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Getting Started With Writing Workshop: Grades K–6
Writing workshop can be an invigorating, creative, empowering opportunity to encourage students to become confident, capable writers! Unlike some instructional writing approaches, writing workshop for elementary students involves different forms of active participation from everyone in the classroom to be a success! Read on to learn about the principles and practices of writing workshop.
Just starting out? Ready to establish a writing workshop in your classroom? Looking for ways to reenergize your current workshop approach?
What Is Writing Workshop? is a great place to find basics around structure and pedagogy and learn what a successful writing classroom looks and sounds like.
Building Your Workshop Classroom can help you maximize your physical space to embrace the basics for writing workshop success. Resources include tips for teaching writing workshop remotely or in a hybrid setting.
Establishing Your K–6 Writing Community Through Workshop addresses the importance of fostering a sense of shared respect in your writing workshop classroom. Links to powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) resources can help you create a community where all voices are heard and every opinion is welcome.
What Is Writing Workshop?
Writing workshop is built on a student-centered framework of explicit instruction, independent writing time, and opportunities for teachers and students to reflect on their writing journey into different genres and forms. Although curricula differ on daily execution, there are a few common elements to all writing workshop programs.
- Three-part lesson plan
- Sample texts for modeling/inspiration
- Lots of time for writing and rewriting!
Are You Ready to Try Writing Workshop?
As with any curriculum, there are some things to consider when implementing writing workshop. What questions should you ask to get the most out of writing workshop experience?
Top 5 Questions Around Writing Workshop
What is the research behind writing workshop? Are there proven benefits of using a writing workshop approach for elementary students?
How does writing workshop differ from other approaches to writing instruction?
How much time does writing workshop take each day?
What are mentor texts, craft moves, and minilessons?
Why do teachers need to write in writing workshop and how do I get started?
Hear thought leaders address these common questions around writing workshop and more in the resources below!
Learn about writing workshop—what it is, the parts of a lesson, and the minilesson structure—and compare it to other types of traditional writing instruction.
What IS Writing Workshop?
Compare characteristics of traditional writing instruction vs. a writing workshop approach using this side-by-side chart.
Why Writing Workshops Work
This historical look at the research behind writing workshop highlights how this approach instills a sense of confidence in young writers.
Building Your Elementary Workshop Classroom
The organization of your classroom plays an important role in setting your writing workshop up for success. An effective writing workshop session should last anywhere from 35–60 minutes—a sizable part of your daily instruction—so it’s worth the effort to create an environment that is conducive to writing! To create an atmosphere of engagement, creativity, and motivation for your writing workshop, embrace a bit of flexibility when it comes to where students choose to do their work. Think how comfort aids concentration and can help to build stamina for students’ extended writing work.
Get Physical: 5 Tips for Building a Successful Writing Workshop Space
Stake out a meeting area for mini-lesson instruction at the beginning of each lesson and sharing/reflecting at the end.
Carve out some comfy spots for individual student brainstorming, journaling, and writing.
Establish shared spaces for peer review and peer conferencing.
Designate tables as collaborative spots for small-group work.
Set up stations for housing sample texts, anchor charts or rubrics, and mentor texts.
Spaces for Conferring in K–6 Writing Workshop Classrooms
A successful writing workshop also includes a certain amount of friendly nudging in the form of conferring. As a teacher and key confer-er, consider what works best for you!
- Do you prefer to have students come to your desk (or an established space) for 1:1 discussion?
- Would you rather move around the classroom to “drop in” on students to provide feedback?
Once you’ve identified an approach and/or space, stick with it. Students benefit from clear expectations and routines; having established locations for specific parts of the daily lesson can be reassuring. See Conferences and Conferring During Writing Workshop for specific resources around conferences. You can generate positive expectations, routines, and relationships around writing workshop even if you’re not in the same physical space as your students. Check out tips for conducting writing workshop in remote and hybrid settings below.
The “Write” Environment
Discover how to foster engagement, creativity, and motivation with your writing workshop class—and successfully adapt to any setting.
Flexible Learning Teaching Tips
Download tips for teaching writing workshop online or in a hybrid setting based on the Jump Into Writing! workshop curriculum for grades 2–5.
Remote Learning Tips for Jump Into Writing!
Tips for implementing a remote or hybrid writing workshop three-part lesson—planning, preparing, and teaching—from Jump Into Writing!
Getting to Know Kids in Virtual/Hybrid Settings
Back-to-school ideas and suggestions for establishing a strong class culture whether you are learning in person or virtually.
Establishing Your Writing Community Through Workshop
In addition to configuring physical spaces for writing, conferring, and group work, you need to establish a sense of community for your students to feel comfortable during writing workshop. Key areas for student participation in writing workshop:
- Expressing thoughts
- Sharing writing pieces
- Providing feedback
The basic nature of a writing workshop classroom requires that students and teachers interact in ways that are mindful of self-awareness, social responsibility, and decision making. When you establish a writing workshop in your classroom, you can prepare your students not only to be better communicators but also better classmates!
SEL and Writing Workshop
Using techniques grounded in social-emotional learning (SEL) in your writing workshop classroom is a great way to incorporate mindfulness and build positive expectations and experiences. The assets below provide thoughtful, actionable tips for applying SEL to writing workshop. Resources include a look at how SEL is integral to the design of Jump Into Writing! —Zaner-Bloser’s writing workshop curriculum for grades 2–5.
Building a Community of Writers
Learn about the importance of building and sustaining a successful community of writers, with a special emphasis on social-emotional learning.
CASEL Social-Emotional Learning
At-a-glance representation of how the five tenets of SEL fit within classrooms, schools, homes, and communities. (Adapted from CASEL)
SEL in Jump Into Writing!
Examine how one writing workshop curriculum incorporates CASEL’s five SEL competencies throughout the program and across all grade levels.
How Do You Create a Community of Writers?
Hear what it means and what it takes to establish a writing community in your classroom.
Engage With Us
Would you like to share your thoughts on writing workshop? We’d love to hear from you!
- Suggestions for resources to include or cite
- Topics you’d like to see covered
- Ideas for upcoming writing workshop webinars
Interested in learning more about Jump Into Writing! writing workshop curriculum for grades 2–5?
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- F.A.Q.s & Support
Writer’s Workshop Curriculum Guide
Layers of Learning’s Writer’s Workshop isn’t just a curriculum; it’s a mindset. It’s a lifestyle that will change writing from a chore to a joy as your whole family grows as writers together, family-school style.
To get you started on the right foot in this new mindset, we invite you to read the Writer’s Workshop Guidebook . It is written specifically for the parent or writing mentor. It will give you a clear picture of what Writer’s Workshop looks like and set you up for success.
After many, many years of teaching writing in this style, we share our best tips and an overall picture of what has worked well in our homeschools and co-ops, as well as provide detailed instructions for setting up a Writer’s Workshop and getting started with the units successfully.
Nine Genre Units In One Reusable Program
The Writer’s Workshop program is divided into units based on different genres of writing including poetry, fanciful stories, report & essays, and so on.
Writer’s Workshop is sold two ways: as individual PDF units and as a single volume that includes all nine of the units.
Each genre unit is intended to last for about a month in your homeschool. You will pick and choose the parts you want to do, then be able to reuse it in subsequent years by choosing other exercises and writing projects from the same genre. Each unit can be used again and again in your family.
You can buy the entire program in one volume. Choose between a digital PDF download or a printed paperback version –>
Or Buy the Units One by One
Each unit included in the Writer’s Workshop program can also be purchased individually as PDFs. Here is what is included:
Writer’s Workshop Jump Start
We recommend using this at the beginning of each school year. It’s full of short writing exercises that are meant to spur on ideas and get kids in a creative, thoughtful groove. It also teaches the writing process and helps writers get settled into their Writer’s Notebooks.
Sentences, Paragraphs, & Narrations
This unit will get writers off on the right foot to crafting strong sentences and organized paragraphs. All of the content in it can be directly applied to what you’re learning about in other school subjects, so if you’ve been hoping to create greater unity between writing instruction and history, geography, science, and art, this is a great place to start. Along with learning how to write narrations, kids will learn how to write for tests.
Descriptions & Instructions
In this unit, you’ll get into the meat of what makes writing powerfully captivating. By using exact language, strong verbs, and sprinkling in figurative language, young writers will be able to capture interest in new ways. In addition, they will practice writing with precision.
Fairy tales, superhero stories, fables, tall tales, and every other imaginary story falls into this really fun unit. Besides learning the structure and elements of a story, writers will also focus on surprising the audience and weaving in a theme, all through the lens of fiction.
Together, you will read and write poetry and play with words. Both formula poems and free verse will accompany your study of poetry terms, vivid language, and painting a picture with words.
The flipside to Fanciful Stories, in True Stories you’ll learn biographies, autobiographies, articles, and personal narratives, You’ll also create an All About Me book and learn to journal about your life more effectively.
Reports & Essays
This unit will sharpen your skills as a serious writer. You will both research and share your own ideas as you learn to share the true things you know about. You’ll explore everything from animal reports to the ever-valuable five-paragraph essay and master what it takes to share true information in an organized way.
The Letter genre actually covers a lot more than just friendly letters. You’ll learn how to write and send e-mail, create a resume, fill out forms, and write a letter to the editor, among other valuable correspondence skills.
The art of persuasion will be practiced through lots of forms in this unit, from convincing your parents to let you stay up late to writing a full-blown persuasive essay. You’ll learn the tricks to writing in a convincing, memorable way.
The Research Paper unit is the only one that is written specifically for teens. This step-by-step guide will teach teens how to write a full-blown research paper, one bit at a time.
Research Paper is sold only as a PDF and is not included in the single volume Writer’s Workshop.
Inside Each Unit
Within each unit , you will find exercises – short writing assignments that help you develop specific writing skills. None of the exercises will be graded. They are practice. Most of these will be kept within a Journal that is personal to each writer. Creativity and freedom of expression are hallmarks of a successful Writer’s Workshop.
Accompanying the exercises, there are sidebars within each unit that share mini-lessons, short daily lessons to help teach grammar, punctuation, the writing process, genre skills, and more. Mentors are also encouraged to be an active member of the Writer’s Workshop, noticing skills that need to be taught and tailoring the program to help growing writers. In addition, within the Layers of Learning catalog , you can click on the unit you are using and have access to more links, the unit’s YouTube playlist, and the continually-growing Writer’s Workshop Pinterest board.
