I am excited to share this revised version of a Writer's Workshop component that turned out to be a MAJOR contributing factor to the success of Writer's Workshop in my first grade classroom!
This product includes a 5 page "questionnaire" to be completed collaboratively by your students and a family member, then returned to class to be a part of his or her writing folder. The questionnaire is a sort of "All about Me" with spaces for family members, friends, places visited, favorite indoor play,favorite outdoor play, favorite animals,etc.A parent letter is included explaining that the child should dictate (or make a major oral contribution) as the parent records information for the questionnaire. The parent, of course,is encouraged to remind his or her child about "the time you and grandma made cookies that were as hard as a rock!" or "the disappointing day when it rained and the neighborhood bike parade was cancelled". The parent letter also includes other tips (no cursive!) about completing the questionnaire, but, of course, if you prefer to write your own letter to fit the needs of your classroom I encourage you to do so.
The questionnaire becomes a "brainstorming topics" component of the writing folder and will be a tremendous help to you as you hold mini-conferences and/or circulate while your students are actively writing about self-selected topics. Because we don't know our students well at the beginning of the year, it's tough to facilitate individual writing topics. With the questionnaire, the teacher takes a peak and uses the information to ask questions that activate prior knowledge. For instance, "Kristie, you know I have a schnauzer named Fritz I love. I wonder if he'd make a good playmate for your dog, Scout...How big is he? Is he friendly around other dogs? How about a story about your dog..."Students with "writer's block" suddenly generate some enthusiastic dialogue which is then used as a springboard for writing. Later in the year, as your students become better readers, they can access the ideas themselves by referring to the questionnaire.
Thanks for taking an interest in my Writer's Workshop letter-I hope you find it to be a valuable tool in your classroom. Please leave feedback, as I value the comments I receive from my colleagues as I continue to create TpT products!
Thank you to Mycutegraphics.com for the cover graphics!
Writer's Workshop Topics/Ideas Graphic Organizer & Parent Letter
by Amy Bratsos
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License