Decorative banner image

June 19, 2014

Tips for Managing Writer’s Workshop in Kindergarten- Guest Post from DeeDee Wills!

writers workshopwriters workshop

Tips for Managing Writer's Workshop- in KINDERGARTEN!

In today’s post, we are going to talk about how to organize Writer’s Workshop so that it can be done in Kindergarten when you have NO HELP!   So if you are working alone in your classroom, with just one teacher, all by lonesome, and want to figure out how to do Writer’s Workshop and find time to confer with ALL of your little writers each week, just keep on reading!  This is a marvelous guest post from my wonderful new friend, DeeDee Wills!  You can find her blog, Mrs. Wills’ Kindergarten, here.

We have just completed our second unit in our Writing Through the Years unit on narrative writing.  I grabbed a few samples on my way out of my classroom door this evening and I am excited to share them with you. (I am not sure why my scanner put a red line through these images… technology fail.)

We talked about creating a cover that grabs the reader’s attention… Love the roller coaster!

Great details in her writing!

I am excited that her story clearly has a beginning, middle, and end.  She also included her favorite parts!

This is from a different writer.

We also talked about keeping our titles short! Atta girl!

She told about the various things she did there!

Little Miss A included her favorite part!
Here are some of the anchor chart that we are using to guide our thinking.

Our story hand helps us to remember to include those all-important elements.

This is a chart we will use all year long.
By studying the work of other authors, we can learn the qualities of good writing.

We used this chart all unit long to help with our spelling independence.


Because we launched writing books this month, this was a chart that was essential.   This helped remind students to go back and check their writing… not a simple task when you are 5 and  6 years old.


Now for the conferring… deep breath… doesn’t this seem like the hardest part? Is this you?  You sit down to confer with a student and you become overwhelmed.  You know you need to get to 4 students in a 20 minute period, but you are not sure where to begin with your little writer.   I started this system towards the end of last year and it helped tremendously. These photos are from the writing workshop presentations that I have done for schools and SDE… so if you have been to one of these, these will look familiar. First you have to have a clear idea of what your students’ next steps are.   There is no point in expecting a beginning runner to run a marathon the next week.  Same with emergent writers.


A conference should feel like a conversation, not an interrogation.  I usually start every conference with the question, “What are you working on?”   In time your students will begin to understand the ebb and flow of a conference and they will hop right in.   At first you will hear, “Um… writing?”

Give it time.


So back to the question… what do you “teach” them?  I sometimes need a little think time.


This is how I get my head on straight.   In this example:  At the close of Monday’s writing time, I have 4 students hand in their folder.  This gives me time to look over their body of work and get a feel for what their next steps are.   On Tuesday, I meet with these 4 students briefly and set a goal (or I do a quick bit of instruction).  I put this goal on a Post-it note and send them off to write.  This whole goal-setting time is just 5 minutes for the whole group, so I MUST know where I am heading with them. On Wednesday, I meet with these 4 students for their conference to see if they took on that goal.  At this time, I might set another goal for them.

This is an example of how I keep my notes.   I usually put the title or subject of their writing.   If I taught them something I put a “T.”  If I set a goal for them, I put a “G.”   Here is the deal… your notes are for YOU.  They help YOU keep track of this particular writer.  Don’t panic… write it down in a way that makes sense to you.

This is an actual photo of my board in action.


On the left are my students who are rotating in.  You might see a little yellow star Post-it.  That is to remind my students who will be sharing that day.  I always have those people who I conferred with be my sharers.  I just met with them, so I can name the writing qualities that  I want others to notice.  The cards on the right are the ones waiting to get into the cycle. If you want the conferring schedule, you can grab it from my Facebook Fan Freebie Folder page.  {Remember… you can not see the folder if you are looking on Facebook with your iPad.  You need to look on your computer… I don’t know why… but that is what I have been told.} I added this Freebie a long time ago and I promised an explanation.  I hope this helps. All of the anchor charts and the writing continuum came from these units below.  This units are scripted so you can literally print them out and follow them step by step.  If you currently have a writing program, these will help supplement your instruction.

If you are looking to save some money, you can get the bundle at a significant discount.


Was this the longest post in history? How is writing going in your classroom? Please comment… don’t leave me hanging!


Follow me! (or US!!!)  LOL! Did you enjoy this post?  Do us a favor and share it with your friends!  And follow Heidi’s blog by signing up email updates, or follow on Bloglovin’.  You can also follow Heidi on TPT!  Heidi’s also on PinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+ and YouTube, too!  Don’t forget to sign up for Heidi’s email newsletter (on the left sidebar) for special deals and promo codes that you won’t find out about anywhere else.