When we were just a couple weeks into distance learning I started to really miss our writing workshop time. Over the years, I’ve come to cherish this part of the school day and I know my little writers feel it’s a special time too! I became determined to find a way to bring the feel of writing workshop into the homes of my kindergarteners.
After a week of recording writing lessons, I received a note from one of my students. She was checking in on me, asking how my week was. She shared that her favorite thing is writing and asked what my favorite thing was. I replied back and let her know that my favorite thing was also writing. A couple days later I received a message from a parent letting me know that her daughter’s favorite part of distance learning was also writing, that watching the video lessons gave her the closest school-like feelings she’d had since our school closed. Then, I received a note from another student. He simply wrote, thank you for the writing shows (yes, shows!). These messages warmed my heart.
I share this, not because I’m doing anything extraordinary with my writing videos, but rather because they’re quite ordinary. Ordinary in the fact that I’m continuing to teach writing very similarly to how I have for years, except instead of having my kids right in front of me, I imagine them on the other side of the camera lens. Is it perfect? No. Far from it. I’m not able to be as responsive in my teaching as I am in the classroom. I miss being able to share examples of my kids writing in the moment. And, I long for the day I’ll be able to pull up a chair right beside my little writers and confer with them. But, by following the same structure of a minilesson that I always do, I have been able to provide my students and myself with some semblance of writing workshop. It is my hope that by sharing my teaching and lessons with you, we can bring the writing workshop into the living rooms of many homes and ultimately cultivate a community of children who find joy in writing.
Since this is Part 2 of a post I wrote on distance learning writing instruction, you will find the links for my latter lessons below. If you’d like to see the videos and plans for the beginning of the unit, then click here.
Lesson 7: Writers Share Advice by Giving Tips
Lesson 8: Writers Share Advice by Giving Warnings
Lesson 9: Writers Use a Checklist for How-To Writing
Lesson 10: Writers Get Their Writing Ready for Their Reader
Click here for the lesson plans and charts that I used when recording each of the videos above.
Another simple success I have found along the way of distance learning was in the form of an online writing celebration at the culmination of these lessons. My writers were eager to share their writing with each other and equally as eager to give one another compliments on their work as writers.
Click the image above to download the chart I created for setting the expectations for our online writing celebration.