Launching Writing Workshop

I am working alongside a new teacher who is launching the writing workshop as well as the reading workshop.  We worked together to come up with this unit plan.

Essential Question:  How do writers work effectively in a writing community?


  • Students will follow the routines of the Writing Workshop
  • students will use the tools of the Writing Workshop (notebook, folder, spelling help etc)
  • Students will brainstorm topics for writing
  • Students will build their stamina as writers
  • Students will identify the 6+1 traits of writing (school requirement)
Week 1:  Routines and Materials
  • introduce the notebook
  • introduce the folder
  • introduce the spelling helper
  • introduce the rhythm of the workshop (this is a quick lesson from Denise Leograndis that makes a pie graph of how the hour of the workshop is spent)
  • introduce the traits
Week 2:  Ideas
  • getting ideas from experiences
  • getting ideas from books and authors
  • getting ideas from artifacts or photos
  • sketching to stretch our thinking
Week 3:  Adding Details
  • using sensory details
  • focus on touch
  • focus on sight
  • focus on smell
Week 4:  Building Strength and Stamina
  • writing long about something
  • using memory to push writing
  • deliberately pushing our stamina
  • Quick publish and share with partners

Launching Reading Workshop

We’re almost launched.  I don’t know why I didn’t share this here before now.  But thank you for asking for it.

The Launch Unit — Reading Workshop

(this is my coaching plan, so the essential question and learning objectives are framed in terms of the teacher)

Essential Question:  How do teachers create sustainable structures to support teaching and learning throughout the year in Reading Workshop?


Teachers will:

  • use practice for independence to establish student behaviors and routines
  • establish a conferring notebook and a plan for conferring with students
  • establish a routine for choosing just right books and for shopping for books
  • establish a goal setting structure and accountability for goals with students during conferring
  • begin forming tentative, flexible small groups
  • establish reader’s notebooks
We plan each week of the unit by naming it: 
Week 1:  Independent Reading
  • anchoring behavior
  • choosing just right books
  • shopping and book bin procedures
  • building stamina
Week 2:  Conferring and Goal Setting
  • initial assessment conferences 
  • introduce the CAFE menu (in the classrooms that are using this tool)
  • set goals with individual students
  • introduce recording goals in Reader’s Notebooks
Week 3:  Reader’s Notebooks
  • set up and organization of the notebook
  • reading calendars/logs
  • 10 Things about ME as a reader
  • keeping track of my work toward my goal
Week 4:  Small groups
  • Beginning to place students into groups based on the initial assessment conferences and goal setting