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Stenhouse - For Teachers, By Teachers

Welcome to Writing Workshop (Teacher's Corner)

Posted by admin on May 20, 2022 8:00:00 AM

In this episode of Teacher's Corner, Stacey Shubitz and Lynne Dorfman, authors of Welcome to Writing Workshop, chat with editor Bill Varner about all things writing workshop.



Listen to the Podcast 


Links Mentioned in the Podcast 

Welcome to Writing Workshop

Jump Into Writing!

Connect with Stacey on Twitter: @sschubitz

Connect with Lynne on Twitter: @LynneRDorfman


Read the Transcript

Bill: Hi, Lynne. Hi, Stacey. I'm delighted to be with you here today. See? Hi, Lynne. Hi, Stacey. Delighted to be with you here today to talk about, Welcome to Writing Workshop. I've known you both for a long time. I wasn't quite aware though that you two were good friends. I was just curious, how did the two of you meet?

Stacey: I think it goes back to 2009, which was the year I moved to Pennsylvania. I attend the Keystone State Literacy Associations conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I think I was there having lunch with you, Bill. I think you saw Lynne and Rose Capelli over at the Stenhouse booth and said, "Hey, I want to introduce you to these two." I was like, "Oh, I have their book with me to sign it." That's where I met Lynne and Rose that day. Over the course of the past 12 and a half years, we've just become very friendly. It's gone from a fan girl moment to a lovely friendship. We just saw Lynne a few weeks ago with her husband over here. We had a nice brunch in December, so it's been a decade plus friendship.

Lynne: I think that we feel very close. We call each other, we talk about our lives and our goals and our dreams. I share about my goddaughters and Stacey always shares about Ari and Isabelle. We love both of them. We even all went to Longwood about... I guess, I don't know how many months ago, when we strolled Longwood with the kids and had lunch together. It was just so much fun. I think we really wanted to do something together and I've always wanted to write about Writing Workshop. It's been my dream to get something out to teachers everywhere because when Rose and I would present at conferences on mentor texts, we had so many teachers talking to us about how they really wanted to be better writing teachers, but they felt that they didn't have the help that they needed at the university level. When they became teachers, they also felt that there was really very little professional development on teaching writing. I thought, wow, Stacey wrote this book with Ruth Ayers and it was a fabulous book and she does this great thing on her website and encourages writers through slice of life. Stacey would be so perfect. I just knew that we could work together. I asked Stacey if she'd meet me in Lancaster. I think we met for lunch and we just threw around the idea of writing a book about Writing Workshop and Stacey was on board. As a matter of fact, she was so excited she started to brainstorm titles. We couldn't wait to share with you, Bill, our idea for this new book. That's how it all started.

Bill: That really speaks to the idea that a good book, a good partnership, co-authorship develops out of a great relationship. Who do you see as the main audience for the book? Are there any additional people who you would recommend read the book, say admins, and where do they fit into the whole audience scene?

Lynne: I think Stacey and I both feel that we wrote the book for new teachers, novice teachers, teachers who maybe have been in the field for less than five years or so. We also felt that there would be some veteran teachers who would want to read this book and take a second look at the way they teach writing and really think about how they are elevating their students in their classroom to that conscious level of, I am a writer. I think there are a lot of veteran teachers out there who would benefit from reading the book too. We think that university level undergrads, pre-service teachers, they would really benefit from having this book under their belt and being able to return to it when they actually are in their classrooms and give it a reread. I also think that grad students, very often grad students come to the profession as well. Maybe they have a different undergraduate degree, but they're returning to get a degree in education and it would certainly benefit them. I can see this book being used at the college level for sure. Stacey, do you want to add anything?

Stacey: I think I just want to echo one thing that you said. I was one of those people who worked for a few years in another field, not in education and then came to education through grad school. I don't recall any books about the teaching of writing during my first masters. It would've been so helpful to have a book like this. Most of my training and understanding of how to teach writing happened during student teaching and during my first year or so of actually being in the classroom. Then I started reading professional books on my own, like the ones that we write, but that wasn't handed to me as a graduate student who was entering the profession. I really wish it was. I think just making sure that anyone who's going to be teaching elementary school understands the fundamentals of teaching writing. I think, if I do say so myself, this is a good book to do it with.

