Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Building a Community of Writers

Prepare for the Workshop

To prepare for this workshop, you will review the strategies you already use and read two articles about establishing and building classroom writing communities.


What Do You Do?

Writing communities are built around a set of shared values about writing and the work that writers do. Writing communities must also develop a set of shared values about how the community works. Think about your values and opinions about communities and writing. Answer the following questions in your notebook. Then reflect on your answers in terms of your own practice in teaching writing.

  • What are the characteristics of a successful community?
  • Describe the characteristics of the communities you currently belong to.
  • What are some of the structures, rituals, and routines that are present in successful writing communities?
  • What is good writing?
  • What do writers do?
  • Do you think it is necessary for teachers to be good writers? Why or why not?
  • Do you currently share your writing with your students? Why or why not?
  • How do you think it can help your students to see you struggle with and solve your own problems as a writer?

Examine the Literature

Print out the Examine the Literature Response Chart (PDF). Then read the article listed below, recording your ideas on the chart during and after reading. When you have finished, save your chart to submit as an assignment.

About Writing: A Letter to Stacie (PDF)
This article illustrates how using a letter format and the tender tone of a grandmother can provide a "big picture" look at a good writing workshop.

Dressel, Janice Hartwick. "About Writing: A Letter to Stacie." Language Arts (National Council of Teachers of English) 82, no. 2 (November 2004): 95-99. Copyright 2004 by the National Council of Teachers of English (www.ncte.org). Used with permission.

Children Can Write Authentically If We Help Them (PDF)
This article explores how to help students connect writing choices with personal challenges and issues.

Graves, Donald. "Children Can Write Authentically If We Help Them." Primary Voices K-6 (National Council of Teachers of English) 1, no. 1 (August 1993): 3-6. Copyright 1993 by the National Council of Teachers of English (www.ncte.org). Used with permission.

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