Juggle Reader & Writer Workshops in 50 Minutes

Posted on September 22, 2015

Juggle Reader & Writer Workshops in 50 Minutes

FAQ: How do you teach both reading and writing in just 50 minutes?

Juggling Reader & Writer Workshops in 50 Minutes

ANSWER: For the ELA teacher who is departmentalized and teaching both reading and writing in a short 50-minute period, scheduling can be a serious juggling act.

Ideally, teachers should instruct on reading and writing every single day. However, this often causes more frustration. Picture it--You start class opening a text and recapping where you left off. Students then read a page or two further, and it's time to switch to writing. A short writing lesson later, students generate a couple of sentences before the bell rings. With only about 25 minutes for each, you rarely immerse students in a reader's or writer's workshop.

Rather than attempting to hold both workshops each day, consider three days of reading and two days of writing. Schedule reader's workshop on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. Hold a writer's workshop on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

In addition, create continuity by tying the reading with the writing. For example, the 6-Traits writing lessons could be based on similar skills authors execute in the texts you're reading. Or, teach lessons to improve their writing-about-reading skills before they generate their next literature response. Continue this schedule until the semester ends.

Flip the schedule for second semester. Plan for writer's workshop on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, and hold reader's workshop on Wednesday and Thursday. By holding the same workshop on Friday, you bridge the weekend and tie the instruction from Friday into Monday and Tuesday. Otherwise, there is a 5-day gap before returning to it.

Although the main focus each day is on a reader's or writer's workshop, kick off instruction each day with a 5-minute bell ringer targeting the opposite workshop. On the days scheduled for reader's workshop, plan a writing bell ringer. And, on the writer's workshop days, provide a reading bell ringer. This ensures you're building readers and writers every single day.