Project Ideas Banks
During the course of each unit , one project will be chosen and the writer will take that one piece all of the way through the writing process – prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Every unit includes idea banks to spur on ideas and keep pens to paper. The monthly project will be the only graded writing, and its evaluation includes a rubric that addresses specific skills learned within the unit.
Every single Writer’s Workshop unit also includes a printable pack full of printables used within the exercises and mini-lessons, as well as printable idea banks and rubrics.
Word Work is a spelling and vocabulary program for 6 years old to 18 years old. It is also a constant companion to all of the other units.
Word Work includes:
- spelling lists
- vocabulary lists
- spelling activity ideas
- worksheets to use with any spelling list
It is sold only as a digital PDF download.
You will begin each day with a short session of mastering words, including both spelling and vocabulary.
Word Work allows kids to master the words that will be their medium for sharing the ideas they have.
The Goal of Writer’s Workshop
Writing in our homeschool happens in short bursts throughout our day. We use it to show what we know and add our own ideas and contributions to the world’s body of knowledge. Writing is empowering! Rather than getting caught up in mechanics and mundane exercises, we focus on ideas first. We use writing to communicate, to share a part of ourselves and our ideas.
Process Over Product
As we write, we focus on the process, not just the product. Writer’s Workshop Jump Start will help kids practice the writing process, which they will continue to use as they write.
Just to be clear, these steps don’t all happen in a day, and sometimes they don’t all happen in a week. I teach mini-lessons just about every day. We write in our writer’s notebooks until we have something we want to turn into more. Sometimes this happens spontaneously (like my son’s series of Super Monkey books about a superhero monkey who saves the world from a variety of evil-doers). Sometimes it happens because I assign something; “Okay young authors, your biography is due on Friday. . . no more dawdling!”)
The kids write, wherever they are at in the process, until we are ready to move on to something else. Then they just put it away and pick up where they left off the next day.
Some Quick Tips
Open creativity is awesome, but we’re also believers in providing clear direction. There’s nothing worse than being told to write anything at all when no ideas seem to come. Some kids will come up with their own ideas, but you should also have assignments, story starters, fun ideas, and specific directions on hand for those writers who don’t come up with topics and ideas well on their own. The Writer’s Workshop units are a go-to source of inspiration for those tidbits of fun.
The physical act of writing can be quite a chore for some kids. Don’t take the burden away entirely, because the way they will build writing endurance is by writing. At the same time, you can lighten the burden. For example, taking a story all the way through the writing process can involve three or more re-writes. Have kids do it once, but then you can pitch in and type up the story. With little ones, you may even do some of their writing on the first draft to help them get their ideas down, but don’t ever take over and do all the writing if you want them to grow as writers.
Pre-writing is an important first step in the writing process. Talking about ideas, drawing a picture, creating a character sketch, or making a web or outline can make an overwhelming assignment manageable. A fun pre-writing activity is a great mini-lesson with each new genre you start .
Intersperse writing assignments with authentic writing experiences. Kids can write to grandparents, penpals, people in the community, companies, authors, and politicians. They can write shopping lists and to-do lists, or send e-mail . Consider submitting essays to essay contests, writing online book reviews, or keeping a family scrapbook.
Every day is different and variety is key. Sometimes we’re quietly writing at desks. Sometimes we’re outside listing as many things as we can see in our yard together. You may find me typing up a story with a kid at my side as we talk about how to make the writing better. You may see us all sitting together writing a collective story, with Mom as the scribe . Sometimes we’re reading silly poems together. We could be playing a game about nouns or watching Grammar Rock videos. We’re always reading, writing, and talking about writing. In the messy process (and about an hour a day), we become better writers by doing Writer’s Workshop.
We Hope You’ll Join Us!
We write all throughout our day, whether we’re writing what we learned about an artist, explaining a math concept in a journal entry, writing up an experiment, or creating a passage in our world explorer journals. Our Writer’s Workshop gives us the flexibility to write about anything we have big ideas about. As we master the writing process and learn how to be better writers, we get to use those skills to better share the ideas we have. Through Writer’s Workshop, we grow! We hope you’ll join us in creating a Writer’s Workshop in your homeschool. We can’t wait to see the ways you grow too!
Writer’s Workshop in a Podcast
Want to hear Karen and Michelle chat about Writer’s Workshop? Listen in on their Writer’s Workshop podcast episode . Michelle picked Karen’s brain a bit about how Writer’s Workshop came about and what it looks like in her homeschool.
16 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop Curriculum Guide”
Excellent job Layers of Learning. These ideas will work wonderfully with my Deaf students. Writing is a major challenge for them but these strategies and fun activities are just what they need. Thanks.
How can I get access to this guide?
You’ll find the complete Guidebook in the Writer’s Workshop section of the Layers of Learning catalog. https://layers-of-learning.com/shop/writers-workshop/digital-pdf/guidebook-how-to-create-a-writers-workshop/
is there a plan to put out curriculum guides for the other genres?
Yes! The other guides will be coming out over the next year.
My children have never had formal Grammer. Do you suggest a Grammer supplement for my oldest, a 6/7th grader? Something that starts from the beginning but will get her up to speed.
Maranda, You don’t necessarily have to do formal grammar. Writer’s Workshop style is to teach “mini lessons” which include grammar and writing skills. The mini lessons are tailored by you to what your children need to learn. There are sidebars with lesson ideas all through the Writer’s Workshop program. But if you are feeling unsure about grammar rules yourself and unable to spot where and how corrections need to be made in your children’s work, then we recommend purchasing a simple inexpensive grammar workbook and going through it as a family, not necessarily doing the whole workbook, but using it as the “mini lessons” until you all feel up to speed. Something like English & Grammar 6 would be appropriate for the whole family to work on together.
Hi, my son is in second grade and I’m looking for a writing program for him and this looks great! Do I also need a separate Language Arts curriculum? Also, is this all meant to be done in one year? Or how do I go about pacing it? Thanks!
You don’t need a separate Langauge Arts curriculum. You will want to track what he’s reading, but this includes the writing, grammar, and spelling (if you use the Word Work component). Each unit is intended to be used for a month of instruction, so you’ll purchase one unit per month. There is a lot more there than you will have time to do within the month, but it is intended to be used again the following year, with you choosing new exercises the next time around. Hope that helps!
How does she Writer’s workshop compare to Brave Writer?
Personally, we have not used Brave Writer, but this would be a great question to ask within the Layers of Learning Facebook Group. There are a number of families there who have used both. From their descriptions, the lifestyle is the same, but the process is different. Writer’s Workshop has more specific prompts and daily writing suggestions to help kids get creative juices flowing.
Thank you for your reply !
Is there a version of this for high school-aged kids? If not what would you recommend?
There are activities included in Writer’s Workshop for high schoolers. You’ll find a variety of things for all ages in every single unit. One unit, The Research Paper, is specifically for high school-aged kids.
I am homeschooling gr1, 3,5,6. Will this work across the grade? I need only one resource for the whole family or are there consumables I need to buy for each child??
Writer’s Workshop is for your whole family. You will find ideas and resources in there for kids ages 6-18. It comes with a Printable Pack that includes the consumable printables. You will need to print them as needed for your kids, but you only need to purchase one Writer’s Workshop and can print as many as you need for your family.
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What Is Writing Workshop?
An essential part of the responsive classroom.
If you’re new to teaching writing, you may have heard discussion about writing workshop but not be entirely sure about what it is or how to use it in your classroom. WeAreTeachers is here with the answer.
What is writing workshop?
Writing workshop is a student-centered framework for teaching writing that is based on the idea that students learn to write best when they write frequently, for extended periods of time, on topics of their own choosing.
To develop skills as a writer, students need three things: ownership of their own writing, guidance from an experienced writer, and support from a community of fellow learners. The writing workshop framework meets these needs and streamlines instruction in order to meet the most important objective: giving kids time to write. The workshop setting supports children in taking their writing seriously and viewing themselves as writers.
The four main components of writing workshop are the mini-lesson, status of the class, writing/conferring time, and sharing. There is not a prescribed time limit for each component, rather they are meant to be flexible and determined by students’ needs on any given day.
1. Mini-lesson (5 – 15 minutes)
This is the teacher-directed portion of writing workshop. Mini-lessons should be assessment-based, explicit instruction. They should be brief and focused on a single, narrowly defined topic that all writers can implement regardless of skill level. According to writing guru Lucy Calkins , mini-lessons are a time to “gather the whole class in the meeting area to raise a concern, explore an issue, model a technique, or reinforce a strategy.”
Sources for mini-lessons can come from many places. Many teachers follow the scope and sequence of a prepared curriculum or use the state or national standards as a guide. Ideally, topics for mini-lessons come from your observations as you conference with your students and become aware of their needs.
The four parts of a mini-lesson:
- Connection (activating students’ prior knowledge)
- Teaching (presentation of the actual skill or topic)
- Active engagement (giving students time for supported practice of the skill)
- Link (helping students figure out how the topic pertains to their individual writing piece).
For a helpful description of the mini-lesson process, read Writing Workshop Fundamentals by Two Writing Teachers.
2. Status update (3 – 5 minutes)
Meant to be a quick check-in, status update is a way to find out where your students are in the writing process— pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, evaluating, or publishing.
Status of the class doesn’t have to happen every day and it needn’t take up much class time. It can be a quick verbal check-in or “whip” around the classroom. Or you may want to use a clip chart, notebook, or a magnet chart.
SOURCE: Polka Dots and Pencils
Another great idea is to use a pocket chart. Students show which step they are on by putting the appropriately colored card in their pocket.
SOURCE: Teaching My Friends
Status update lets you as the teacher evaluate how your students are progressing. It also creates accountability for the students and motivates your community of learners.
3. Writing (20 – 45 minutes)
The majority of writing workshop is devoted to simply giving students time to write. During this time, teachers can either be modeling the process by working on their own writing or conferencing with individual students. In all reality, the majority of your time will be observing and helping students. A good goal during a typical week of writing workshop is to aim to work individually with every student in the class at least once.
