The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project works in schools that are brimful with all kinds of learners – learners who are new to English, learners with Individualized Education Programs, learners who are new to writing workshop, learners categorized as gifted and talented, and many, many others. The TCRWP staff think deeply about ways to adjust the writing workshop to meet the needs of all learners. Fortunately, the predicable, flexible nature of writing workshop makes it an ideal curriculum to support differentiation. All writers can participate in the writing workshop, regardless of how their writing compares to their peers.
Editors are the crucial, unseen collaborators of published writers. In her new book, Back and Forth: Using an Editor’s Mindset to improve Student Writing, Heinemann author Lee Heffernan describes adopting that role in her classroom and how it helps student-authors dig in and produce dramatically better writing. Lee relies on both student-centered pedagogy and the experiences of numerous professional writers and editors. On today's podcast, we started our conversation with why students can be reluctant to revise.
Earlier this year, Lucy Calkins and colleagues released a new series aimed at supporting upper-grade students who are new to writing workshop. This series, Up the Ladder: Accessing Grades 3-6 Writing Units of Study is a powerful resource that leads to noticeable, rapid improvements in students’ work. The series contains three units, one each in narrative, opinion, and information writing. In each unit, students have the opportunity to experience the writing process repeatedly and to learn essential characteristics of each genre.
If you are new to teaching reading workshop, welcome! You are in for a wonderful experience, where you will watch your students flourish as readers as they read books of their choosing, at optimal reading levels, for long stretches of time, while receiving targeted instruction on specific skills. If you are a reading workshop veteran, you know there is always room to hone your craft, and each new school year brings an opportunity to launch your best reading workshop yet, as you bring the experiences of past years to bear on your teaching.
Few topics matter more in literacy instruction than providing access for all learners, regardless of their level, learning needs, or proficiency in English. One of the most important ways to address the needs of all learners is to choose a curriculum that is predictable and simple, yet flexible and customizable. Those who espouse workshop teaching know it is this: a curriculum that allows teachers to teach responsively every single day.