Lynne: We included, at the end of every chapter, that section, When You're Ready. If you've read this book as an undergrad or as a grad student and then you take it back into your classroom the following year, there's opportunity to grow again through the When You're Ready suggestions at the end of every chapter. I also think that it's really important for reading specialists who maybe don't have a lot of training in writing to read a book like this and to understand some of the things that they can do to help kids. When kids are striving readers, they're often striving writers too. I really think that any literacy leader, literacy coach, people who are going to observe, principals and directors of education or curriculum and instruction directors would also benefit from reading this book. Then when they go into the classrooms, they can also collaborate and really reinforce the wonderful scaffolds and structures, the routines that are set up by a writing workshop approach that really help kids be successful. I think it's important for administrators to be on board too. Even a book on like this is just a great professional learning community read, which could be led by a principal or another literacy leader, a literacy coach or someone like that at the building level. Many audiences, Bill.

Bill: Great. Now in the Fantastic Forward that Kate and Maggie Roberts wrote, they say that the promise of writing workshop is that we should treat our students as real writers in the world. Of course that comes from... I think it started off with Writer Teaches Writing by Donald Murray and then Graves took it into Writing Teachers And Children At Work. It's such a powerful concept and just really gives kids a lot of agency and a lot of belief in themselves and any writer really. How does writing workshop help teachers treat kids as real writers in the world?

Lynne: I think the writing and every day. Daily writing, because as a writer, you really have to sit yourself down and spend time writing every single day. The idea that we encourage kids to do this, we set side of time for daily writing, that is exactly what writers do in the real world. I think also that in writing workshop, there's always time to have more than one project going. Writers often do this. They have a main project, but they have other things on the back burner that sometimes they dip into. Encouraging a writer's notebook is a great way to lead a writerly life, just like any writer does, where you can keep your ideas safe and warm, like eggs in an incubator. and to return to and revisit, to find new ideas, topics to write about. Or even return to a topic you already wrote about it but you're going to write about it now in a different genre. You wrote this incredible story, and now you want to write it as a poem. So I think that having lots of different projects possible, that's what writing workshop does for kids and the emphasis on process.

Lynne: Not just product, but every day thinking about your writing process which may vary depending on purpose, audience, topic. Being able to really understand and believe that you are a writer. You're a writer just like the writers in the real world. You may not get paid for your writing, but you are a writer and writing workshop I think does a great job raising kids to that conscious level of belief. That makes all the difference. Stacey, what would do you add to that?
Stacey: Being in a writing workshop means being part of a community of writers. I think that is so crucial. Right at the second I'm working with my co-authors, two writing teachers on an upcoming blog series and we workshop our posts for every blog series. We have a date that everyone turns their posts in on. Then we give each other about five days to read and comment and we go back and forth in our Google Docs.

Lynne: I am always so proud of the piece that I put out as part of the blog series. It always feels like it's some of my best writing because I have this community of other educators that I can run things by. It's the same thing with writing workshop. It's the same thing that real writers in the world do. They have a community. When we have a community in our classrooms and it's led by the teacher who is also a writer, I feel like we really allow kids to thrive and grow and just develop their skills as writers because they know that they're part of this community.

Lynne: I think too, that conferences and the opportunity to confer and give feedback writer to writer in writing workshop is very much like real world writing. We have to teach kids how to choose quality ideas and develop them. That's really important. I always say to teachers, "Remember that, yes, it's important to do a final edit. Yes, grammar is very important. All of that, those final finishing touches are important, but nothing about nothing is nothing."
writing workshop we show them, we demonstrate through Mentor Texts and our own writing, how we can build content. Then we have something to talk about. Then we can do many, many things. So I would say that conferences in the writing workshop are so important. Conferring to respond to what your students are writing, but also to celebrate what they are writing and bring joy to our writing workshop and into our students lives.

Bill: For those listeners who may not be familiar with the structures and the components of writing workshop, can you walk us through what those are?

Stacey: Sure. So writing workshop begins with a whole class mini lesson. It's a time for the teacher to gather the students onto the rug or in the meeting area. It's a time where the teacher teaches one new skill or strategy to students. It's a short amount of time. The reason for that is because we want to allot the greatest amount of time for independent writing.
Independent writing is the time where the teacher is conferring with students, pulling small groups of students. It's the time when students are working independently if they're not meeting with their teacher or perhaps they're having a writing conference with their writing partner. That is the chunk of the workshop time because kids need a lot of time to write if they're going to grow as writers. Then finally, every writing workshop should end with a share session or some time for reflection.

