For more than twenty-five years, the children in Lisa Cleaveland’s kindergarten and first grade classes have started making their own books on the first full day of school. By the
third week or so, bookmaking is a daily routine and the children work with an independence that sometimes seems extraordinary for writers and illustrators so young. If you were to visit Lisa’s classroom later in February or May, you would see the children growing and changing as writers as they study craft and genre and process in units of study across the year. But nothing is as critical as the first few weeks of school when the routine of making books is established and the tone is set for the entire year.
How does she do it, year after year? How does Lisa help five- and six-year-olds believe they are writers and illustrators capable of making books? How does she help them become so willing to take risks and try things that are new and challenging? How does she help them
engage with the process of writing and all the thinking and decision-making that accompanies it? How does she initiate children into the “shop talk” of writers, using new words to represent new ideas about all this new work? What informs her teaching in those critical first days and weeks when children are just getting started with writing? This Classroom Essentials book came about as a way to answer these questions.
Getting Started with Beginning Writers tells the story of a group of children and their teacher embarking on a year of study together in a writing workshop. As the story unfolds, alongside it you will find all kinds of ideas, information, strategies, and tips. If you are a new teacher (or are new to writing workshop), this book will show you in clear and simple terms what to do to establish a routine for writing in your classroom. If you’re an experienced workshop teacher, the book will help you imagine new possibilities for getting started. If you’ve ever longed for beginning writers to show more independence during units of study across the year, then this book is for you.
Lisa Cleaveland starts her writing workshop each day at 9:00 am sharp. She has been a teacher for twenty seven years and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She was the recipient of the prestigious NCTE/Donald H. Graves Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing. Lisa's classroom was the research basis for About the Authors, coauthored by Katie Wood Ray. Today, teachers from all over the United States visit Lisa's writing workshop in North Carolina to watch a master practitioner at work.
You can find her on Twitter at @LisaCleaveland
For many years as the author of bestselling Heinemann books such as About the Authors, Study Driven, Already Ready, and In Pictures and In Words, and as a member of Heinemann’s Professional Development Services, Katie Wood Ray gave teachers resources and PD that transformed writing instruction and helped children discover a lifelong love of writing.
In 2014, Katie “moved to the other side of the desk” and joined the dynamic team of editors at Heinemann where she works closely with authors to craft powerful professional books on a range of literacy topics. Katie is also the series editor for the new Classroom Essentials books from Heinemann.
You can find her on Twitter at @KatieWoodRay