Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mighty Writers Society~Writers Workshop as a Club!

What if writer's workshop became a classroom club? What are the characteristics of a club and how might it change your typical writers workshop? This year, I decided to create some excitement around writing with my writers workshop by calling it a "club." I began by discussing the idea with students and asking them to help me figure out some characteristics a club might have. Here's the list we generated:

-needs a name
-needs members
-needs places to meet
-needs a common purpose/goal
-needs an agenda/plan of what to talk about
-leader (many people can take on leadership roles)
-may need specific jobs to be filled (notetaker, etc)
-voting and choices
-planning-discussing and getting ideas
-has committees
-has parties and celebrations
-may have a contract to sign
-may have fees
-needs supplies related to the club's purpose
-may have special objects or tools

Next, we needed a club name. Students gave me ideas for names (I also had a list that I had brainstormed in case we got stuck) From this, came the "Mighty Writers Society." I have to say, I wasn't so sure about the "mighty" part, but I liked it more than "The Mama Llamas." And, now that I have been calling my students "Mighty Writers" for a few weeks, it really just sticks and means something. {Of course, the "society" part reminds me of Robin Williams and the Dead Poets' Society...Oh Captain, My Captain, how fitting for creating a love of writing and literacy!}

Now, how do you show that your club has been established? You create a logo of course! I gave students a week to turn in possible logos. and I got a good range of ideas. We again voted as a class and here's the logo we ended up with:
I love that this design won because it was the only hand-drawn logo. I loved the computer designed ones too, but I thought it sent a nice message that my kiddos preferred the hand-drawn over the computer-perfected images. I told the students who made computer images that we would need their skills later when we publish books and class projects.

I had already planned for us to cover our writer's notebooks with pictures and cover them with contact paper, but I was able to spin this as a way to make our "club tools" special. I had held off because I didn't want to say we were covering our writer's notebooks until the club was established. So, after establishing our club name and logo, we spent a morning covering our notebooks.

Once the club was set up, I thought, where do we go from here? And, how do I continue to give students ownership? (This will be a work in progress all year, of course!)Well, writers learn from other writers like artists learn from other artists. I launched my "reading like a writer" unit {reading like a writer is an inquiry based approach to writing which really puts the control in students hands}. You may have also heard about Reading Like a Writer as a "Mentor Text" unit.

As a club, we decided that having deadlines to push for is really motivating. So we set our first writing deadline for the end of the quarter. A few days later, I told students I was thinking that since we were writing picturebooks, maybe we could turn our celebration into 1st/2nd grade reading event and share our books with them. They are totally game! I am also messing around with and will probably have students publish a digital version of their much Mighty Writer's fun to be had!

How do you keep writers' workshop interesting in your classroom? Any ideas for how to make our "club" more clubby?

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of a writing club! I'm even thinking now that during our enrichment time this would be a good thing to get started for those kids who choose to write every time! Thanks for such a creative idea!



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