Michael J. Allen

Class of 2018 - 2019

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Writing Workshop Mini lessons:

Lesson 1:

Generating ideas (p2)

Think of a person who matters to you. List clear small moments.

eg: Dad/Mom

Choose one. Zoom into part that you remember most. Tell the story to a friend. Sketch it. Sketch what happened next. Once the memory is really clear, start writing.

Mid lesson:

When you're done you've just begun! Start another idea!


Partners plan how they can help each other be better writers.

Ask partnerships one thing they learned today



Lesson 2:

Generating Ideas part 2 p16

Think of a place that matters to you. List clear small moments that happened there.

Eg: Playground

Mid lesson:

Take an object and see if it jogs a memory. Look at shoes/inside a desk/etc. Tell the story in your mind.

This is the third strategy for the list.


What can I do to push myself to write more.

Share with partners the ideas.


Lesson 3:

Writing about small moments p28

Qualities of good writing – part 1 and 2:

Write about 20 minutes or 3 minutes. Zoom in on a small moment and tell the parts of the story that matter - leave out sections that don't. Write a seed story not a whole watermelon.

Retell the sequence of events in a step-by-step way.


Mid lesson:

Telling a story instead of writing all about it.

'J is one of my best friends. My mom is 30 and has brownish hair. And works.'

Instead, list about Mom. Kissing goodbye before school, Putting green ribbons in my hair.

If your writing feels like its about a lot of things you can stop and make lists.



Find someone who used the strategy and share for example, writing with specific details

Find places in partners writing where specific detail can be added.


Qualities of good writing - third point

Include true exact details from the 'movie in your mind'


Lesson 4: (Omit)

Writing Conferences p38

Teacher wants to know


Try not to talk about the subject but about the writing (eg p39)

Model 3 questions with the whole group:

First time use script on p39 for general answers with first volunteer, then use the second script for second volunteer.

Look at the chart Qualities of good writing. If you can't answer the questions, use the chart to help. Each partnership prepares to answer the questions.

Mid lesson:

Did she tell me about an event or tell it like a story. Is it a summary or a story?

Make a mind movie. Then ask questions. Where was I? What happened next?

(Example p41)

Work with partner – is the story a summary or a step by step story? If its a summary start it over!


Look at each others writing. Find examples from our chart of good quality writing.

Lesson 5:

Writing sequences of events with chronology p48

Make a mind movie of the small moment. Tell the events in the order they happened.

Don't talk about the event, storytell the event

Go to the start of the memory

Make a mind movie: What happened first? Then next. Then after that.

Do an example with the whole group.


Practice with, for example, fire drill, or 'lining up for recess'. Tell the story to your partner. Use fingers to count the events, if you want.

Make sure your stories are sequential from now on. Blow by blow.

Mid lesson:

Use the Word wall to make sure high-frequency words are spelled accurately. Also use your personal dictionaries to check for basic spelling.



Share your story with a different partner.

Go back and spell check three entries

Lesson 6:

Choosing a seed idea. P60

Choose one entry to turn into a published piece – reread and find one that matters to us. Writing allows us to slow down and find treasure in the everyday.

Reread carefully -model think aloud to find the one that matters to me most.

Mid lesson:

Has everyone chosen the idea? Mark it with paperclip. Tell your story out long to a partner. Tell it to give partner goosebumps.

Tell your story again – to yourself this time. Story tell onto paper – drafting booklets -each piece of the story.


Read authors starts in the sort of writing you want to try. Retell your story to the partner as if it were a book in the library.

Writers should ask 'what do I want my readers to feel?'


Lesson 7:

Strong Leads. P70

Share a students story that has grown.

Writers improve leads by studying authors and applying techniques.

Demonstrate using a favorite start:

Focus on, for example in Ezra Jack Keats' story Peter's Chair:

Add to Qualities of good writing poster: Strong lead – settings, action, dialogue to create a mood.

Action, dialogue and thought tapestry!

Model piece of writing on the chosen lead – class demo.

Use Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe p73

Show setting in a way to create a mood.

Choose a student piece to read. Ask students to revise the lead out loud with partners using an action or setting.

Partners try drafting a lead for the story.


Mid lesson:

Quotation marks.


Share favorite leads.

 Story tell to partners the story.

Lesson 8: (Omit)

Discovery drafts p 84

After writers have crafted a lead many like to do the opposite a fast, long without stopping. This is a discovery draft. This is a technique to try – not everyone likes it but everyone has to try this shirt on!

Write without thinking about word choice or spelling – just keep going.

Reread lead. Touch each page and say the story for each page. Do this for the whole story.

Go back to the start, reread the lead. Pretend you are telling the story. Start writing. Write fast.

Mid lesson:

Reread when you lose energy. Read in special way – as if the story is a masterpiece. Don't fuss over details. When you get to the edge just carry on writing for dear life!


Getting a second wind strategy: Second strategy reread a part of the work you most proud of. Everyone find a phrase or sentence to share. Thumbs up when ready. Share whenever there is a chance.

