Writing Sundays #1 {First in a series of Writer's Workshop Sessions}

I'm excited to begin our Writing lessons for the year and especially to share the process with you!   It is the time of day I enjoy the most because writing is such a personal thing and I love to empower the children with the knowledge that they can express themselves in written form. I hope you will join me each Sunday for the next chapter in the Writer's Workshop Series. I will be sharing my lessons and processes, my ups and my downs in the teaching of writing.  I will highlight the writing resources I use and will have plenty of freebies that you can grab and use in your classroom Monday morning. I'd love to hear your thoughts on writing and how you do things.  If you have any questions - ask away and I will try to answer them either in the comments or in a blog post.  Thanks friends!

I started blogging in April and at that time, my students were fully versed in the writing process and the socialization of writing.  Right now, I have a new group of really sweet second graders that will begin Writer's Workshop with me and I am going to share that new learning and exploration with you.

My writing program consists first and foremost of building of community and trust.  Writing is not just the act of putting pencil to paper. It can be a very vulnerable activity and students need to feel like their ideas are personal and valid but that they can also share these ideas with others and build off of these ideas.

Last week, my students listened intently when I told them that we would be starting Writer's Workshop and that it all begins with knowing yourself.  We talked about the difference between a Mindful Journal and a Journal.  In a mindful journal, students write about specific topics that help us to become better citizens.  I told them that one example would be kindness.  Mindful journals let you think about WHY we act and do things that make a difference to ourselves and to others.  We all took out our exercise books and glued on our cover page.  We decorated it with things that are meaningful to us.  We specifically used just a regular exercise book because it will be our Writer's Notebook that we will design in a more fancy way.

We also started our Mindup Program so we had a chance to practice taking brain breaks and discussing how we will start learning how to be mindful of ourselves and others. Click here for a blog post on mindfulness.

Last week's first topic was "First Days of School".  Our topics usually start with a mini-lesson discussion so that everyone has something to write about.

While this student is not a typical example of a student perhaps, it is clear that she really gets mindfulness and is excited to be kind and learn more.  I loved how she wrote that she is happy to be a child.  When I asked her why, she said because she "gets to be in school and learn all this stuff".  So cute.

Our criteria for our journal writing is based on best writing practices and CCSS.  If you would like a free copy of the Journal Cover Page and criteria page, click HERE. The Mindful Journal and just regular journal is included.

My classroom is ready for writing.  If you'd like to see my writing center, I have posted a Classroom Tour.  Many of the ideas for setting up a Writer's Workshop classroom environment have been compiled into this  Ultimate Writer's Workshop Binder and it is full of printables to help you along.

Next week, we will be continuing our preparations for Writing by creating Writer's Workshop binders.


"You have the WriteStuff ~ Believe!"


  1. Shelley, what a wonderful post! It is so interesting to see into other teacher's classrooms. I love this! I love the Mindful Journals.
    Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together

    1. Thank you so much Carolyn!
      I love seeing inside other teacher's rooms too. We have such a solo profession. It is nice to feel we are all supporting each other and we are a global team.

  2. When I started my WW last week with my 4th graders, I shared many entries from my own Writer's Notebook to share what I expected and how important it is that we respect each other's thoughts. My students were so excited to see my own writing and so thoughtful with their comments it almost made me cry.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

    1. Oh Jennifer,

      That is a good point! I often will share mine or my daughters' ( with permission of course) from when they were young. I like to tell the students during interactive writing time that it's like I'm sharing my Writer's Notebook with them only it's bigger!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your writing experiences. It will be fun to read about your journey.


    1. Thanks Em!

      I love the name of your blog!


  4. This is great Shelley. We did our first journal entries last week and we discussed the criteria and how to set up our pages. I had a sample on the whiteboard for them to follow. I like your criteria page that goes inside the journal. Thanks for sharing.

    Charlene/Diamond Mom

  5. I just love journals, don't you Charlene? It's like a little glimpse into their thoughts from such a young perspective.

    :) Shelley

  6. Looking forward to following along:)


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