Stacey: It could be a teaching share where the teacher elaborates on the strategy from the mini lesson. It could be something new that the teacher just wants to tuck in at the end. Or it could be a time for students to come up, to share their process, to share what they have done, to mentor themselves after another writer. It's also a time for kids to reflect, how did they grow? How did this new skill or strategy help them? How are they going to put it in their toolbox and apply it later? So those are the basic components of writing workshop. If I'm going to segue, it ties in and lines up with Welcome to Writing Workshop because we have a chapter on whole class instruction, independent writing time, conferring, small group instruction and share sessions. We really dig into each of those so that people can understand what each of those components are, what they look like. There are also video clips in there so that teachers who are reading the book can see this in action.

Lynne: The only thing that I would add, and I think Stacey hit all the key components, but I would add that writing workshop is built around a teacher as writer model. So throughout our Welcome to Writing Workshop book and in every time I speak with teachers about writing workshop and how to really make their writing workshop hum, they have to be part of the community.

Lynne: Writing workshop is not a do as I say, not as I do model. I think it's so important that teachers try to spend some time writing in their writer's notebook, writing in front of their students, which when you start doing it, you build more and more confidence. Certainly that transfers over to conferring and feedback. When you confer with students, you're conferring writer to writer, not teacher to student. Totally different expectations. Your kids will believe and work harder when they see that you are going through the same struggles. You are trying to solve the same problems that they are. So in Welcome to Writing Workshop, we put forth that mantra and I think it's an important one. Teachers of writers need to be teachers who write themselves. Writing is not a spectator sport. You have to jump in and play the game. I think it's essential.

Lynne: The only other thing I would say is that writers notebooks in writing workshop are a great tool to live a writerly life. We mention, and we talk a little, we talk about using writers' notebooks. There's a lot to be said there, but I think Stacey really gave us the key components.

Bill: If there's one thing teachers are short on, it's time. So what are some of the classroom management ideas that you have that will help them use time more effectively in teaching writing workshop?

Stacey: One of the things that I think can really help is having a set of classroom expectations. These are expectations that are just for writing workshop time. This is something that is built alongside students with students and mostly generated from students. Obviously the teacher can lead things and get students to think in ways that will lead to the types of expectations that they know will have a really clean, well-oiled machine for their writing workshop. But the expectations really come from the kids. Once that's created, I think that teachers can teach students how to come prepared for a mini lesson, telling them to bring certain things every day and just get in that habit. How to move to and from the meeting area is another thing that's going to be a time saver. If students know how to get there and back and to transition in a way that's quick, I think that's really helpful. Kids need to know how to turn and talk with a partner during the mini lesson so that they are staying on task with what the teacher is asking during the active engagement. They are really focused on what they're supposed to do so that way they can apply the strategy when they go off. There are so many other things.

Lynne: Yeah. I loved everything you said, Stacey, and I agree completely. I think assigning talking partners is also part of what Stacey was telling us about. I think it's important that when kids come to the meeting area, they have a talking partner that they're going to use for maybe several months or longer. They know who to turn and talk to, who they're going to share their ideas with, and they sit with them. If that partner is absent, they have to know, what do I do? So I always tell them, move into the closest group and become a triad. Just even having that cuts down on several minutes, which can add up over the course of a week. So that's one management idea. The other is that for reflection time, I always put one or two questions on the smart board or on the chart. It's always in the same place in the room so the kids know that when they go to independent writing time that they can look at those reflection questions and think about one that they're going to be ready to respond to when they come together in whole group at the end of workshop to bring closure.

Lynne: So for example, if you've been teaching mini lessons on building a satisfying ending to your third or fourth graders, then you might ask them to reflect on what strategy they used to really create a satisfying ending for the narrative that they're working on and be able to share that strategy. Maybe talk about why it worked or why it didn't work and what you did. How did you problem solve? So I usually set a timer to go off maybe three, four minutes before final reflection. So the kids know that they have to finish what they're doing and look at those reflection questions, choose one, and be ready to share when they come to reflection time. That really helps because if you wait until you bring kids together at the end, then sometimes they don't have much to say. So that's another great one.

