I think that writer’s workshops are very important. I also think that there are a variety of ways to implement writer’s workshops into the classroom and that writer’s workshops need to be implemented correctly or so much chaos could ensue.
First I want to talk a little bit about why I feel writer’s workshops are so important. I’m fairly certain that not everyone likes or will like them. And that’s OK. But hear me out before rushing towards an opinion. Writing is and of itself a very solitary activity. It’s possible to write in groups and whatnot but basically it’s the person writing, the paper, and the pen. It’s not a partying activity. But in writer’s workshops, you get to interact with people. You hear feedback and opinions and get a fresh perspective. You get to talk to people. It’s really kind of a big deal. Plus, your writing grows and develops and gets better because of everything you’re hearing.
So now that I’ve explained why I think writer’s workshops are so fabulous, I want to talk about how I think one should be run. This isn’t a time for absolute chaos or for a free for all or to just talk about anything. Writer’s workshops are about discussing writing, your writing, and how to make it better.
There are a couple of ways I think a writer’s workshop could be run. You the teacher can work individually with students while the rest of the class works independently. You can work individually with students and have the rest of the class work in partners or small groups. You can have the class work in pairs or small groups and you can float around the classroom. Any of these methods will work, depending on the makeup of your classroom, your own personal style, and the goal you are working towards.
Go forth and try something new. Maybe it’ll work and maybe it won’t. But at least you would have been bold and tried.