We call it "workshop" for a reason; the learning time is about the work children do. Children need to make connections from one day's learning to the next; it's the story of their meaningful work and the how, what, and why of their learning, not the story of our teaching. Don't think head-down, nose-to-the-grindstone kind of work; we're after the kind of work that fuels children from one day to the next, work that inspires them to want to read more, write more, talk more, learn more, understand more, and grow.
Meaningful work is worthwhile, interesting, I-want-to-find-out kind of work. Ask yourself, "Why does doing this work matter? Why are we spending our time doing this, anyway?" We all need to be clear about why so that we can create learning situations where children will engage and come to understand why it matters too.
Debbie Miller is a teacher, author, and literacy consultant. She taught in the Denver Public Schools for thirty years and now works extensively with schools and districts on long-range planning and development of literacy programs. Debbie is the author or co-author of many resources for teachers, including Reading with Meaning, No More Independent Reading Without Support, and the forthcoming What's the Best That Could Happen?
Follow Debbie on Twitter @millerread