Remember, the main priority of conferencing is to listen, not to talk. But to prompt your students to share their progress with you, here are a few questions to ask from Teaching That Makes Sense .
Once your students get the hang of what a helpful conference looks and feels like, they can use peer conferencing to help one another.
4. Sharing (5–15 minutes)
It can be tempting, when time is running short, to skip this last element of writing workshop, but don’t! It can be the most instructionally valuable part of the class, other than the writing time itself. When students grow comfortable seeing themselves as part of a writing community, they are willing to take more risks and dive deeper into the process. In addition, kids often get their best ideas and are most influenced by one another.
Some tips to keep sharing time manageable:
- For whole-class sharing, keep a running list of who has shared and when, and h ave students share only a portion of their writing—maybe what they consider their best work, or a part they need help with.
- Let students share in pairs—one reads aloud and one listens.
- Have students swap work and read silently to themselves.
At first the concept of writing workshop may seem overwhelming. But once you establish your routine, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to implement. Because writing workshop gives students so much time to write, their writing skills will improve dramatically. And hopefully, being part of such a dynamic writing community will instill in your students a lifelong love for writing.
Got any hot tips for using writing workshop in your classroom? We’d love to hear about them in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, check out 5 Peer Conferencing Strategies that Actually Work .
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The Writing Workshop: A Valuable Tool for Differentiation and Formative Assessment (Guest Blog)
Editor's Note: Author, Jennifer Sharpe, is Director of Secondary Education for Nash-Rocky Mount Schools and Associate Director/K-12 Liaison for the Tar River Writing Project (TRWP) at East Carolina University.
Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen. - Willa Cather
Coaching through the Fear
Students often come to a writing task with infinite stories to tell and examples to share, but equally infinite fear of not writing "correctly." It is this fear that prevents them from exploring with language and finding their own voice in their writing. It is this fear that we English teachers must help students negotiate in order not only to write, but also to compose with sophistication, style, and ease.
Writing instruction is just like teaching any other skill; it takes practice, false starts, mistakes, collaboration, adjustment, coaching, and more practice that finally leads to speed, endurance, and agility. We know coaching is an effective practice for learning; writing workshop applies the coaching model to writing instruction with the writer's notebook ( daybook ) being at the heart of the student's writing life. The writer's notebook is a place to generate ideas, explore thinking, and play with language. It is a safe space where writing can be incomplete without the judgment of the red pen (or green, or purple, or pink as the case may be). Often when working through an idea or reflecting on their understanding, students need that space to be right or wrong or to write through confusion to understanding. The writer's notebook is an integral part of the writer's daily life.
The Writing Workshop Encourages Differentiation
The writer's workshop advocates a fundamental framework: we should think of students as writers who read and compose daily. The model encourages flexibility and differentiation in product, processes, content, and environment.
Differentiation also occurs during the writing conference. Studying mentor texts together, playing and practicing with language, sharing and discussing, and revising are all elements of coaching, and are opportunities for the teacher to provide encouragement and praise. Students may already have mastered the content, but we have to help them think out loud on paper with their own voices.
The elements of writing workshop are all means of formative assessment where we are supporting the development of the writer, not simply delivering content. When we model our own writing, we are sharing our processes and showing that we value the writing we are asking our students to do. Before conducting mini-lessons , we have already informally assessed and determined the need to review a particular feature or convention of writing. When we use mentor texts , we are helping students to expand their repertoire of language structures. When we share and respond to writing--peer-to-peer in small writing groups, peer-to-peer in partner response, or teacher-to-student in individual writing conferences--we are assessing and immediately using that assessment to improve writing for a particular content, purpose, and audience. As a result, we time-crunched teachers need not take home stacks and stacks of papers to grade. Meanwhile, students generate stacks and stacks of writing that supports the development of content ideas and writing "muscles."
Often, teachers do not adopt the workshop model because of two questions: 1) how do you teach grammar in writing workshop, and 2) how do you manage a writing workshop class? The answer to both will depend on your students' needs. The framework allows many possibilities for differentiation. After the teacher assesses needs, for example, a mini-lesson on a given grammatical principle might be the only grammar instruction needed outside of the writing conference. Classroom management will be easier once a routine is established and students become motivated to write in their writer's notebooks. They will come to see themselves as a community of writers.
Transform your students' English/Language Arts learning experiences by inviting students to act like, think like, and become writers. The writing workshop offers an umbrella under which differentiated instruction, formative assessment, and composition theory coincide in pedagogy designed to develop students' critical literacy. The approach aligns with Vygotsky's claim, "What a child can do today with assistance, she will be able to do by herself tomorrow."
Author, Jennifer Sharpe, is Director of Secondary Education for Nash-Rocky Mount Schools and Associate Director/K-12 Liaison for the Tar River Writing Project (TRWP) at East Carolina University.
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Writing is FUN! Chances are, if you tell your students this, some will nod enthusiastically, while several others might shake their heads in disagreement and share looks of disapproval. Many students simply find writing to be quite difficult, and for some, it comes across as more of a chore than an enjoyable experience. After all, it can be time-consuming and requires multiple steps, in turn, potentially leading to boredom, frustration, or both.
The good news? There are many techniques and tips to help your students feel confident and excited about writing in the classroom and in their everyday lives. Let's be honest, as educators, writing can be an overwhelming subject to teach effectively to our students, but we're here to help!
We use writing daily, making it an important skill that must be done well. Helping our students to realize this, along with the positive results that writing can bring, is half the battle of starting the process towards confident and excited authors.
Helping students to gain skills in writing can be achieved in multiple ways. One of the most effective ways is through the consistent use of incorporating a Writer's Workshop into your classroom to help learners become proficient writers. Teachers can introduce elements of Writer's Workshop at any elementary grade, starting as soon as Kindergarten.
What exactly is Writer's Workshop?
Writer's Workshop is a consistent time in the classroom that focuses on three main parts to help introduce, practice, and improve writing:
- a mini lesson
- status of the class/independent writing
The bulk of the time spent will be on independent writing, but the beauty of Writer's Workshop is that it can, and should, be flexible. As the teacher, you have the ability to use this time to work on whichever skills you think might benefit your learners during the mini-lesson with where they are currently at in their writing process or project.
Perhaps a brief lesson on how to brainstorm, or on choosing the correct punctuation marks, a focus on spicing up boring word choices to make them sizzle, or teaching learners how to peer review might be most beneficial right now. Writer's Workshop is a time for students to dive into getting their ideas onto paper, onto their computer, or their tablet.
We recommend providing each learner with a folder and a composition book. This should be kept together in a safe spot in their desks, or collected daily. When it's time to write, or type, students will know that they need to have these materials in order to get started. As you begin planning, check out the section that meets the needs of your specific grade-level best.
The Writing Process
Students will use the writing process over and over throughout the year as they brainstorm, draft, revise, edit, and publish. An important part of Writer's Workshop is modeling how the writing process works and why it is so important to use. Discuss the process with your students as you model a prompt. Students should be able to identify which step of the writing process they are on when asked so you can assess how far along they are in their work. This also can help you to recognize when a student might seem "stuck."" Writing is a process, not simply a product, and Writer's Workshop will allow students to take ownership for their work, gain guidance, and receive support and feedback from their peers.
To get primary learners ready to write, it is important to help them understand WHY becoming a great writer is necessary. Ask them to think about reasons they might like to write. Some examples are below:
- to share their feelings
- to share ideas
- to share their experiences
- to communicate
- to share important events
- to teach others
- simply because they love to write
While establishing your Writer's Workshop, discuss WHAT students might write:
- I can write:
- Text Messages
Finally, also focus on sharing the work habits of GOOD writers. Ensure that students understand that Writer's Workshop is a time to practice and learn, but also a time to help them feel more comfortable and content with the writing process. Good writers do the following:
- Edit and fix their mistakes
- Have writing stamina
- Brainstorm ideas
- Use details
- Use correct punctuation
- Stay the course
- Stay in control
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The writing workshop
Schools often teach writing using a writing workshop approach, also known in Victoria as a writer’s workshop. This approach, originally brought to prominence by Lucy Calkins in the early 1990s, is now an established part of writing instruction in many schools. There continues to be a strong research evidence base underpinning this approach (see among others: Myhill, Cremin & Oliver, 2023; Webb, Massey, Goggans & Flajole, 2019; Hill & Crevola, 1999).
The structure of the writing workshop
While the processes of writing are an integral component of any effective teaching approach to writing, the principles underpinning ‘writing as a process’, and where individual interest and choice are fundamental to students becoming independent writers, draws on the work of Donald Graves (1975).
This structure is designed to offer a simple and predictable learning environment. Ideally it should occur daily for 50 to 60 minutes.
Literacy Teaching Toolkit - Writing Workshop Conference - Lower Primary from DET Multimedia on Vimeo .
A typical writing workshop session
Mini-lessons are short and focussed of approximately 10 minutes. The teacher seeks to inspire and instruct the students as writers. A mini-lesson allows for differentiation and might focus on something the students are struggling with (such as an aspect of phonological awareness or phonics), and introduce strategies that the students can employ in their own writing.
During the mini-lesson the teacher connects the day’s teaching to the ongoing work that the students have been doing and they explain the Learning Intention and Success Criteria.
The teacher then explicitly teaches, after which the students have the opportunity to briefly engage/apply what they have just learnt.
Substantive talk is an important part of this point in the mini lesson. The teacher ends the mini-lesson by asking the students to apply what they have learnt in the mini-lesson to their on-going work
Students work independently on their written pieces. Different structures and supports are in place to ensure students get support from their teacher or peers.
The teacher moves around the room enabling students to showcase successes in their writing and receive assistance on areas that trouble or challenge them.
Conference outcomes should lead to tangible strategies students can employ in future writing. Hattie (2011) and Hattie and Clarke (2018) remind teachers that such ‘within lesson feedback’ is most effective when focused on the task. Often, checking the students take up of the new learning will characterise the conclusion of a student-teacher conference (“So from now on, whenever you write, will you remember to …”).
The teacher might gather small groups of 4-6 students who have a similar need and provide additional instruction and support.
Here, the focus is on the classroom being a community of writers. As part of the writing workshop, students need the opportunity to:
- share drafts
- comment on each other’s strengths
- advise on areas that could be clearer or more powerfully conveyed
- offer strategies for overcoming difficulties.
