Tomorrow I'm supposed to give a little workshop to my new department about the way I do my writing workshops. So, I'm going to practice on you!
1. Free writing
We start off (nearly) every day in my classroom free writing for about ten minutes. I try to give one prompt related to the content, one prompt related to pop culture, and a free write option. This year, we're writing about poems every day in twelfth grade, and I'm really excited about that!
2. Choose a topic (or genre)
Students can choose a free write to expand into an essay. If you need them to focus on a particular type of writing, assign free writes that can lead to persuasive writing or what have you. Or, skip step one and just assign the genre.
3. Rough draft
Students write. At my previous school, I was pretty adamant about handwriting. Since everyone has access to technology here, I'm thinking about relaxing that requirement this year and allowing students to keep all their rough drafts on an access-restricted blog.
4. Peer Editing
Teachers don't read the rough draft. It's a place for students to work out kinks and think about the revision process. Students switch papers and fill out a TAG sheet. The TAG sheet guides peer editors to Tell something you like, Ask questions, Give advice. Once the student gets his or her paper and TAG sheet back, there's a section for the writer to make a plan. Students write three goals for their second drafts.
5. Revision Rubric
After making their goals, students create revision rubrics. They identify three (or more!) areas where they can improve (examples include conclusion, word choice, and conventions). They use their goals created on their TAG sheets to identify the areas. They then assign each area its own color using colored pencils.
6. Second Draft
Students write a second draft keeping their goals in mind. These drafts should be typed. Once they're printed, students underline the areas where they think they've met their goals. This draft, the rubric, the TAG sheet, and the rough draft are turned in. Teachers should read this packet and comment on growth -- if you need a grade here, it's for completion to show students they've been successful in growing. If you think they haven't grown, that's a completion issue that needs to be addressed before they turn in a third draft.
7. Third Draft and Reflection
Taking into account teacher comments, students write a third draft. They turn these drafts in along with a paragraph explaining how their writing has changed over the course of the project.
This workshop allows students to see writing as a process and not as something that needs to be perfect the first (or second or third) time. Lower- and higher-proficiency students benefit from understanding the process when they have to do it much more condensed forms. Also, this way seems to make writing a little less stressful -- and maybe even a little fun!
A note about hats: I appreciate everyone's feedback about the hat situation. I have a follow up post coming about it taking what y'all said into account; I promise!