Lynne: Then I love to do status of the class. I think we mentioned that we talk about that. We have I think a video clip in Welcome to Writing Workshop. Doing status of the class every day helps me to know where the kids are, whether somebody really needs my help who might not be signing up for a conference. If that student has been planning for three, four days and has not even approached drafting, then maybe that student needs my help even though he's not asking for it. So that's another really quick check-in. It takes two, three minutes when kids know how to do it. It saves a lot of time.

Bill: Now we know that writing workshop shouldn't be about meeting the standards, but the reality is of course, that we all know most teachers have to do so. So how does writing workshop help meet the standards?

Stacey: Writing workshop is a great way to meet the standards that your state or your district, or if you're using Common Core, whatever it is, writing workshop is a great way to meet the standards because in writing workshop you are teaching multiple genres, different types of writing throughout the year. As you are teaching those different genres, you are meeting some of the standards for narrative, informational, and opinion writing.

Lynne: I agree with you that we're meeting the standards because in writing workshop, we do offer our students a chance to explore different formats, different genres. We certainly explore narrative, opinion, or argumentative writing. We delve into all kinds of informational writing. As we do, we take them through a process. But we also build around, I think all the quality traits of writing that will help them communicate their ideas concisely and with the right amount of elaboration, which is key, I think when you are trying to communicate an idea. So I'm thinking that as we teach the traits of writing, as we build in chances to revise, edit, we have build in grammar lessons, we're meeting those standards at every grade level using writing workshop.

Stacey: I think it's really important when teachers are looking at the standards, that they look at what each student can do. And even if the grade level standard for the end of the grade that they're teaching says one thing, if students haven't met the previous standards for the previous grades, I think it's really important in writing conferences and small group instruction for teachers to go back and reteach those skills. So that way, even if the student won't meet the end of grade level standards, let's say for fifth grade because they are doing certain things on a second grade level and certain things on a third grade level, the idea would be to move them forward and to advance them so that they are meeting the standards of the previous grade if they haven't met it yet, and then helping them work their way up.

Lynne: The common core emphasizes the importance of process as well as product. So it's very important that... And this is what we do in writing workshop. We are giving teachers teaching strategies to help their students plan, draft, revise, and edit their texts. And I think that's really an effective way to help students use their process and be more successful.
Bill: When I've been in classrooms, I find it extremely difficult or very difficult to do that with kids. I remember one time just struggling to work on similes with a child and I was growing frustrated, so was he. How did you start to develop being, to improving your confirming skills with kids?

Lynne: I'll just say something quickly and then I'm going to pass it to you and then I'll take it back. I think that to know your purpose for conferring is really important. So sometimes you really want to just celebrate with a student. You have to know your students, that's so important. Or sometimes you want to validate or just encourage your students, give them that nudge. So I think it's really important for you to go into a conference knowing what your purpose is. And also, I think it's very important that you learn to be a good listener and that you listen to your students and then take it from there. Stacy?

Stacey: I'll be honest, Bill. I had a lot of bad conferences early on. I did a lot of pen holding. I probably went too long in a lot of conferences and taught too many things and wasn't focused enough. So it took a lot of bad conferences to get good at it. I remember hearing at a calendar day at teachers college that it takes two years to get really good at conferring. And when I heard that, I was like, oh, thank gosh. I'm going to be okay. This is not something I can learn how to do overnight. So I studied conferring a lot. I also did a lot of audio taping of my own conferences. I listened back to them and they were cringe-worthy sometimes and sometimes they were really good. I've also heard Shauna Fraisen say that a bad conference is better than no conference at all.

Stacey: So I think that when I look back on some of the not so great conferences I had early on, I was still conferring with kids. I still meeting with them as writers and I was still complimenting the things that they were doing well. And maybe I taught them too many things in a conference, but I eventually learned that I could teach one thing and should compliment one thing and be really specific, and over time, I just got good at it. But it doesn't mean that I don't walk into a classroom and have a poor conference sometimes. Even today. Sometimes you pull up beside a kid and they're hard to work with, especially when you're coming in the room as a literacy consultant and you don't know them, they don't know you. And it's hard. So even almost two decades into this, there are times I still struggle and it's okay. As long as we can reflect and learn from the struggle and get better, then I think that statement of a bad conference is better than no conference at all, really holds true.