Peer conferring can be broken down into writer-led or reader-led conferring for EAL/D students. In either case, students may use their home language to confer with same language peers. The teacher explicitly scaffolds:
- the processes for reading one another’s drafts
- how to compose and communicate feedback.
An example of reader-led conferring:
- Students exchange drafts
- Both readers have a checklist or questions beside the draft (see below)
- Both students note down comments and feedback while reading their friend’s draft
- In turns, both students look at the drafts and feedback sheets together
- Each reader explains their comments to the writer
- Orientation, including when, where, who, what
- Detailed physical description of the main character
- Detailed description of the setting, using at least four senses
- Every sentence starts with a capital letter
- Every sentence ends with a full stop
- Words are underlined for spelling checks
An example of writer-led conferring:
- Writer and reader both look at a single text together
- Writer reads the draft aloud
- Have I included the title and author’s name in my review?
- Have I explained two interesting ideas from the book?
- Have I included two extended descriptive phrases?
- Is my meaning clear?
- What is the best thing about my draft?
- Can you suggest any improvements?
At the end of the workshop, the teacher ensures there is time to capture the work of the day, reminding the students of what they have learnt as writers.
In some classrooms, an author’s chair is the location which allows for affirming and constructive feedback and advice to be direct to all students in turn.
These occur throughout the year—often at the end of a teaching and learning cycle. They may replace the regular daily workshop as outlined above.
Opportunities need to be made to recognise students’ writing achievements as they:
- publish final pieces of writing
- complete a text in a new genre (a report, an argument, a poem), or
- receive a response to something they have produced for an audience.
On some of these occasions, the wider classroom community (family members, caregivers, grandparents, etc.) can participate in the celebration.
This both values the students’ achievements, as well as legitimises writing as a meaningful and important activity.
The teacher’s role in the writing workshop
While student choice and ownership of their own writing is often foregrounded in the Writing Workshop (and certainly responsibility lies with the students as they plan, draft, revise and publish) the teacher’s role is fundamental to the success of this approach in the classroom. The teacher needs to scaffold and model the entire writing process, so engaging in acts of writing by the teacher helps facilitate this:
- If the students keep a Writer’s Notebook, so should the teacher.
- If the students take the author’s chair to showcase their writing and seek responses, so should the teacher.
Specifically, teachers need to think about the focussed, explicit teaching they can offer to the whole class, to small groups and to individuals.
Some of these instructional approaches (modelled writing, shared writing, interactive writing) are focussed on elsewhere in this toolkit and these can be deployed strategically to support students as they move through the process from planning to publication.
Theory to practice
Calkins and Ehrenworth (2016) outline key principles which inform the Writing Workshop approach:
Children must be given ‘the luxury of time’ (p. 186) to become deeply invested in their writing, and draft, revise and publish their written pieces at a pace that honours and recognises the creative process.
The ideal writing workshop includes ten minutes of explicit instruction, at least half an hour of writing time (conferences and small group instruction), ending with 5–10 minutes of sharing and goal setting with a peer (Calkins & Ehrenworth, 2016).
Opening choice over both topic, genre and strategies used for writing provide opportunities for engagement and investment in skill development.
Feedback is provided as students are engaged in the process of writing emphasising ‘the critical role of process in writing, collaboration, personal responsibility, authentic writing tasks, and a supportive learning environment’ (Graham & Sandmel, 2011 as cited in Calkins & Ehrenworth, 2016, p. 9).
In the writing workshop, explicit instruction is provided through mini-lessons, conferences and small group work.
Here, a whole class focus on a shared genre ‘employing strategies and emulating mentor texts of that genre’ provides a context for explicit teaching about the ‘craft and structure’ of the genre which can be used by students in their writing (Calkins & Ehrenworth, 2016, p. 10).
Mentor texts or model texts are used to establish clear writing goals and to help develop independent writers as they learn to ‘transfer and apply what they learn from one writing opportunity to another’ (Calkins & Ehrenworth, 2016, p. 10).
The Writer’s Notebook
An important component of the Writing Workshop approach is the Writer’s Notebook which ‘creates a place for students (and writers) to save their words—in the form of a memory, a reflection, a list, a rambling of thoughts, a sketch, or even a scrap of print taped on the page’ (Buckner, 2005, p.4).
The notebook serves as a means to encourage young writers to value writing, where ‘seeds’ for a longer writing project require revisiting and rereading to locate ‘a phrase, a paragraph, a page’ which might be expanded and developed (Calkins, 1994, pp. 38-39). Ideas for developing a seed include:
- I think … I feel… I wonder… chart
- PMI chart (plus, minus, interesting)
- Y chart (looks, feels, sounds like..)
- three by three—list three-word phrases for three minutes
- capture what is important—try to capture feelings and emotions
- drawings and sketches
- collections of artefacts in a ‘seed box’.
The generation of ideas is only the beginning. It is the teacher’s role to support the extension and elaboration of the ‘seeds’ which might become a more detailed plan, a draft or a published text.
While not all ideas will be seen through to a ‘final’ copy, it is the role of the teacher to monitor students’ writing to ensure experiences which progress their writing through the various processes of writing, and across a range of text types, are provided each term and across the school year.
Some key points about the Writer’s Notebook
1. A writer’s notebook is a tool students use to record the things they notice, observe, and think about. Each recording is called an ‘entry’. The entries can be any of a variety of ideas. The most common are:
- observations of the things happening around them
- descriptions of people and places important in their lives
- family stories, hobbies and other passions.
Children write best about the things that are important to them and what they are interested in. It is writing that comes from what they know and what they have experienced.
2. A writer’s notebook houses ideas that writers can return to in order to grow ideas, restructure, rethink, revise, connect ideas and ultimately choose from a variety of entries to publish for an audience. It supports the work of publishing.
3. Notebook writing encourages a writer to take to the ‘long view’. What might start off as a small undeveloped idea has the potential to be developed into something fully formed.
4. Students need daily sustained periods of time to write. The writer’s notebook helps give direction to those sustained times for writing, especially early in the year when establishing a classroom community that will support students’ writing throughout the year.
5. Assessing how the students are using the notebook might include:
- reading the recent entries in your students’ notebooks
- asking students to put post-it notes on the entries they would like you to read— give some criteria to the students for example, chose an entry you love, an entry where you tried something new, an entry that shows your best writing
- conferring with students and asking them to talk about the entries they have included over the last week.
Using a variety of languages and multimodal examples will support EAL/D students to develop rich ideas in their writer’s notebooks. Some options are:
- illustrations or photos
- artefacts, e.g. movie ticket, zoo map
- storyboard or comic strip formats, whether on paper or digital
- charts or text written in home language
- a diagram or text written in English, with home language vocabulary and notes where helpful
- audio recordings of the student telling a story or explaining details
- transcriptions or notes written by a same-language peer following oral storytelling or discussion
- audio recordings or notes from storytelling or discussion with a family member.
Buckner, A. (2005). Notebook know-how: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
Calkins, L. & Ehrenworth, M. (2016). Growing extraordinary writers: Leadership decisions to raise the level of writing across a school and a District. The Reading Teacher, 70(1), 7 -18.
Graves, D. H. (1975). An examination of the writing processes of seven year old children. Research in the Teaching of English, 9(3), 227-241.
Hattie J. (2011). Feedback in Schools, in Sutton, Hornsey & Douglas, Feedback: The communication of praise, criticism, and advice. Peter Lang.
Hattie, J. & Clarke, S. (2018). Visible Learning: Feedback. Routledge.
Hill, P.W., & Crevola, C.A. (1999). Key Features of a whole‐school, design approach to literacy teaching in schools. Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, 4, 5-11.
Myhill, D., Cremin, T., & Oliver, L. (2023). Writing as a craft: Re-considering teacher subject content knowledge for teaching writing. Research Papers in Education, 38(3), 403-425.
Webb, S., Massey, D., Goggans, M., & Flajole, K. (2019). Thirty‐five years of the gradual release of responsibility: scaffolding toward complex and responsive teaching. The Reading Teacher, 73(1), 75-83.
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Writing Workshop: Can a Writing Workshop Help You Become a Better Writer?
by Joe Bunting | 0 comments
How do you write beautiful, award-winning novels, memoirs, and short stories? One tried-and-true way is through a writing workshop, a program with other writers who can give encouragement, feedback, and support as you write, edit, and publish your writing.
But maybe you don't know how to join a writing workshop, can't afford the steep admission fee a masters-level creative writing program costs, or you don't live near one.
That's where an online writing workshop like The Write Practice Pro can help in.
In this post, I’m going to share what a creative writing workshop is and how you can use it to improve your writing habits, get feedback on your creative writing, and go on to publish award-winning writing. Then we’ll talk about how to find a writing workshop, whether online or locally, and how to get the most out of it.
What Is a Creative Writing Workshop?
Writing workshop is a method of guiding people through the creative writing process with a focus on publishing and/or sharing their writing.
The Six Elements of a Writing Workshop
There are six parts to writing workshops:
- Lessons on the creative writing process.
- Structured time to plan your writing piece and brainstorm story ideas
- Structured writing time
- Getting feedback from editors/teachers and other students/writers
- Revision time based on content/grammar/flow
- Publishing or sharing
The Limitations of Most Creative Writing Workshops
In the past, creative writing workshops haven’t been accessible to everyone. Here’s why:
1. Location Dependent
Generally creative writing workshops are done in school settings, from a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) creative writing program to a middle school creative writing unit.
For example, one of the most famous workshops is the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, which is in Iowa City, Iowa. Hundreds of award-winning novelists and memoirists have either graduated from or taught at this program, including Pulitzer Prize winners Marilyn Robinson, Michael Cunningham, John Cheever, and more.
The problem is if you’re going to participate, you need to be in a specific location, namely Iowa.
Iowa isn’t the only excellent creative writing program (Poets and Writers has a full list of MFA programs ), and there are low-residency programs, where you can go in-person for just a few weeks per semester. But all creative writing programs require you to be in a specific location for at least several weeks and often several years.
If you can’t move your life to Iowa or some other city with a program, that rules out the possibility of improving your writing through this method.
2. High Cost
The average cost at an MFA creative writing workshop for a single class is over $3,300. The total cost can be as low as $27,000 and up to $108,000. That’s a lot!
