Rough Draft: Using Tech to Drive Connection in Writer’s Workshop

Location: Room 008AB

Explore and create Sold out!

Registration code: B331

[Explore and create : BYOD]

Tuesday, June 27, 3:15–4:15 pm
Location: Room 008AB

Greg Garner  
Many teachers struggle to guide the writing process. We’ll model how teachers and students can stay more connected throughout the process of writing. Learn how to create more student connection to writing by: harnessing peer feedback, writing about real-world issues, encouraging self-monitoring and focusing on outcomes over grades.

Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: PC, Chromebook, Mac
Tablet: iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Padlet (no pre-reg needed);
Google Docs / Drive;
Writable (requires Google login);
1 blogging site (no pre-registration needed)
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Literacies for the digital age
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Language arts
ISTE Standards: Teachers : Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments
Teachers : Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
Teachers : Model digital age work and learning
Related exhibitors: Google, Inc. , Writable

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Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The overall objective of the session is to help teachers learn how to guide the writing process through a writer’s workshop mindset that is centered on student connection. Instead of focusing on a scope and sequence or a specific writing rubric, the goal of writer’s workshop is to give the student more time to practice writing, while providing “just in time” scaffolding and support throughout the process. Teachers will get tips on incorporating more workshop-like practices in two main areas: 1) student writing and peer review and 2) teacher conferring and feedback.

Teachers should leave the session with these learning outcomes satisfied:
1) Teachers will learn new ways of thinking about more student-centric and connected writing best practices
2) Teachers will gain basic knowledge of the tools used in the workshop and will understand several starting points for later implementation.


CONTENT & ACTIVITIES: The session will start with an ice-breaker or “do now”, followed by a summary of some of the latest questions/challenges in driving more student connection into the writer’s workshop model. We’ll then break learners into 2 groups to experience the 2 sides of the writing process: student writing/peer review and teacher conferring/feedback. Two to three tools will be used across the break-out groups, such as Google Docs for student pre-writing and Writable for peer review and teacher feedback.

TIME: Teachers will spend 10 mins in an overview whole-group session, 20 mins in each of 2 break-out “hands on” sessions and 10 mins back together for whole group thoughts and summary.

PROCESS: Teachers will divide by grade band or experience level with writer’s workshop. After a short ice-breaker activity, teachers will go through 2 stations: one focused on the writing and peer review process and one focused on the feedback process.

Supporting research

Graham & Perin (“Writing next: Effective strategies to improve writing of adolescents in middle and high schools”, 2007) note the three strongest influences in writing achievement include: 1) Strategies that explicitly teach “planning, revising, and editing”; 2) Collaboration, in which students learn to help each other with one or more aspects of their writing, and 3) Goals that are assigned to students and are reachable during the broader writing process, including revision.

In addition to Graham and Perin’s analysis, numerous professional organizations advocate for college- and career-ready writers who work diligently over time, practicing many habits of mind such as curiosity, persistence, and flexibility (Council of Writing Program Administrators, National Council of Teachers of English, & National Writing Project, 2011). Instructional models such as writer’s workshop have aimed at nurturing this curiosity and flexibility by using student-centric goals and well-timed teacher feedback, thus encouraging a large volume of writing across multiple genres. Finally, we have growing body of pragmatic evidence from teachers and researchers such as Nancie Atwell, Lucy Calkins, Ralph Fletcher, Kelly Gallagher, and Penny Kittle who have successfully implemented a writing workshop model into their instruction.

Most teachers want to incorporate more writer’s workshop methods into their classrooms, but by middle school, this becomes harder to do, given current grading requirements and the total number of students per teacher. Finding ways to take the best student-centric writing ideals and apply it to any classroom, even if it’s not 100% workshop-focused, can help teachers and students connect more authentically and create writing with purpose.



Greg Garner, Rho, Inc

learning starts here

San Antonio

June 25-28, 2017

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