Finding Time for Writers' Workshop

Let’s take a closer look. I’ve been able to help educators find 20 or more minutes in their literacy block with a small shift in mindset, and a couple simple tweaks in routines.

Mindset:  Try replacing “I don’t have time for ___” with “___ is just not a priority for me.” 

Let’s take mental health, for example.  “I don’t have time to teach mental health to my students.”  vs. “Teaching mental health to my students is just not a priority for me.” How does that feel?

 Looking at our routines: If you are willing to take a look at your existing routings, programs and learning blocks with a critical lens – without judgement – to find some extra minutes, it can make all the difference to your program, your students, and you! 

Entry Routines: What is happening at the very beginning of your day?  What are students doing? What are you doing? Is that the most efficient and effective use of that time?  Maybe it is.  Maybe your students are in the classroom lickety split.  Maybe they’re working diligently on a task or choice activity that benefits their learning, and warms their little brains up for the day ahead.  If not, if they’re lolly-gagging at their lockers, dragging their heels and bodies into the classroom, and/or hanging off of you recounting, in excruciating detail, every little moment that has gone by since you released them to their parents not 18 hrs ago (19 by the time they finish their story), then maybe it’s time to rethink and revisit those entry routines.   

Here are some of the things that were happening in my own classroom that were eating into the time I could have been spending on Writers’ Workshop.

– Agenda messages (student copying a message from the whiteboard into their agendas) – sometimes upwards of 30 mins