Writer’s Workshop for Primary or Elementary Students

Writers Workshop was something new that I implemented into my classroom this past year. I was sent to a workshop myself, in order to learn how to teach it. It was an extensive training, and I still do not feel that I am doing it exactly the way it was taught, but just as with everything else I do in the classroom, I tend to do it my own way! Doing it every single day was difficult at first, as it is definitely something the children have to learn how to do themselves, so we all learned it together at the same time! I have picked up a few books and tips that are extremely helpful in putting together lots of Writer’s Workshop activities. Here’s a brief synopsis of how I did Writer’s Workshop and tips for setting it up in the classroom!

What you will need before you begin:

  1. LOTS of chart tablets (you’ll use about a sheet per day) and chart markers
  2. 3 folders per child (I suggest to get three sets. I used a blue set, a red set, and a green set.)
  3. 3 containers for the folders or a hard 2 inch 3-ring binder per child
  4. a green pen, blue pen, red pen, and pencil per child
  5. Teacher conference forms; Peer Response Forms; Personal Editing Forms
  6. Post-It Notes

The parts of the workshop:

  1. Community time and mini-lesson (about 10 minutes or so)
  2. Writing and conferencing time (about 30-40 minutes)
  3. Review time (about 10 minutes or so)

Community time and mini-lesson: Usually all at the carpet, with the children focused on the chart tablet, this is when you write out your mini-lessons. These lessons begin with “rituals and routines” at the beginning of the year (when you teach the children about how to properly participate in Writer’s Workshop). After the children understand the rituals and routines, then the lessons are focuses on all the various writing skills you want them to learn!

Writing and conferencing time: The children are encouraged to go back and write using whatever skills you’ve just introduced during the mini-lesson. The writing time is focused on the “Writing Process” which includes the following steps:

  • Prewriting- The children use some sort of graphic organizer to brainstorm their ideas for their story.
  • Drafting- Using their ideas from their prewriting, they begin to roughly write out their story.
  • Revising- They go back into their story and change things, add new things, make it more interesting, and so on.
  • Editing- They go back into the story and fix grammatical and spelling errors.
  • Peer Response- They let a peer writer read their story and offer ideas and suggestions.
  • Teacher Conference- The teacher listens to their story and tells uses a post-it note to tell them what’s great (Celebrate!), what they are missing, and what needs to be worked on.
  • Publishing- Once their story is at its “best”, the child can then publish it by rewriting it or typing it on the computer, and then drawing pictures to go along with it!
  • Author’s Chair- We do author’s chair on the daily basis (the kids sign up, usually about 4 or 5 per day). The children read what they have so far, and the other children offer up positive feedback and suggestions. Also, author’s chair is used for students to share their published work!

Review Time: Bring the children back to the carpet (community). Review the lesson, let the children tell you/show you how they’ve included the new skill in their work, and have author’s chair!

The following is a great site that shows you how to put together the folders and there are some great printables to use for set up of the Writer’s Workshop and for student/teacher use!


The following is a neat book to read that will really help you further with getting everything ready and with strategies/techniques for keeping it up!

Click here to find out more about Writing Like Writers

This book is easy to read and helps to inspire you to start implementing Writer’s Workshop in your classroom!

Click here to find out more about The Writing Workshop

What better way to learn about Writer’s Workshop than to listen to what other teachers have to say about it? The following is a book compiled of actual teachers’ struggles and successes with implementing it. This book has teachers from grades one through eight offering their stories of accomplishments and struggles! It’s a very unique way to learn!

Click here to find out more about Writer’s Workshop

The following book is incredibly helpful to those of us who teach the primary grades (K-2). This book really helps teachers get started, gets students inspired, and it offers specifics lessons and units of study to get one started teaching these little ones how to become better writers!

Click here to see About the Authors

This should be plenty of information to help you get your own Writer’s Workshop started in your classroom. If you have any other tips to share or Writers Workshops activities, please share them in the comment section below!

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