Bill: Where does small group instruction fit into writing workshop?

Stacey: Well, I'll tell you, that's why I wrote Craft Moves was because I felt like there was a need for more small group instruction. I was going into classrooms, working with teachers and they were telling me that they just did not have time to meet with all of their students one to one each week. So, that's kind of where small group instruction comes in. It's still highly individualized if you're pulling kids into groups in a purposeful way, and it allows you to still have interaction with students one to one, but you are teaching 3, 4, 5 kids the same thing at one time and moving them ahead as writers. So I often see small group instruction as a time saver. I also see small group instruction as an opportunity to have a little bit of socialness and collaboration in the classroom where kids can sit in a group and they can turn to their elbow partner and share what they worked on after the teacher does a little bit of teaching and shares that strategy that they want to teach. They could try it out and then share it with the partner right there. So it has that community aspect of it too. But I think when I really think about small group instruction, it's a time saver. It's a way to make sure that you are seeing every kid in a semi-personal or personal way, at least once a week.

Lynne: And the beauty of small group instruction is that you can organize your groups in a way that you can be flexible giving kids what they need at that moment in time. And being able to differentiate with groups that you might organize for kids who are striving writers who need more help or providing enrichment for those kids who can move beyond the mini lesson and they're ready to do it. Or even for your El, your English language learners. So I think it's important to remember that small group instruction can be flexible. You don't have to divide kids into three different groups every day. You may have one small group or two small groups on a Monday, and then go to another small group that you're going to meet on a Tuesday.
You really just have to balance your workshop time, but know that small group instruction is beneficial. It also is a confidence builder. It's a confidence booster, and it's a time when you can individualize and really observe your students very closely and also let them talk and have writerly discussions that you can listen in and take some notes. It's always about getting to know your students better.

Bill: The most neglected aspect of writing workshop is the teacher's writer. I mean, it's incredibly hard enough to not only find time to write, but it can be scary to put your work up there in front of kids and write along with them. There's a whole... I've tried to add a little bit, it wouldn't work. So one of the most neglected aspects I've found is that of writing workshop is the teacher as writer. It's hard enough to not only find the time to write, but it's scary to get up there and write with your kids and show them your warts and all, and the fact that you struggle with it as well. How do you think teachers can overcome that kind of inertia and anxiety of that?

Lynne: I think that first of all, we have to realize that in writing workshop, we are asking our kids every day to take small calculated risks. Playing it safe is not a good idea with writing or pretty much with anything else. We need to take responsible risks in order to grow. If you are going to write differently tomorrow than you're writing today, you have to try new things and new things can be scary. So I think that teachers realizing that what they're asking their kids to do is take risks, try new craft moves, try new strategies, experiment with format. That this is something that they should be doing themselves. I think one of the greatest ways to become a writer is to try to keep a writer's notebook. And you may not have time to write in it every single day, but try to get to it three times a week. And then look at your writing, revisit it and think again, what else could I add here?

Lynne: Or could I write it in a different format? Or just even finding topics. Write down topics that you are an expert or a semi expert in doing, and you could write about that. Or you could try a memory chain or a heart map, or a new neighborhood map. So many different strategies to find topics to write about. But I think that teachers just need to invest in that time because writing really is not a spectator's sport. You need to jump in and play the game. You need to be part of your writing community, because that's going to help you.

Lynne: But as time goes on, you're going to find that if you write yourself, if you give it a try, even if you are ready to write a beginning for a narrative in front of your kids on the whiteboard, try it out first at home or in your free time in school, or during your lunch prep. Try it out. And then just have a little cheat sheet to break into a comfort level of I'm going to write in front of my students. And I have to tell everybody that I've never had a time when I have been writing in front of students and if I got stuck, they were so willing to help. You can all always count on your kids to come through. But the difference is that you'll be a teacher of writers who writes. And to me, that makes one of the biggest differences in the world if you are going to help kids be successful writers, I think you have to have it.

Bill: So how does writing workshop help the striving writer?