If you don’t have an extra $50k lying around (and if you do, call me!), participating in a creative writing workshop is probably not possible.
3. Lack of Focus on Publishing
Writers write for readers. One drawback of some creative writing workshops is they spend so much time focusing on writing for other writers, professors, and a handful of university-funded literary magazines that they forget who their real audience is.
Without a strong focus on publishing, a creative writing workshop can get lost in the weeds of craft that sounds good in theory but doesn’t serve readers.
Can Regular People Participate in Creative Writing Workshops? Yes, in 3 Ways
There is huge value to the creative writing workshop process for all writers and aspiring writers, regardless of whether they’re in a formal school setting or not.
The great news is that now anyone can participate in this process and use it to improve their writing and get published.
There are three main ways that people can get involved with creative writing workshops, apart from local school settings:
- Local writing critique groups
- Online writing classes
- Online writing critique groups
Let’s look at two of those, local writing groups and online writing groups.
Pros and Cons of Local Writing Groups and How to Find Them
Local writing groups are groups of people interested in writing who meet regularly (often weekly) to critique each other’s chapters and short stories and talk about the writing process.
Sometimes these groups are filled with amateur writers working on their first books and pieces, but established writers often belong to writers’ groups too.
Famous examples of local writers’ groups include the Inklings , J.R.R Tolkien and C.S. Lewis’s writing group in Oxford; the Bloomsbury Group , Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot’s group in London; and the more informal Lost Generation , Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s group in Paris.
The benefit of local writers’ groups is that they give you a great chance to build relationships with other writers, and these writing friends can help you with more than just improving your chapters, but also how to get published and how to market your writing.
Here are some ways you can find a local writers’ groups:
- Google for local writing groups in your area
- Ask other writers you know locally if they are part of a group or know of groups
- Create your own
The drawback of local writers’ groups is that these groups only provide one aspect of the creative writing workshop experience: feedback.
Getting good feedback might be a valuable part of becoming a published writer, but it’s certainly not the only part. Structured brainstorming, structured writing time (like deadlines), focusing on revision, publishing opportunities, and even lessons on creative writing are also important parts of growing as a writer.
On top of that, you might not connect with your local group (I never have!). You might not be a good fit in terms of career level, with people either far ahead of you or behind you.
Even worse, what if you don’t live in an area with a local writers’ group at all?
If a local writers’ group isn’t a good solution for you, how can you get the full creative writing workshop experience?
That’s where online creative writing workshops like The Write Practice Pro can help.
How an Online Writing Workshop Like The Write Practice Pro Works
There are several online writing workshops that overcome the hurdles we talked about above. One of the best groups is The Write Practice Pro.
The Write Practice Pro is an online creative writing workshop dedicated to helping you become a better writer, write award-winning books and short stories, and ultimately become a bestselling author.
Here’s how it can help you get the full creative writing workshop experience:
1. Lessons on the creative writing process
At The Write Practice, we believe everyone can become a great writer through deliberate practice, and one of the most important aspects of deliberate practice is solid lessons.
Through The Write Practice Pro, you can get daily writing lessons, writing prompts, and exercises to help you become a better writer. For example, click here for the top 100 creative writing lessons .
We also host regular writing courses , like 100 Day Book , where you can connect with a mentor who will walk you through the process of writing a first draft (or second draft) of a novel, memoir, or non-fiction book.
2. Planning your writing and brainstorming ideas
It can take hundreds of hours to write a book, sometimes even thousands. If you’re going to invest that time into the writing process, you want to make sure that you’re working on the right idea.
That’s why getting feedback on your idea, not just your actual writing, is so important.
In The Write Practice Pro, you can go to the Book Ideas group , share your idea, and get feedback from other writers on whether the idea works or not.
3. Structured writing time
As someone who struggles with structure, one thing I’ve learned is that if I don’t have structured writing time, I will never finish my writing! I’ve written over ten books, but I wouldn’t have finished any of them if I hadn’t leaned into structure.
The best way I know to build structure for writing is to create deadlines that I can actually keep, and in The Write Practice Pro, we have a sacred deadline that the whole community lives by. We call in The Write Practice Pro challenge:
Write one chapter, story, article, or poem per week by Friday at midnight.
If you’re in one of our writing classes, like 100 Day Book or Write to Publish, you follow this deadline. And if you’re in The Write Practice Pro, you follow it too.
Why? Because as writers, we need deadlines. Even more importantly, we need a community that will encourage us to hit the deadline even if we don’t want to.
4. Getting feedback, from editors and other writers
At The Write Practice, we believe everyone can become a great writer through deliberate practice, and one of the most important aspects of deliberate practice is feedback.
To grow as a writer you need feedback both from your peers (other writers) and from experts (an editor or teacher).
Why does feedback work? Because good writing is rewriting. But studies have shown that when you rewrite without feedback, you generally focus on surface-level edits like fixing grammatical errors and typos. However, if you get feedback, you’ll focus on content-level edits, like rewriting a section to make it more readable or restructuring the piece entirely.
The amazing thing that these studies have shown is that peer feedback is almost as effective as professional feedback. So as important as it is to get professional feedback, even feedback from writers at your same level will help you become a better writer.
Below I’ll share how to get peer and professional feedback on your writing on The Write Practice Pro.
How to Get Feedback on The Write Practice Pro
1. Start by going to The Write Practice Pro groups screen . The Write Practice Pro is organized into several different critiquing groups, including a group for short stories and a group for novels.
2. Follow the group for your piece. If you’ve written a short story or writing practice, click “Follow” next to the Writers Workshop: Short Stories group. If you’ve written a chapter of a novel, click “Follow” next to the Writers Workshop: Novels and Books group.
I’m writing a Pirate Story and so I’m going to be sharing in the Short Stories workshop .
3. Click to your group and then copy and paste your piece into the editor. Then click submit and wait for your piece to publish!
I copied and pasted my Pirate Story (from Pirate Ipsum ) into the Short Story Workshop below. Once the story is published, my story will be assigned to other writers and I can start to get feedback.
4. Complete your critiquing. Some groups in The Write Practice Pro, like the Short Story Workshop, pair you with other writers to critique. This is a great way to get to know the work of other writers and make new writer friends. Here’s what a match looks like:
Now, I will follow the links to those three stories, read them, and give feedback to the writer.
Other groups, like the Novel and Books Workshop, allow you to choose whom you will critique.
But all groups ask you to read and give feedback on three other pieces in your group before you can view the critiques on your own story (this requirement expires after fourteen days). That way everyone gets the feedback they need to improve their writing!
There are two ways to give feedback:
- Critique the story as a whole, following our critiquing guidelines and using the Oreo Method .
- Give inline feedback by highlighting text and clicking the comment icon. This is great for spotting typos, grammatical errors, or other inline issues.
After I finish my matched critiques, I will be able to view feedback on my own story.
5. Upgrade for Professional Editor Feedback. If you want a professional critique, click the “Upgrade” button (see screenshot below) and send your story to The Write Pro’s team of Story Grid certified editors for a content-based critique.
I want an editor’s feedback on Pirate Story, so I click the upgrade button. Then I’m taken to a page describing the kind of feedback I’ll receive and the cost, which is 1.5¢ per word.
I can also enter any special area of focus for the critique. After I click submit, a member of The Write Practice Pro’s team will follow up and I will receive my professional critique within one to three weeks.
5. Revisions Based on Content, Grammar, and Readability
After you get feedback, you need to edit your writing and revise it based on content, grammar, and readability.
Often this is the hardest part of the writing process, and I usually have my biggest struggles and moments of self-doubt during the revision process.
However, that’s why it’s so great to have an encouraging community of other writers. When you feel stuck, share your struggles with the community in The Write Practice Pro’s Café group. This is a great way to get tips and encouragement from the community.
6. Publishing or sharing
This is the end goal. As writers, we don’t just write . We share our writing with the world.
The Write Practice Pro makes it easy to publish. Through their partnership with Short Fiction Break literary magazine , you can publish your writing instantly on the website, sharing your writing with the world.
Here’s how it works:
How to Publish Your Writing on Short Fiction Break Literary Magazine
Note: publishing is currently only available for pieces posted in the Short Stories Workshop.
1. After your piece has been thoroughly edited, navigate to your writing piece on The Write Practice Pro . If you can’t find it, go to your profile and find your story in your feed.
When I click on my profile, I can easily find my story in my activity feed.
2. Click the “Publish” button beside the story title. Note that you must complete your three critiques before the “Publish” button will appear.
After you click Publish, a dialogue box will appear, asking if you agree to Short Fiction Break’s publishing guidelines and terms. When you confirm you’re ready to publish, you will see this message with a link to your story:
Here’s the story LIVE on Short Fiction Break:
That was easy! Maybe I should write a real story now!
Will the Writing Workshop Process Help You Become a Better Creative Writer?
So what’s the verdict? Will participating in the Writing Workshop process help your writing?
Yes! Even if you only participate in a local writers’ group and just get feedback, that feedback will help you become a better writer.
Even better, if you enroll in an MFA program or join an online writing workshop like The Write Practice Pro and go through all six steps of the workshopping process, you will become a better writer even faster.
One thing to remember, though: these workshops do not make the writing process easier. In fact, in some ways it will be harder, because you are growing in each step in the writing process.
After all, growth never comes without discomfort.
But if you follow the process and press in to that discomfort, you will become a better writer.
Ready to start the writing workshop process? Join The Write Practice Pro and get started now. Click to join The Write Practice Pro .
What is your favorite part of the writing workshop process? How has being part of a workshop helped you? Let me know in the comments .
Ready to practice the writing workshop process? Here’s a writing prompt to help:
Write about a writing critique group gone wrong. Maybe two of the members are dating and get into a massive fight. Maybe one member can’t take feedback and erupts in anger. Maybe the teacher is secretly gaslighting everyone.
Whatever your writing group gone wrong looks like, write about it for fifteen minutes . When your time is up, participate in the workshopping process by posting your practice in the comments section for feedback. And if you do post, please be sure to give feedback on at least three other pieces.
Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).
Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.
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Systematic Teaching for First and Second Grade
5 Writing Workshop Mini Lessons That Shouldn’t Be Skipped
January 12, 2022 | Leave a Comment
No matter what time of the year writing workshop starts, these are 5 writing workshop mini lessons that shouldn’t be skipped! I find that doing these lessons will start my workshop on the right foot and help students know all about my expectations.
