This semester in one of my classes I have started using Writers Workshop. So far it has worked out great. My students are excited to have a few minutes each day set aside to just write. This class is the last class of the day and I think the students find relief in just writing for a few minutes. I have used the following ideas in formatting my Writers Workshop:
Mini-Lessons – Each week I teach two mini-lessons pertaining to problems that students have in their writing. So far this has included subject/predicate agreement, run-on sentences, and sentence fragments. After our break we are going to complete mini-lessons on formatting an essay and narrative writing. These mini-lessons do not last the entire class period (only 15-20 minutes), but include practice for the students to do in class or for homework. I also ask for student recommendations for mini-lessons. Usually they can pinpoint ideas that they need help with and we can complete a mini-lesson to review in class.
Conferencing – I also have conferences with students each week to talk about their writing. Before they come to conference they must pick out one thing they are finding difficult and one thing that they really like about their writing. We then discuss these two items and attempt to make their writing better.
Peer Review – Students are required to complete a peer review for their writing each week. This is something we have talked about a lot. Especially how to complete a helpful peer review.
Sharing – One day a week we all share what we have been working on. Everyone reads their writing and we give polite feedback.
Modeling – During this part of the day I write with the students, unless I am conferencing or teaching a mini-lesson. I work on my own writing and share with the students. It is important that they see me writing so that they see it is important to me as an adult.
Music – I have started to play music during writers workshop. It is strictly instrumental, but I heard from another teacher about a really neat group. Vitamin String Quartet actually transposes modern music into instrumentals. My students love it!
Maybe these few ideas will spark some inspiration for your class as well. I hope to add some of my mini-lessons to TpT soon, so be on the lookout!