment that:
• Encourages independence
• Gives the young writer a high degree of choice within a framework
• Has procedures that are consistent for both materials and movement
• Structures the environment to encourage writers to take risks and learn their craft
• Provides a scaffolding support system to all writers
• Gives students frequent response to their writing
• Has a regular and predictable time to write and amount of time
• Gives students direct instruction in writing by different methods; whole class, small group, and individual
• Uses literature to teach students the craft of writing