Stacey: I'm thinking back, sometime in the last five years I was in a fourth grade classroom and I observed a small group lesson and it was like, mid-range writers in the class. They were the kids who were compliant and doing their thing, but they weren't knocking it out of the park. And this child sat through the teacher's small group lesson and really just took the strategy, ran with it and created some beautiful writing. And I said to the teacher, I'd like this child to be featured in today's share. And her response to me is, well, he's not one of the best writers in my class. And I said, well, that's precisely why you should have him share because every student can teach another student something.

Stacey: And so, this kid was striving to do better, but probably knew that he wasn't that great of a writer. But as soon as he was up in front of the class showing off what he did that day, you could see his confidence grow. And when I debriefed with the teacher, I said to her, it's really important for all of your students, especially the ones who are striving, to have a voice and to share in end of workshop shares because everyone can teach someone else how to do something better. It's just up to us to look for it. And sometimes it's really hard to see that with kids who are striving and who, may be spelling everything wrong, they might be disorganized. But if we really look for it, there's something that they're doing well that they can teach and should teach other students.

Stacey: And of course there are kids who are really nervous and they don't want to come up and do that. So in that case, I would ask the student for permission to share their work while they are seated and talk through the process that the child used. And I have found that that also helps a kid who is striving because they see their work as modeled and worthy of being shared with their peers. So, writing workshop can really help those kids because they are part of the community of writers too.

Lynne: Can I also talk about here the link with mentor texts? Because I feel that helping striving writers by using a lot of books, mainly picture books, where kids can return to the mentor text independently or with a partner and be able to reread passages and look at the pictures and think about what the writer did. And to have that kind of mentality of, I can do that. And I think that's really important for striving writers to have that kind of mentality. So the mentor texts and the passages that we offer through our mini lessons in writing workshop and opportunities to return to these mentor texts as comfortable friends, these authors are standing beside these students and teachers too, and helping them to try something new. And in this way, a striving writer can grow and grow and grow.

Bill: I know you have a new curriculum resource, Jump Into Writing, out from our sister company Zaner-Bloser. So what made you want to take the jump from writing a professional book into lessons?

Stacey: Well, Welcome to Writing Workshop provides teachers with the fundamentals of how to teach writing using a workshop approach. And I think that we give everyone a really foundation once they've completed reading the book, into knowing how to run writing workshop, what all of its parts are. But what do you teach? And when you're new to the teaching of writing, I think it helps to get started by having lessons given to you, because it's really hard to take the state standards and figure out how to turn those into mini lessons. So we did that for people. Jump Into Writing is a resource for teachers in grades 2, 3, 4, and 5. Each grade level has 6 genre based units and one launching unit. So we get teachers started with a launching unit that they do at the beginning of their school year to get kids writing a lot. And then they can get into the narrative, informational and opinion based units. There's two of each one.

Stacey: And I think it really helps to have curriculum. So you're not doing everything. As we were talking about earlier, teachers are busy and they don't have tons of extra time. And the lessons that are in Jump Into Writing are easy to prepare because while they're not scripted, they are guides to help teachers. So it's really easy to prepare them and they're easy to teach. So I think it really helps bridge the gap so that teachers, once they learn the fundamentals, don't have to do all of the hours upon hours of work of writing full units of study.

Lynne: I think too, the resource is linked very heavily to mentor texts. And it's great that Jump Into Writing provides two mentor texts for each unit that you're going to accomplish. And so the, mentor texts were carefully chosen. They're filled with opportunities to really explore how to build content, how to help students find their voice, word choice, organizational structures, grammar possibilities. So in the beginning, I think that's also a very difficult thing. It takes a lot of time to look at mentor texts and to choose carefully, to help your students grow through your mini lessons and through the strategy skills and the craft moves that you can present in each one. And I think we did a really great job choosing appropriate mentor texts.

Lynne: Now the beauty of Jump Into Writing is also that, as teachers become very familiar, and have maybe gone through the resources and used them over several years, they might start to choose new mentor texts. And that would be a great benefit to Jump Into Writing. It's going to help them think, "How can I read like a writer? What am I looking for in a mentor text?" And soon everything is going to really become more personalized for not only the teachers, but for the students in their classrooms.

Bill: So how did Welcome to Writing Workshop inform Jump Into Writing?

