Writing Workshop

Scroll down for the ideas shared during the February 2015 in-service.

Writing Workshop Plans

These are samples that can serve as guidelines or skeletons from which you can more easily develop a plan that works for your students and their needs.  I will be creating additional samples as we move throughout the year.

Click the plan you’d like to see!

Here are our rubrics:

Narrative 9-10

Narrative 11-12

Expository 9-10

Expository Essay 11-12


AND . . . check out this infographic on plagiarism:

did I plagiarize

AND this one on writing a research question:





lamp bulb tulips

These are the ideas shared during our February in-service.


What: How does understanding a text’s structure help me better understand its meaning?  Students brainstorm ideas/genres for the multi-genre project.


  • Warm-up: In writers’ notebooks, students answer: What was your favorite toy growing up?
  • Lesson: Discuss warm-up.  Next, show a clip of Lego movie.  Students discuss what they know about Legos and then read the student sample paper, “Lego Story.” Pair/Share: What question was researched in order to write this fictional story?  Create a web on the board with the researched question (How are Legos manufactured?) and all the details they learned.  In their writers’ notebooks, using previously researched source cards, students will brainstorm which of the 5 genres will answer the 5 questions they created the day before.  Pair/share: exchange with your partner.  Partners: 1 good observation + 1 question about their partner’s choices.

Why: Using facts in life extends beyond a traditional research paper.



What: Create effective leads and introductions; identify a theme from TKAM and find textual support to back up the claim.


  • “When you meet someone new, what draws you to them? A: With an essay, you need to draw the reader in right away.
  • Show examples of great leads from mentor texts. (Examples came from 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Jeff Anderson and collected leads from independent reading books from my shelf)
  • Discuss how each transitions into a summary and then a thesis statement.
  • I will insert a theme from TKAM into 1 of the examples.
  • Students will take 1 of the 4 established themes and use one of the examples leads to mimic.
  • End of class = “Top Writer:” Students will vote on the best lead

Why:  To see concrete examples of how to make their essays creative and exciting.


What: Evaluate a source and created your own essential question, answer, and support in writers’ notebooks.

How: After finding a source on your topic, annotate, then, in your writers’ notebooks, write a debatable questions the article poses for you, write your hypothetical answer, and cite 2 quotes to support your hypothesis/assertion/claim/thesis.

Why: Low-stakes opportunities to create an essential question, practice in composing a thesis and finding support.

**I used this as an exit ticket for each source after time in the LMC.  It was extremely helpful when it was time for them to create a focus and thesis.  It also got them comfortable writing EQ’s.


What: comprehend the difference between concrete and abstract; not hate poetry; help make poetry accessible


Day 1:

  • Do Now: List 10 things you know to be absolutely true about poetry.
  • Warm-up: Have students share answers from list
  • Read Love that Dog by Sharon Creech
  • In WN: Was that poetry or not? Why?

Day 2:

  • In WN: based on yesterday’s end of lesson entry, what makes a poem a poem?
  • Read “The Red Wheel Barrow”
  • Have students discuss images and what the images mean with a partner
  • Share as a large group
  • In the time remaining, students write a poem about something they take for granted with nothing but images

Why:  Being able to describe abstract emotions through concrete means = stronger communication skills; students generate analogies to real-world situations


What: Students will be able to write an effective thesis statement based on research.


  • DN: Write observation from research.
  • Students share and whole-class discusses how to create opinion and extension on observation (model)
  • Students work in groups to develop their own opinions and extensions.
  • Closure: Take 3 parts to write one thesis statement

Why: Critically think about current issues and collaborate to decipher real world issues relevant to them.




WhatTo Kill a Mockingbird:  Writer’s Workshop/character analysis, integrating research, discussion (possible Socratic Seminar), and important historical context

How: 3-5 part lesson plan scaffolded so that students aren’t overwhelmed.

  • Section 1: choose a character: scout, Jem, Tom, Mr. Ewell, Dill, Atticus, Cal & follow this character throughout the reading
  • 1: Character Analysis (template)
  • 2: Research
  • 3: poetry component (template project: find a relevant poem, substitute 60% of words and replace with own words to make a new poem)
  • 4: powerpoint/Prezi: incorporating sections 1, 2, & 3
  • 5: present to class – rest of class must learn/notes on other characters/events (performance assessment?)

Why: Getting students to write through the beginning, excited re: the research/events relevant to the era


What: Forming an argument for persuasive writing


  • Superbowl ads & the techniques they use to persuade you to use their product/services
  • Junk mail

Why: Visual aids show students how persuasive techniques can be used to help from an argument.



What: Define denotation & connotation; determine the effect of word choice (specifically verbs) on mood & tone; identify & evaluate the intensity of active verbs.


  • Warm-up in WN: Read and copy 2 sentences into WNB (one from opening of The Kite Runner, the other rewritten using less intense verbs); Explain emotion associated with each example.
  • Define denotation/connotation (pos & neg)
  • With partners, classify sets of 3 given words into denotation and positive and negative connotations. Review
  • Return to warm-up.  Discuss verbs as diction and responses from warm-up.
  • Group activity: Each group gives a word.  Using dictionary/thesaurus, find a minimum of 4 closely related verbs.  Define words & arrange on intensity chart, ranging from least to most intense.  Transfer list from WNB to chart paper.

Why: Active verbs enliven writing, improve narratives, and create strong images.  Modifying word choice is necessary depending on purpose and audience.


What: Analyze the positive and negative changes Social Media has affected on our language.

How: Using several texts, students will actively read and annotation for several aspects.  They will discuss in groups, answer questions linking texts to their appropriate contexts today.  This leads to a RWN entry on how Social Media affects language.

Why: Analysis of effects of social media and technology has on language; good v. bad slang as well as contextual appropriateness of use; stating position on important and close concept to their generation; gathering ideas from classmates in conversation & writing


What: Annotate with a purpose; apply active reading strategy to help with understanding of text.


  • Entrance slip – post-it-notes
  • mini-lesson: sticky note annotations
  • Individual practice
  • Create two more with marking period partners

Why: Learn to actively read; apply prior knowledge of literary elements.


What: Write journal entries while reading The Crucible from the vantage point of the character that the student is reading

How: Based on class reading and student annotations, the students will write journal entries provided by the instructor.

Why: The students become more engaged in the story and reading if they have a vested interest in a  character.


What: Analyzing language for emotion (tone)

How: Writer’s workshop (vocabulary in context)

  • lists
  • mentor text
  • circle
  • retell memory
  • circle emotion words

What: conveying our emotions (communication)


What: How do you gather relevant information for a problem-solution research paper?

How: Use graphic organizer to guide research and further explore solutions.

Why: Too often we don’t go far enough with our research.


What: Engage in writer’s workshop

How: By working with a partner to brainstorm story ideas after receiving a word; then breaking to write a unique story.

Why: to increase creativity and risk-taking in writing while continuing to foster a collaborative work environment.


What:  What is an effective call to action for a conclusion?

How: Mentor text; jigsaw group analysis

Why: Why are conclusions so important? (Last words, pathos, purpose)feather-clipart-407-writing-using-a-feather-and-ink-clip-art


What: What is parallel structure? What is the difference between a hyphen and a dash? What is the purpose of a colon?

*reading “The Bass, the River, and Sheila Mant”

How: How do I use parallel structure, colon, and dash properly?  Does this affect tone/mood?

Why: Why is it important to vary sentence structure?


What: How do you gather info for a problem/solution research paper?

How: Graphic organizer to use to gather information.

Why: Use graphic organizer to guide research to further explore solutions.



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