Use this strategy when you need energy.

Lesson 9:

Craft the ending of the story. P94

Choose a mentor text to show how to make writing more powerful. Use Firefies by Julie Brinckloe again p95.

Focus on:

Make a strong ending. (Add to Qualities of good writing Poster) Important actions, dialogue, images and whole story reminders that make a lasting impression.


Reread drafts. Mark parts of the story that you think are especially important - where an important message is conveyed.

Reread drafts again. Mark important actions, words, images that could be woven into the final scene, final image.

No sharing today – go straight to writing. Draft an ending. If you reach the final page you're halfway home. Write more than one ending

Mid lesson:

Rereading through a stranger's eyes. Does the story make sense. Read story to a person who doesn't know it already. Where was it confusing? Sometimes you read to yourself as if you were the stranger!


Multiple endings: Share someone who wrote more than one. Eventually they will attempt to combine into the best one. Look for one that followed the endings rules.

Lesson 10:

Taking charge of your own writing p104

You have to decide what to do. Continue drafting or begin a second story.

Everyone will start a second story soon. After we have written two stories we will choose one to revise edit and publish.

Organizing writing – the writing chart p105 Hand out. Attach into writing folder.

Fill in chart for first piece of writing.

Mid lesson:

Solving your own problems; what to do next, do I like their work? Work independently.


Look for evidence of good writing in your work so far. Read a bullet point from Qualities of good writing poster. Find an example from your work. Thumbs up if you find examples.! Share examples for each line on poster.



Lesson 11:

Timelines p114

Strategy for developing a seed idea = timeline

Model a timeline for a story idea.

Practice making a timeline for a shared class activity.

Compare timelines.

Mid lesson:

Resetting the tone – make sure the atmosphere is still cool!


Using timelines to revise stories. Look at the categories on the timeline. Can any be crossed out as not important? Look back at your timelines and ask if each event is really important or not.

Lesson 12:

Timelines as story development tools p12

Strategy for developing a seed idea = zoom into one dot on a timeline and make a whole new timeline

Model a timeline made from a small part of another timeline.

Practice making a new timeline from a section of their own timelines.

Partners choose a dot from previous timeline then storytell/ zoom in so partner can make a movie in their mind. Make new timelines of the zoomed in actions.

Mid lesson:

Choosing a start place – I can start anywhere on the timeline not just the beginning – try it out.


Make goals and plans for writing to keep themselves on course. Reread with partners. Come up with goals for the next piece and future pieces.

Lesson 13:

Powerful Memories p136

Memories can be big (9/11) or small, but certain memories are seared in. We relive them in our writing. To write we need to relive the memory. Stay specific, detailed and true to the unfolding story.

Practice something important that happened to you yesterday. It can be small! How did it start? Where were you? What did you say? Thumbs up when you have one!

Quickly write that small moment down. Stay detailed, specific and true to story!


Add 'Relive the episode as you write it' to the Qualities of good writing Poster .

Mid lesson:

Paragraphing; ask about grouping ideas into chunks. Group ideas eg timeline dots. Each could be a paragraph.


Give out an example of text that needs to be paragraphed. Partners ask why does she need a paragraph. Write reason by choice. Put a box around the content that is related.

Writer's skills poster

Lesson 14:

Elaboration p148

Paragraphs that are short indicate need to elaborate. One or two sentences – zillions of tiny paragraphs = need to add extra words and sentences. You need to say more on the topic.

Take the example from yesterday. Partners try to see what element of good writing is mostly absent: small actions, settings, dialogue, thoughts? If there is a pattern there is an easy way to elaborate – add in the missing element. You can do this with your own work.

Find one or two examples and practice this today.

Mid lesson:

Answering reader's questions. Anticipate readers questions. Add the word 'because' to explain the point. By answering questions such as why when what who we make things clearer.


Share the elaborations. Add one or two examples where you answer readers potential questions.

Lesson 15:

Revising – adding to the heart of the story p158

Revising: when writing is poor – chuck it out. When it's good then revise!

Revising is not editing – it s finding and maybe adding to the heart of the story.

Find an example in the group and share!

Write a group story. Keep it wide open. Get the partnerships to find the heart of the story then think how to retell one more point in detail.

Choose which of the two stories is going to get revised, find the heart and add to that section.

Mid lesson:

Inserting paper into drafts. Add extra paper where you need it. Tape in extra sections.


Find an example of a student who added to the heart of their story and share.

Lesson 16:

Editing and checklists p170

Writers use editing checklists. If we have 6 items on checklist we need to reread 6 times editing each time for the item.

Hand out editing checklist for each student. Shared plus personalized items.

Shared items;

Work with partner and go over paragraphing and one more item off the list.

Mid lesson:

Share the work with a new partner. New editor looking for edits.


Share what they've done. Celebrate the end of the phase!

Hand in the drafts to me for 'copy editing'.

Lesson 17:

Final draft p179

Make final draft!

Lesson 18:

Celebration p180

Sharing, posting the work.

Celebrations and rewards!!