Writing Workshop Mini Lesson #1: The Components of Writer’s Workshop
Before introducing the writer’s workshop model, plan out the pieces you’ll be using in your workshop. I modified my workshop slightly from the traditional model so that it skips the daily check in.
Each day I cover a mini whole class lesson, independent writing time, and share time. My first mini lesson when I am starting writer’s workshop is to teach my class about each component. Sometimes it may be necessary to break it apart in several lessons (especially if you want to really focus on the dos and don’ts of each section).
I like to take my time and explicitly teach the roles of a student and the teacher (like in the Daily 5 process ). Going over exactly what I want it to look like helps minimize off task behaviors at the start. Likewise, it’s important not to skip the step of what it shouldn’t look like. Not only do students find it pretty funny when they see off task behaviors modeled, but it really sticks in their memories.
Writing Workshop Mini Lesson #2: Writer’s Workshop Materials
The next important writing workshop mini lesson is teaching about the writer’s workshop materials and their appropriate uses. In my class we call these writing tools. This may feel like a silly lesson to teach but it’s important to teach expectations for using their supplies.
Things to consider when planning this lesson:
- Will students be allowed to color pictures heavily during each writing block?
- Will students be using pencils or pens for their writing?
- Will students use notebooks or folders to store their pieces?
- Where will they keep their daily materials?
- Where will they keep their revising and editing pens?
- Will they need highlighters?
- Will they be using loose leaf paper or a notebook? Spiral or composition?
My Writing Tools Set Up
Each answer to these questions will help you plan what to say during your lesson. For example, in my class students are only allowed to color pictures during the publishing phase. I chose this rule because we only have 45 minutes and it’s more important for them to be writing than working on coloring. This year I have chosen to use pencils for daily writing but most years I use pen. Writing in pen keeps students from agonizing over writing and erasing the same words.
Notebooks or Folders?
Students are provided a blue three-prong plastic folders with several page protectors. Inside the page protectors they are given an alphabet chart, blends and digraphs, and common rimes chart. I left one blank page protector that gets filled with their writing goals tracker once goals are created. They are also given a very slender bound notebook that we use for planning out our writing. This notebook is thin enough to be kept inside their folder along with any loose leaf writing papers.
Writing Tools Storage
Just like with the first mini lesson we are discussing dos and don’ts of handling the workshop materials and where they should be stored. This year with social distancing guidelines each student keeps their own folder in their desk. In prior years students turned in their folders at the end of each writing block and one student passed out their group’s folders.
I have a series of three metal bins (meant to be flower pots) that keep my black, blue, and red writing pens. Even though I have black pens I don’t often have students use them to write this year. Having them write in pen saves me from sharpening a ton of pencils each day. Since editing (red pens) and revising (blue pens) only happen every few weeks, I prefer to keep the pens out of their desks and on my writing center table. Unfortunately this year the table is not used except to hold my writing center cards and letter templates as well as my pen selection.
Writing Workshop Mini Lesson #3: Building Writing Stamina
My students now know what writer’s workshop should look like and how to use the tools appropriately. This means it is time for them to practice building up their writing stamina. Although this isn’t going to be a one and done type of writing mini lesson, it is an important one.
Just as readers need to build up their reading stamina, I feel the same is true for writers. My class seems to do really well with writing the whole time during independent practice, but if you are lucky enough to have a nice long writing block you will want to make sure you build up their practice time.
Many years ago I used to have a good hour for my writer’s workshop. During those days I would have a second mini-lesson in the middle of our writing time. This way I could address immediate things I was seeing about sentence structure or punctuation. It was also another way to address what was going well with students applying the day’s lesson. Don’t be afraid to break up your writing block like this if you notice students getting squirrely halfway through.
When students work with a writing partner, they can also increase their stamina. It naturally takes longer to work on a writing piece when both partners need to share and work together. This brings me to the next mini lesson.
Writing Workshop Mini Lesson #4: Working with a Partner
I like to establish my writer’s workshop routines before I have students begin working with a partner. Once routines have been established then I’ll add writing partners into the mix. If I do it too early I might have some classroom management issues .
When planning your writing mini lesson, establish what you want partners to do. Will students have partners during independent writing time? Will students only be using partners when revising and editing?
Plan to provide several mini lessons on how to work with a partner. Now that students have had a lot of schooling impacted by Covid, it’s important to teach them the basics of how to work appropriately with each other. This might include things like sentence stems for questions to ask and how to respond, what help looks like (i.e. not doing everything for their partner but guiding them), and how to be a good listener.
Writing Workshop Mini Lesson #5: Compliments and Questions for Share Time
Share time is the last component of writer’s workshop and it’s the one I feel is the most important. Students get to see and hear examples of their peers’ writing. Many teachers use an author’s chair specifically for the purpose of this daily share time. I do not have space in my classroom so I just have students stand at the front of the room.
These one or two mini lessons should cover very similar topics as having a writing partner. In fact, many of the expectations for partners crossover to share time which makes it a perfect place to review and reinforce what students should do.
My share time is usually about 5 minutes tops since I only have a total of 45 minutes. If you have a little longer, pick mini lessons to teach about how to choose which partner goes first and how to offer specific feedback. I like to think of writing partners like mini coaches. They should be giving their partner suggestions for improvement but also a positive comment.
What are your go-to mini lessons when establishing your writer’s workshop?
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ebook ∣ Time, Choice, Response: The Classroom Essentials Series
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23 March 2020
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"If students don't write at least three times a week, they are dead". - Donald Graves
"Real writers are eager for collaboration. They use other people's brains to help them get their writing right". - Mem Fox
"You learn to write by grappling with a real subject that truly matters to you". - Ralph Fletcher
Tue, 06 Aug
Holy Trinity Primary School
The Essential Elements of the Writers' Workshop
How can you develop and support a community of writers in your class? Come along and explore the elements of the writing workshop and experience a lesson for yourself.
Time & Location
06 Aug 2019, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Holy Trinity Primary School, 18 Theodore St, Curtin ACT 2605, Australia
About the Event
The workshop will:
- unpack how to write a bite-sized and specific lesson aim, based on the qualities of great writing
- work through a mini-lesson, incorporating modeled, guided and independent practice
- allow collaboration with a writing partner
- use the language of the workshop to cultivate a sense of community
- use mentor texts and writer’s notebooks, valuable teaching tools
- illustrate how visual anchors can support students to work independently through the writing process
- combine conferencing and interim writing assessments to create a comprehensive assessment portfolio
- provide opportunity to experience the power of sharing your writing with an audience
There will be time to reflect on our learning from the workshop, considering individual contexts and the needs of the students within them. With an implementation plan in hand, you will head back to school ready to nurture a new community of writers with your class.
Share this event.
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Russia-Ukraine war – live: Putin’s troops ‘pushed back miles’ after major Kyiv breakthrough on Dnipro River
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Ukrainian forces say they have pushed Russian troops three to eight kilometeres back on the banks of the key Dnipro River.
If confirmed, it would be the first meaningful advance by Kyiv’s forces months into a relatively slow counteroffensive.
“Preliminary figures vary from three to eight kilometres, depending on the specifics, geography and landscape design of the left bank,” army spokeswoman Natalia Gumenyuk told Ukrainian television, without specifying whether Ukraine’s military had complete control of the area or if the Russians had retreated.
Ukrainian and Russian forces have been entrenched on opposite sides of the vast waterway in the southern Kherson region for more than a year, after Russia withdrew its troops from the western bank last November.
Ukrainian forces have staged multiple attempts to cross and hold positions on the Russian-controlled side - with officials in Kyiv finally reporting a “successful” breakthrough last week.
After securing multiple footholds on the eastern bank, the Ukrainian military claimed to have repelled 12 attacks over the weekend. Mr Putin has lost around a brigade’s worth of forces there in a month, claims Kyiv.
Ukrainian army pushing Russian forces back at Dnipro river
Russia launches waves of drone strikes on kyiv for second night.
Cluster bombs in battle for Avdiivka fuelling stalemate on frontline, says UK
Ukraine establishes 'several bridgeheads' on eastern bank of Dnipro
Zelensky calls for rapid operation changes and sacks commander
03:30 , Holly Evans
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday demanded rapid changes in the operations of Ukraine’s military and announced the dismissal of the commander of the military’s medical forces.
Zelensky’s move was announced as he met Defence Minister Rustem Umerov, and coincided with debate over the conduct of the 20-month-old war against Russia, with questions over how quickly a counteroffensive in the east and south is proceeding.
“In today’s meeting with Defence Minister Umerov, priorities were set,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address. “There is little time left to wait for results. Quick action is needed for forthcoming changes.”
Zelensky said he had replaced Major-General Tetiana Ostashchenko as commander of the Armed Forces Medical Forces.
“The task is clear, as has been repeatedly stressed in society, particularly among combat medics, we need a fundamentally new level of medical support for our soldiers,” he said.
This, he said, included a range of issues -- better tourniquets, digitalisation and better communication.
Umerov acknowledged the change on the Telegram messaging app and set as top priorities digitalisation, “tactical medicine” and rotation of servicemen.
Plight of one Ukraine village illustrates toll of Russia’s invasion
02:30 , Holly Evans
Kamianka lies in a charming valley of bright flowers and lush trees. It used to be portrayed as a model village for a contented life in rural idyll. It was also a place of archaeological and geological lure, with its rare bronze age and Scythian sites and Jurassic limestone cliffs attracting visitors from afar.
The settlement , set in a sleepy hollow, was established in the 18th century by a count from the Tsar of Russia ’s court who had returned from Britain with new methods of farming and an English bride. Keen to put his new knowledge into practice, he allocated land, built a mill, constructed roads and funded a church and a school.
But Kamianka, in eastern Ukraine , also has a dark history of violence.
Read the full article from Kim Sengupta here
Russia’s plan B in Ukraine is working – now is not the moment for the West to turn away
01:30 , Holly Evans
hen Italy ’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni , was fooled recently by two well-known Russian “comics” – surely paid-up Kremlin agents – into saying she was “tired” of the war in Ukraine and that everyone would soon be looking for a “way out”, too many of her counterparts in the West would have tacitly agreed (and perhaps sympathised: she is hardly the first to be pranked by these two).
