What Apple Picking and Writer’s Workshop Have in Common

When I think of Writer’s Workshop I think about how we naturally teach our own children. Just today, I took my kids out to pick apples and they needed a mini-lesson on ripe apples versus unripe apples. I held up two apples, showed them the difference, and they were off! It was a short, explicit, and needed/meaningful lesson that allowed them to practice as I observed. Of course, my four year old had more skill picking only ripe apples but my two year old could also identify the truly unripe ones.

This kind of explicit showing and practicing with support is the purpose of a mini-lesson in Writer’s Workshop. Just like in life, the mini-lesson occurs throughout the writing process (from procedures for the workshop model itself, to gathering ideas, to drafting, to revising, to editing, to publishing and celebrating).

And, as in life, the most simple of things often go overlooked: Writers need time to write! Just as my own children needed time to actually pick apples, writers need time to write, practice the skill they have been explicitly taught, and make meaning individually, with their class of fellow writers, and with their teacher. The gift of time for writing is alive and well at Rio! Students are writing frequently (to build fluency), writing for extended periods of time (to build stamina), and writing on topics that resonate (to build a love of writing through meaning-making).

Enjoy these photos of our Kinder-6th grade writers in action these past few weeks using the Writer’s Workshop framework of mini-lesson, writing/conferring time, and sharing:

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