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Authors in the Making

By: First Grade Teachers Julie Smith and Arika White

October 15, 2019

First-grade teachers are in our third year of Lucy Calkins Writer’s Workshop implementation. The curriculum is research-based and used in classrooms across the globe. Our units of study focus on narrative, opinion, and informational writing. This program helps to develop a life-long love of writing and equips each author with the tools and independence needed to create books of all varieties.

blog_writing3.jpgDuring a unit, students are guided through the writing process. They begin by brainstorming an idea, planning their piece, writing, illustrating, revising and finally, publishing.

Writer’s Workshop is a great way to encourage structured and supported independent work time. Throughout this process, small mini-lessons are used to introduce new skills and build on previously taught lessons. Mini-lessons engage students in specific and applicable skills.

During independent work time, teachers are able to meet one-on-one or in small groups, addressing specific needs as they arise. Where Poems Hide: Finding Reflective, Critical Spaces Inside Writing Workshop by Amy Seely Flint and Tasha Tropp Laman states, “Teacher’s noticed a shift in classroom dynamics, as well as in children’s literacy learning. Not only were children more engaged in writing, the teachers commented that they knew their students better than ever before.” This precious one-on-one conference time is not only helpful for students, but educators are able to see how each writer is progressing, plan upcoming mini-lessons, and reinforce previously taught skills.blog_writing2.jpg

The last ten to fifteen minutes of each workshop is reserved for students to share with the class. First- grade writers jump at the opportunity to sit in the “author’s chair” and share their creative books. Since implementation, we have noticed an increase in student engagement, stamina, and an intrinsic love of writing. Teachers can help children be successful writers by building a foundation of writing skills, consistent conferring, and discussion, letting students write about their interests and providing a platform for celebration.


Parents also play a vital role in building a love of writing. Below are a few ways to encourage your young authors at home!

-Have your child pick out a diary or journal

-Write down special family memories or stories

-Take a travel journal on family trips

-Create a writing station in your child’s room or in the home with colorful paper, markers, scissors, etc.

-Celebrate written work by sharing it with family and friends and posting it around the house

-Dictate stories or let your child use a computer to type

-Learn more about topics your child likes (dinosaurs, ballet, soccer, gardening, etc.)

-Play games that encourage writing

-Create fun story prompts

-Write with your child!


Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in Creve Coeur, is an independent private preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills.​ Request a free Rossman School brochure here.

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