But Ms Meloni deserves no sympathy. She thought she was talking to the head of the African Union Commission so this should have been a chance to exercise statecraft and reason with the supposed representative from the Global South and argue that Russia ’s war in Ukraine is nothing if not colonialist itself – a desperate attempt to maintain its empire.
Russia, with an abundance of chutzpah and an absence of shame, claims that it is the West that is being colonialist in forcing its designs on Kyiv (even supposedly “Nazi-ruled Kyiv”). You have to apply to join Nato and the EU, of course, but facts like these are irrelevant.
Read the full article from James Nixey here
Russia’s plan B in Ukraine is working – the West must not turn away now
Moscow mayor says air defence units intercept drone targeting city
00:30 , Holly Evans
Air defence units in Moscow intercepted a drone targeting the city on Sunday, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said.
Sobyanin, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said units in the Elektrostal district in the capital’s east had intercepted the drone.
According to preliminary information, falling debris resulting from the operation had caused no casualties or damage, Sobyanin said.
UK defence ministry say ‘few immediate prospects’ for change along front line
Sunday 19 November 2023 23:30 , Holly Evans
Russian drones have targeted Kyiv as the British Defence Ministry said there were “few immediate prospects” for major change along the Ukrainian front line as the war enters its second winter.
Russia launched 20 Iranian-made Shahed drones overnight, targeting the Ukrainian capital and the Cherkasy and Poltava regions, according to a military statement.
Ukrainian anti-aircraft systems shot down 15 of the drones.
The overnight strike on Kyiv is the second attack on the Ukrainian capital in 48 hours, said the city’s Military Administration spokesperson, Serhii Popko.
He said that the drones attacked Kyiv from different directions in waves that were “constantly changing vectors”.
Preliminary reports indicated no casualties or critical damage, he said.
Around 3,000 trucks stuck at Ukrainian border due to Polish drivers' blockade
Sunday 19 November 2023 22:30 , Holly Evans
bout 3,000 mostly Ukrainian trucks were stuck on the Polish side of the border as of Sunday morning due to a more than 10-day blockade by Polish truckers, Ukrainian authorities said.
Polish truckers earlier this month blocked roads to three border crossings with Ukraine to protest against what they see as government inaction over a loss of business to foreign competitors since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Ukrainian officials said last week Kyiv and Warsaw had again failed to reach an agreement to stop the protest.
For over 10 days, Ukrainian drivers have been blocked at the Polish border. Thousands of people are forced to live in difficult conditions with limited food, water, and fuel. Ukraine cares about its people wherever they are. Our team has already gone to the border and is… pic.twitter.com/kzn1KGLrug — Oleksandr Kubrakov (@OlKubrakov) November 19, 2023
“For over 10 days, Ukrainian drivers have been blocked at the Polish border. Thousands of people are forced to live in difficult conditions with limited food, water and fuel,” Oleksandr Kubrakov, Deputy Ukraine’s Prime Minister, said on X, formerly Twitter.
He said trucks were backed up more than 30 kms (18.6 miles)towards the Yahodyn crossing, more than 10 kms towards Rava-Ruska, and more than 16 kms towards the Krakivets crossing.
Russia and Iran call for ceasefire in Gaza
Sunday 19 November 2023 21:30 , Holly Evans
Russia and Iran’s foreign ministers on Sunday called for a ceasefire in Gaza and said that urgent assistance must be given to the civilian population there.
Russia said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian at the request of Tehran.
“During the conversation, main attention was focused on the current situation in the zone of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.
Ukrainian teen returns to Ukraine after being taken to Russia from occupied Mariupol
Sunday 19 November 2023 20:39 , Holly Evans
Ukrainian teenager who was taken to Russia from the occupied city of Mariupol during the war and prevented from leaving the country earlier this year returned to Ukraine on Sunday.
Bohdan Yermokhin, who turned 18 on Sunday, appealed to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy this month to help bring him back to Ukraine. In March, he tried to leave Russia for Ukraine via Belarus, but was stopped and sent back.
“I believed I would be in Ukraine, but not on this day,” Yermokhin told Reuters while eating at a petrol station after crossing into Ukraine.
“This is a very pleasant gift, to put it in the right way. The emotions are overwhelming, all good, with the notion that Ukraine needs me.”
Zelenskiy welcomed Yermokhin’s return in his nightly video address.
“Many attempts were made to help him. I am happy everything worked out,” he said, expressing thanks to Ukrainian officials, international organisations, and particularly the U.N. Children’s Fund, UNICEF, and authorities in Qatar for help in mediation.
Hungary’s Orban says Ukraine ‘light years away’ from joining EU
Sunday 19 November 2023 19:30 , Athena Stavrou
Hungary’s prime minister has said Ukraine is “light years away” from joining the European Union, further signalling that his government is likely to present a roadblock to Kyiv’s ambitions to join the bloc.
Speaking at a biannual congress of his nationalist Fidesz party, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he and his government would “resist” talks scheduled for mid-December on whether to formally invite Ukraine to start membership negotiations.
Admitting a new country requires unanimous approval from all existing member countries, giving Mr Orban a powerful veto.
Mr Orban said afterwards that standing in the way of Ukraine joining the EU would be one of his government’s top priorities in the coming months.
“Our task will be to correct the mistaken promise to start negotiations with Ukraine, since Ukraine is now light years away from the European Union,” Mr Orban said.
ICYMI: In Russia, more Kremlin critics are being imprisoned as intolerance of dissent grows
Sunday 19 November 2023 18:45 , Athena Stavrou
Russia under President Vladimir Putin has been closing in on those who challenge the Kremlin. Protesters and activists have been arrested or imprisoned, independent news outlets have been silenced, and various groups have been added to registers of “foreign agents” and “undesirable organizations.”
The crackdown has been going on for years.
In Russia, more Kremlin critics are being imprisoned as intolerance of dissent grows
Ukraine ‘preparing for winter attacks'
Sunday 19 November 2023 18:00 , Athena Stavrou
Ukraine is preparing for further attacks on their energy grid this winter.
In his nightly address on Saturday, Ukrainian president Zelensky said that the “closer we are to winter, the more Russians will try to make the strikes more powerful.”
Zelenksy has previously raised concerns over Russian attacks on Ukraines energy grid - which became a prime target last year.
Volodymyr Kudrytskiy, the head of energy firm Ukrenergo, told local media: “All of us energy workers and defence forces are preparing to repel possible Russian attacks on the energy infrastructure this winter.”
Thousands of Ukrainian children forcefully taken to Belarus via Russia, study finds
Sunday 19 November 2023 17:15 , Athena Stavrou
Thousands of children from Ukraine aged between six and 17 years old have been forcefully transferred to 13 facilities across Belarus since Russia ‘s invasion last year , a study by Yale University has found.
The Humanitarian Research Lab at Yale School of Public Health found that the transfer of 2,442 children was “directly overseen” by Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko – a key ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin .
Ukrainian teen who was taken to Russia from occupied Mariupol returns to Ukraine
Sunday 19 November 2023 16:30 , Athena Stavrou
A Ukrainian teenager who was taken to Russia from the occupied city of Mariupol during the war and prevented from leaving the country earlier this year returned to Ukraine on Sunday.
Ukraine says 20,000 children have been illegally transferred to Russia since the full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, with some being put up for adoption. Kyiv says this is a war crime, an allegation denied by Russia, which says it was protecting children in a war zone.
Yermokhin, an orphan from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol that was captured by Moscow’s troops during the first year of the war, was taken to Russia and placed in a foster family in the Moscow region.
On Sunday, Reuters correspondents at Kortelisy, a Ukrainian village near the border with Belarus, saw Yermokhin driven into Ukraine from the border in a van. Asked if he was glad to be back in Ukraine, Yermokhin said “yes”.
🇺🇦Bohdan Yermokhin is in Ukraine! Together with other state authorities, the team of the Office of the Ombudsman worked out a way to return the boy within the framework of the implementation of the approved @bkb_ua action plan of the President of Ukraine @ZelenskyyUa pic.twitter.com/0wGh9fQtI4 — Dmytro Lubinets (@lubinetzs) November 19, 2023
Putin to take part in G20 summit
Sunday 19 November 2023 15:45 , Athena Stavrou
Russian president Vladimir Putin is expected to take part in a virtual G20 summit next week, according to local media.
The conference is set to be hosted by India and happen on Wednesday, as reported by Russian news agency TASS, citing the TV channel ‘Russia-1’.
Putin did not attend the last two G20 meetings in India in September and Indonesia last year. He has taken few trips outside Russia since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader over the unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children.
Latest pictures from Ukraine
Sunday 19 November 2023 15:03 , Athena Stavrou
Sunday 19 November 2023 14:20 , Athena Stavrou
Despite slow progress, the War in Ukraine has not reached a stalemate.
Ukraine’s forces can only win if the West shows a renewed commitment to forcing Russia out, James Nixey writes:
Around 3,000 trucks stuck at Ukrainian border
Sunday 19 November 2023 13:19 , Athena Stavrou
About 3,000 mostly Ukrainian trucks were stuck on the Polish side of the border as of Sunday morning due to a more than 10-day blockade by Polish truckers, Ukrainian authorities said.
“For over 10 days, Ukrainian drivers have been blocked at the Polish border. Thousands of people are forced to live in difficult conditions with limited food, water and fuel,” Oleksandr Kubrakov, Deputy Ukraine‘s Prime Minister, said on X, formerly Twitter.
Ukrainian grain brokers said last week Ukraine‘s shipments of food by road decreased 2.7% in the first 13 days of November due to difficulties on the Polish border caused by a drivers’ strike.
Sunday 19 November 2023 12:05 , Athena Stavrou
The Ukrainian army said on Sunday that it has pushed Russian forces back “three to eight kilometres” from the banks of Dnipro river.
If confirmed, it would be the first meaningful advance by Kyiv’s forces months into a disappointing counteroffensive.
“Preliminary figures vary from three to eight kilometres, depending on the specifics, geography and landscape design of the left bank,” army spokeswoman Natalia Gumenyuk told Ukrainian television Sunday, without specifying whether Ukraine’s military had complete control of the area or if the Russians had retreated.
