So, who has time to spend all night grading? Let’s be real here. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” This is how I do it that saves time. First of all, let me admit that above anything else I LOVE TEACHING WRITING. It’s one of the reasons I became an English teacher.
I have a special table in the front of my room that is just for teacher-student writing conferences when I don’t need it for students to sit during class.
I use ten minutes the night before to create a Google Doc that has several topics of varying difficulty and subject matter. We have been working on argumentative writing, and I have really been trying to incorporate current events.
Students usually listen to music which helps them concentrate while they write in my class. Sometimes we all listen to the same music, but I do get tired of the Michael Jackson requests. Sometimes we write collaboratively and sometimes we practice independence.
During class, I have to be fully present. I walk around and help individual students as they are starting out. I coach. Then I provide less and less coaching as they become more independent. The last part of class I usually use my iPad or computer to comment about on their writing and encourage them.
The next day, I call each student up to my special table, my “Differentiation Station,” and we conference about their writing. Sometimes I have them read it aloud to me because that helps students learn to read with an editing ear and self-assess. While I conference, I am correcting and giving feedback. I can repeat this process as much as needed, but each cycle always takes at least two class days, but only ten minutes of prep for a busy teacher!
Do you have ten minutes to make a great writing task? Spice those writing workshop conferences up with a positive classroom environment! Jam to some music! Pause once a block for a sing-a-long. Is that Adele I hear? Hello? It’s important that we create this type of environment students want to be!