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1. Launching the Writing Workshop
by Lucy Calkins and Leah Mermelstein

Whether you have taught in a writing workshop for years or are just learning the term, this book will offer you a plan for every moment of beginning the writing workshop. As in all of the books in this series, Lucy and Leah present both the precise language and pacing of their teaching and the reasoning behind it, so that you can create the same powerful experiences with your own children.

  • Working Independently in a Writing Workshop
  • Using Writing, Along with Pictures, to Tell Each Story
  • Writing Longer, More Varied, More Thoughtful Pieces
  • Preparing For Publication
    PART ONE: Working Independently in a Writing Workshop
    Session I: Starting the Writing Workshop
    In this session, you will model the process of choosing a topic, sketching it, and then writing a tiny bit about it.
    View Session I
    Session II: Carrying On Independently as Writers
    In this session, you will show writers how they can keep working by adding more to their picture, by adding more to their words, or by starting a new piece of writing.
    Session III: Using Supplies Independently
    You'll move your students towards independence by teaching them where to find and how to take care of the tools they need for the writing workshop—cans of pencils, boxes of markers, the date stamp, and their writing folders.
    Session IV: Telling Stories In Illustrations
    This session will teach students that writers can decide on a topic, envision it, and then record that meaning on the page with drawings that are representational.
    Session V: Drawing Even Hard-to-Make Ideas
    In this session, you'll encourage students not to be held back by not being able to draw exactly what they are thinking but instead to draw the best they can and keep going.
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    PART TWO: Using Writing, Along with Pictures, to Tell Each Story
    Session VI: Using Both Pictures and Words, Like Famous Authors
    You remind children in this session that authors write pictures and words, and you will nudge them to do the same.
    Session VII: Stretching and Writing Words
    In this session, you will help writers separate out the many sounds they hear in words and write down the letters that correspond to those sounds.
    Session VIII: Stretching and Writing Words: Initial Sounds
    For now, you will show students how to listen hard to how words start so that they can get those first letters down on the page for their readers.
    Session IX: Spelling the Best We Can…and Moving On
    In this session, you will teach writers to accept their own approximate spellings in order to tell more about their stories.
    Session X: Using Writing Tools: The Alphabet Chart
    You will show students in this session how to match the sound they hear in the word they want to write with a letter that represents it, using an alphabet chart with pictures for help.
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    PART THREE: Writing Longer, More Varied, More Thoughtful Pieces
    Session XI: Creating a Place for Writing-in-Progress: Long-Term Projects
    After this session, children will see that they can add more writing to the same piece, and they'll use a system to separate finished from unfinished work.
    Session XII: Introducing Booklets
    This session will allow you to teach children to plan for and write a book with several pages.
    Session XIII: Widening Writing Possibilities: Lists and Letters
    This session will invite children to write in a range of genres, for a range of purposes.
    Session XIV: Widening Writing Possibilities: Real-World Purposes
    In this session, you'll help children realize that during every section of the room and part of the day, there are reasons to write—and you'll invite children to do that writing.
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    PART FOUR: Preparing For Publication
    Session XV: Fixing Up Writing
    In this session, you will teach children that writers fix up and revise their writing so it says everything they mean it to say before it's sent out in the world.
    Session XVI: Editing and Fancying Up Writing
    You will teach students how to reread, check, and edit their writing to make sure it's readable. Then, mid-workshop, you will teach them to fancy up their work by adding details with colored pencils.
    Session XVII: Reading into the Circle: An Author's Celebration
    In this session, children will read a favorite part of their writing to the whole class, then all of their writing to a small group, then will enjoy refreshments and post-unit talk.
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