Writer's Workshop "Must Haves"

teachinginroom6.blogspot.com, upper grade blog, 5th grade, 4th grade, language artsWriter's Workshop is something that I have seen since my practicum days.  My very first introduction to a formal writing "program" was in a first grade classroom where the teacher was conducting a writing workshop.  It made such an impact, that it is a model I have adapted to use in my class to this very day.

So, as I am getting ready to start the new year, I thought I would link up with Lindsay at My Life as a Third Grade Teacher (formerly 5th grade teacher ;) ) and share with you two things I always start the year with for each child in my class.

Writing Notebook

I give the students are large notebook, that we then divide into 5 sections.  Using Avery Write-On Tabs (sticky notes will do just fine!), they create a section for Writing Ideas, Genre, Skills Writer's Craft, and Vocabulary.  These sections are used all.of.the.time.  Most of my lessons fall into the Skills, Genre or Craft.  Genre lessons are specific things that go along with the genre we are studying (ie: traits of a narrative).  Craft are the mini-lessons that help develop the students as authors. Skills are the writing grammar lessons we do.   Writing Ideas is set aside for when the students come across something they want to write about.  Vocabulary is for words they use in their writing as well as our Root Word study.

Writing Folder

This is actually 3 folders all stapled together (I have found that staples keep them together better than glue)  Having the folders like this helps to keep the students organized.  You see, each pocket in the folder is designated for one step of the writing process.  If a student is working on a piece that is a rough draft, that piece goes in the "Rough Draft" pocket.  If that piece then moves on to be revised, it gets housed in the "Revision" pocket.  It is just one way to make sure that the students don't lose their writing pieces, and also to keep them on track.  If they notice a lot of pieces in the Rough Draft section, then it might be time for them to move along with them.  Click on the pictures below and it will take you to the doc to download.  Then you can create the folders yourself (sorry for the lack of picture on this one!)  Here is a link to the "How To" put these folders together I did for Classroom DIY.  There are pictures there :)

So there you have it.  Two things that are essential for me in my classroom to set up the writing instruction that will take place throughout the year.  What are some things you use during Writer's Workshop, or just writing itself?


  1. Hi! I am a new blogger and I stumbled upon your blog when looking for new management ideas, as I am moving from 2nd grade to 6th grade this year. I just LOVE your ideas for the classroom economy and you inspired me to implement it in my classroom this year. I hope to post pictures and link back to you as I do, so I would love if you would hop on over and check out my blog: http://www.teacher-wife.blogspot.com/ :).

  2. Hi Stephanie- Thank you sooooo much for linking up with me! I love the idea of the 3 folder writing folder. I don't know if my kids will come with enough folders to do it this year (new school-- didn't get a say in supply list) but I will def. want to try it in the future!!

    I will miss you in 5th grade!! Still love your blog. :)

    My Life as a Third Grade Teacher

    1. Last year, I actually got all of my folders from Donors Choose! Our school doesn't send out a supply list at all, so it was quite a blessing!

  3. love the folder idea! I tried to open the cover document "writing folder" but it goes to google info. I would love a copy if possible. The folder cover is so cute!
    Thanks for your help!

  4. I am really liking the 3 folder idea but am curious how you actually go about stapling 3 together? That does seem challenging and wonder what your trick is...?

    Thank you
    Roberta (g8rtchrmom@gmail.com)

  5. I am doing Writer's Workshop for the first time. Our district is using the Smekens method. My kiddos have their notebooks and folders. We have been brain storming ideas during mini lessons. It is going great. I do think I will have them purchase composition books to decoupage, so their notebooks will be personalized. THANKS! (Also THANKS a ZILLION for the freebie today. I can't wait to use it on Monday. So kind of all of you!) -Mo

  6. I LOVE the idea of the tabs to section off your writing journal. I have always used a writing journal but have never found a great way to separate the ideas from the skills. I would also love to see photos of your writing folders. Where do you keep the folders? Are you in charge of them? Thanks!



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