There is no other time of the day quite like writing workshop. The alternating periods of excited conferencing mixed with the frenzied scratching of pencils on paper gives me goose bumps every time. I’ve found the key to keeping this delicate balance is authentic writing and student choice.
To get the most out of our time and meet all of the standards, I’ve grouped all of my reading and writing workshop units into genres. This gives students a better understanding of the genres and helps boost both reading comprehension and writing stamina. While students are required to write in my chosen genre, the form their writing takes is really up to them. Our autobiography unit is a perfect example of how this process works.
While students are studying biographies in guided reading, they are also creating their own autobiographies in writing workshop. After we’ve created anchor charts, my students are free to select the path their autobiographies will take. I love teaching this unit each year because I always learn new things about my students. Even reluctant writers have stories to tell when the unit is all about their special memories. For this reason, you might choose to use this unit as a back-to-school activity, especially if you are just focusing on the writing component. Not only will you get to know your new students, but you’ll also allow them to slip back into writing workshop with a familiar topic—themselves! If this project is too challenging for the beginning of the year, save the information to use later as your students explore autobiographies in reading.
I’m excited to share my bundle with you so you can create your own autobiographies with your class. Click to download this freebie from my store on TeachersPayTeachers.com. I’d love to hear how it goes!
Christi Fultz is a third grade teacher in Indiana with a master’s degree in elementary education and a reading specialist license. Reading and writing are her favorite subjects, but she loves creating hands-on math lessons too. Follow her blog, Ms. Fultz’s Corner, for classroom organization tips, literacy resources, reading strategies, writing mini lessons, math games, freebies, and more.