I’m excited to begin our writing lessons for the year and especially to share the process with you! It is the time of day I enjoy the most because writing is such a personal thing and I love to empower the children with the knowledge that they can express themselves in written form. I hope you will join me each Sunday for the next chapter in the Writers Workshop Series. I will be sharing my lessons and processes, my ups and my downs in the teaching of writing. I will highlight the writing resources I use and will have plenty of freebies that you can grab and use in your classroom Monday morning.
I have a new group of really sweet second graders this year that will begin Writer’s Workshop with me and I am going to share that new learning and exploration with you.
My writing program consists first and foremost the building of community and trust. Writing is not just the act of putting pencil to paper. It can be a very vulnerable activity and students need to feel like their ideas are personal and valid but that they can also share these ideas with others and build off of these ideas.
Last week, my students listened intently when I told them that we would be starting Writers Workshop and that it all begins with knowing yourself. To do this and build trust and vulnerability in writing and in themselves, we talked about the difference between a mindful journal and a journal. In a mindful journal, students write about specific topics that help them to become better citizens. I told them that one example would be kindness.
Mindful journals allow you to think about WHY people act and do things that make a difference to themselves and others. We all took out our exercise books and glued on our cover page. We decorated it with things that are meaningful to us. We specifically used just a regular exercise book because it is meant to be a casual place to share our thoughts. (Later, our Writer’s Notebook will be one that will be a little more fancy and fun!)
We also started our Mindup Program so we had a chance to practice taking brain breaks and discussing how we will start learning how to be mindful of ourselves and others.
Last week’s first topic was “First Days of School”. Our topics usually start with a mini-lesson discussion so that everyone has something to write about.
While this student is not a typical example of a student perhaps, it is clear that she really gets mindfulness and is excited to be kind and learn more. I loved how she wrote that she is happy to be a child. When I asked her why, she said because she “gets to be in school and learn all this stuff”. So cute.
Our criteria for our journal writing is based on best writing practices and CCSS. If you would like a free copy of the Journal Cover Page and criteria page, click HERE. The Mindful Journal and just regular journal is included.
My classroom is ready for writing. If you’d like to see my writing center, I have posted a Classroom Tour. Many of the ideas for setting up a Writer’s Workshop classroom environment have been compiled into this Ultimate Writer’s Workshop Binder and it is full of printables to help you along.
Next week, we will be continuing our preparations for writing by creating Writers Workshop binders. This is something new that I am trying this year.