Lynne: I think that the components that we discuss in Welcome to Writing Workshop are what we spend time with on every lesson. We do a mini lesson, it's well planned, we have that guided practice, and then we move into independent writing. We have opportunities in Jump Into Writing for small group instruction. There are groups to help our striving writers to offer enrichment, there's even suggestions for our English language learners.

Lynne: We also have that share reflection time. At the end of every lesson in Jump Into Writing, there is a reflection question that we pose to help our teachers the first year through. Again, there's so many opportunities for teachers to grow even with, "Okay, what reflection question do I want to ask? What would specifically work for my students here?" I just think that we help our teachers by mirroring the Welcome to Writing Workshop components very clearly laid out in the Jump Into Writing series. At every grade level we do this,

Stacey: I think it just aligns, everything aligns down to the amount of time we suggest teachers are spending on each of the components of writing workshop, that's even mapped out in Jump Into Writing, and it's the same. They go tongue and groove together, so they really fit nicely. And I think anytime that a teacher feels like they need a little bit of help, a little bit of, "Oh, what do I do with... My conferring isn't feeling quite like it needs to." So they dip into the conferring chapter again, or maybe they need a little bit of help diversifying their share sessions and they don't want to do it straight from Jump Into Writing, well they can go into Welcome to Writing Workshop and get some more ideas for shares. So, they just fit really nice a together and they really align perfectly.

Lynne: I think that Jump Into Writing, like Welcome to Writing Workshop, has a mantra? To stick with our writing when the going gets tough, learn to problem solve and overcome obstacles, always reflect on what we've done to really make it stick, and to also let our writing community notice appropriate problem solving strategies, and new ways of thinking about a way into a narrative, or an opinion piece, or an argumentative piece. And then I think we basically just have this mentality. Make every moment count. Create a writing identity, let all kids truly believe their writers and understand that their voice really matters, that everybody has a voice in writing workshop and the Jump Into Writing resources honors that, that every child has a voice and every voice is important.

Bill: Thanks so much for meeting with us. Really, really enjoyed it. So Stacey, Lynne, are there any last thoughts that you'd like to share with us?

Stacey: I think it's just really important for teachers to be patient with themselves when they're doing this. Just a really small thing, in Jump Into Writing as well as on the pages of Welcome to Writing Workshop, we talk about plan boxes and how it's really important for kids to have a plan when they leave the meeting area. Well, when I teach this to teachers, they always say, "It didn't go well the first day. It didn't go well the second day." I'm like, "Don't own abandon it. It's going to go well. Keep working at it. It might take two weeks and it's going to work." And so all of a sudden I get an email in my inbox and it's like, "It's working, it's working." And I'm like, "I knew it would. I knew it would."

Stacey: And so I think that it really, I don't even know who said it, it takes a lot of slow to grow, but I think that's a really true statement here, that we have to be patient with ourselves and realize that teaching this way doesn't just come naturally. You don't just step into the classroom on your first day of teaching, writing workshop and have it go well. It takes time and it may take a couple of years and if you just keep at it, I promise you it's going to go well. And you're going to see the impacts, the positive growth that kids make as writers. They may not all grow up to be writers, but they will grow up being able to write well because of the instruction that you're giving them through a writing workshop approach.

Lynne: And I would just add to that. Value choice and your writing workshop, value passion, value opportunities to be unique, to be original, to take risks and try new things and experiments, and have fun. Because writing workshop is a place where we can share our writing and really be joyful, have a good time with it. Let's remember to celebrate our writers every day.

Bill: Thanks so much again for meeting with us today. You're two of my favorite people. I really enjoy talking with you. So if listeners want to find out where they can learn more about you, where can they find you on social media and the web?

Stacey: So I have a website, it's, I have been blogging at Two Writing Teachers which is T-W-O,, I've been blogging there for 15-ish years. And I am not a huge Twitter user as much as I used to be, but I'm around and it's @sschubitz.

Lynne: And you could find me @LynneRDorfman on Twitter and hopefully find me on MiddleWeb too. I've been writing a lot of posts for MiddleWeb, which targets grades 4 through 8, just finished another one just the other day. And also my own blog is And hopefully you'll find me this March on Slice Of Life because I love spending the entire month on Stacey's website, sharing post every single day. It's just a great challenge. So look for us there too.