When Writers Drive the Workshop

  • Title:When Writers Drive the Workshop: Honoring Young Voices and Bold Choices
  • Author:Brian Kissel
  • Publication Date:March 2017
  • Grade Level:K-5
  • ISBN:9781625310736
  • Publisher:Stenhouse

In this practical, engaging book, former elementary school teacher and university professor Brian Kissel asks teachers to go back to the roots of writing workshop. What happens when students, not planned teaching points, lead writing conferences? What happens when students, not tests, determine what they learned through reflection and self-evaluation?

Writing instruction has shifted in recent years to more accountability, taking the focus away from the writer. This book explores what happens when empowered writers direct the writing workshop. Through stories from real classrooms, Brian reveals that no matter where children come from, they all have the powerful, shared need to be heard. And when children choose their writing topics, their lives unfold onto the page and teachers are educated by the young voices and bold choices of these writers.

Written in an engaging, teacher-to-teacher style, this book focuses on four key components of writing workshop, with an eye on what happens when teachers step back and allow students to drive the instruction:

  • Conferring sessions where students lead and teachers listen
  • Author’s Chair where students set the agenda and ask for feedback
  • Reflection time and structures for students to set goals and expectations for themselves
  • Mini-lessons that allow for detours based on students’ needs, not teacher or curricular goals
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