Ukrainian forces have staged multiple attempts to cross and hold positions on the Russian-controlled side -- with officials in Kyiv finally reporting a “successful” breakthrough last week.
‘Greater fighting capacity' of Ukrainian recruits trained by UK
Sunday 19 November 2023 11:54 , Athena Stavrou
A Ukrainian military spokesperson has said recruits trained in the UK’s Interflex training course have a “greater fighting capacity”.
Operation Interflex was launched by the UK Armed Forces in June 2022 to develop and better prepare Ukrainian soldiers. Recruits spend five weeks in the UK receiving intense training.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that 30,000 Ukrainians have been trained through Op Interflex.
They shared a comment from a Ukrainian armed forces spokesperson that said: “We notice the greater fighting capacity of the servicemen and women of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who completed the Interflex training course.”
"We notice the greater fighting capacity of the servicemen and women of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who completed the Interflex training course."- Maj Gen Oleksii Taran, Armed Forces of Ukraine. 30,000 Ukrainians have been trained through Op Interflex. 🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/S2Z3nvUe4L — Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) November 19, 2023
Five hurt in Russian shelling in Kherson, Ukraine says
Sunday 19 November 2023 10:56 , Athena Stavrou
Five people including a 3-year-old girl were injured in Russian artillery shelling of Kherson on Sunday morning, Ukrainian interior minister Ihor Klymenko said.
“All of them sustained shrapnel wounds. The child and the grandmother were walking in the yard. Enemy artillery hit them near the entrance,” Klymenko said on the Telegram messaging app.
Russian troops abandoned Kherson and the western bank of the Dnipro River in the region late last year, but now regularly shell those areas from positions on the eastern bank.
Reuters could not independently confirm the report.
Ukrainian forces work to push back Putin’s troops on key river
Sunday 19 November 2023 10:15 , Athena Stavrou
Ukrainian troops worked to push back Russian forces positioned on the east bank of the Dnieper River, the military said Saturday.
It comes a day after Ukraine claimed to have secured multiple bridgeheads on that side of the river that divides the country’s partially occupied Kherson region.
Ukraine’s establishment of footholds on on the Russian-held bank of the Dnieper represents a small but potentially significant strategic advance in the midst of a war largely at a standstill.
The General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said its troops there had repelled 12 attacks by the Russian army between Friday and Saturday.
The Ukrainians now were trying to “push back Russian army units as far as possible in order to make life easier for the (western) bank of the Kherson region, so that they get shelled less,” Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command, said.
The Russian military said on Saturday it had heavily bombed Ukrainian forces around the River Dnipro in southern Ukraine and killed up to 75 Ukrainian soldiers.
Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield claim.
Jailed Russian nationalist Girkin 'wants to run for president'
Sunday 19 November 2023 09:49 , Athena Stavrou
Pro-war Russian nationalist Igor Girkin, who is in custody awaiting trial for inciting extremism, has said he wants to run for president in the March 2024 election, his supporters said, citing a letter from prison.
A presidential election in Russia is set to take place in March 2024 with current president Vladimir Putin expected to also run once again.
Girkin has repeatedly warned that Russia faces revolution and even civil war unless Putin’s military top brass fight the war in Ukraine more effectively.
Oleg Nelzin, co-chairman of the Russian movement supporting Strelkov, read out a letter from Girkin in which he asked supporters to start work on putting him forward to run in the March election.
A picture of Girkin, 52, above a slogan “Our president - Igor Ivanovich Strelkov - ‘24,” was projected on a screen behind Nelzin as he spoke. Applause followed at the meeting, a clip of which Girkin’s supporters posted on Telegram.
Russia has cracked down on nationalist critics, who have called for a much tougher approach to fighting the war including martial law and a country-wide mobilisation, after the failed June mutiny by Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Russia ‘considering bringing Soviet-era aircraft back into service'
Sunday 19 November 2023 09:10 , Athena Stavrou
Russia is likely considering bringing a Soviet-era aircraft back into service, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defence.
In their latest defence intelligence update, the UK said the M-55 MYSTIC B high altitude reconnaissance aircraft may come back into service.
With an operating ceiling of over 70,000 feet, the aircraft has been recently employed as an earth-sciences research platform. However, it has been observed carrying a military reconnaissance pod, developed for employment on Russian fighter aircraft.
The defence ministry added that it was “almost certain” that the aircraft will conduct missions against Ukraine from the “relative safety of Russian airspace”.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 19 November 2023. Find out more about Defence Intelligence's use of language: https://t.co/wHi1SebuZi 🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/XYFXSU8hKd — Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) November 19, 2023
Zelensky issues sanctions for 108 people
Sunday 19 November 2023 08:38 , Athena Stavrou
Ukrainian Presidenty Zelensky has sanctioned 37 Russian groups and 108 people including a former prime minister and a former education minister.
“We are increasing the pressure of our state onto them and each of them must be held responsible for what they have done,” he said in his nightly video address on Saturday, after his office issued corresponding decrees with his signature.
Zelenskiy did not associate specific individuals or groups with particular wrongdoings. The decrees showed a range of 10-year penalties against individuals and five-year penalties against non-profit groups including one named in English as the “Russian Children’s Foundation.”
Zelenskiy said in his address that the list included “those involved in the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children from the occupied territory” and individuals who “in various ways help Russian terror against Ukraine.”
Dmytro Tabachnyk, a former minister of education and science who had his Ukrainian citizenship stripped from him in February, and ex-Prime Minister Mykola Azarov were also included in the sanctions.
With former President Viktor Yanukovich, Azarov previously had assets and property frozen among other penalties. The two men fled Ukraine for Russia in 2014 after a crackdown on street protests that killed more than 100 demonstrators in Kyiv.
Sunday 19 November 2023 07:48 , Andy Gregory
Russia launched several waves of drone attacks on Kyiv for the second night in row, stepping up its assaults on the Ukrainian capital after several weeks of pause, the head of the city’s military administration has said.
“The enemy’s UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] were launched in many groups and attacked Kyiv in waves, from different directions, at the same time constantly changing the vectors of movement along the route,” Serhiy Popko said.
“That is why the air raid alerts were announced several times in the capital.”
According to preliminary information Ukraine’s air defence systems hit close to 10 Iranian-made Shahed kamikaze drones in Kyiv and its outskirts, Mr Popko said.
There have been no initial reports of “critical damage” or casualties, he added.
Sunday 19 November 2023 06:00 , Holly Evans
But Kamianka, in eastern Ukraine , also has a dark history of violence. Its strategic position on the banks of the Siversky Donets River made it a battleground for armies over the ages.
Read the full story from Kim Sengupta here
Bombs and betrayal: Plight of one Ukraine village highlights toll of Russian invasion
Sunday 19 November 2023 05:00 , Holly Evans
But it increased within days of the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, when Russia adopted a law criminalizing the spreading of “false information” about the military, effectively outlawing any public expression about the war that deviated from the official narrative. Scores of people have been prosecuted under the new law, and those implicated in high-profile cases have been given long prison terms.
Read more here
The Lazarus Project star says series predicted Russia-Ukraine war
Sunday 19 November 2023 04:00 , Holly Evans
Former Bank of Russia deputy placed on Moscow’s wanted list
Sunday 19 November 2023 03:00 , Holly Evans
Russia’s interior ministry has placed former Bank of Russia deputy governor and senior politician Sergei Aleksashenko on its wanted list, Russian state news agencies have reported.
Mr Aleksashenko, who has criticised Russia’s war in Ukraine, has been living in exile in the United States after falling out with President Vladimir Putin’s government and had already been designated a “foreign agent”.
Tass reported that Mr Aleksashenko had been added to the interior ministry’s wanted list on an unspecified criminal charge. Mr Aleksashenko said on Telegram that he had been listed on the database for five years already, but suggested that being added to the wanted list was a new development.
Earlier this week, Vasiliy Piskarev – who leads the Duma’s committee on investigating foreign interference – accused Mr Aleksashenko and economist Sergei Guriev of being engaged in shaping sanctions against Russia through their involvement with Stanford University’s international working group on Russian sanctions.
The world's attention is on Gaza, and Ukrainians worry war fatigue will hurt their cause
Sunday 19 November 2023 02:00 , Holly Evans
When Tymofii Postoiuk and his friends set up an online fundraising effort for Ukraine, donations poured in from around the globe, helping to purchase essential equipment for Ukrainian armed forces.
As the fighting with Russia wore on and war fatigue set in, the donations slowed down, but money continued to come in steadily. Then the Israel- Hamas war broke out on Oct. 7.
With the start of another major conflict, social media networks including X, formerly known as Twitter, were flooded with news from the Middle East . “Our fundraising posts and updates simply get lost in between those tweets,” Postoiuk said.
Sunday 19 November 2023 01:00 , Holly Evans
The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for the Russian president in March, accusing him and Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine.
Ukraine pushes back Russian troops from Dnieper River
Sunday 19 November 2023 00:00 , Holly Evans
Ukrainian troops worked to push back Russian forces positioned on the east bank of the Dnieper River, the military said Saturday, a day after Ukraine claimed to have secured multiple bridgeheads on that side of the river that divides the country’s partially occupied Kherson region.
Ukraine‘s establishment of footholds on on the Russian-held bank of the Dnieper represents a small but potentially significant strategic advance in the midst of a war largely at a standstill.
The General Staff of Ukraine‘s armed forces said its troops there had repelled 12 attacks by the Russian army between Friday and Saturday. The Ukrainians now were trying to “push back Russian army units as far as possible in order to make life easier for the (western) bank of the Kherson region, so that they get shelled less,” Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine‘s Southern Operational Command, said.
In response, the Russian military used “tactical aviation,” including Iranian-made Shahed exploding drones, to try to pin down Ukraine‘s troops, Humeniuk said.
The harrowing Ukraine war doc '20 Days in Mariupol' is coming to TV. Here's how to watch
The visceral documentary “20 Days in Mariupol ,” about Russia’s early assault on the Ukrainian city, will soon reach its widest audience yet.
The 94-minute film, a joint production by The Associated Press and PBS “Frontline,” has been met with critical acclaim and an audience award at the Sundance Film Festival.
AP journalist Mstyslav Chernov directed the movie from 30 hours of footage shot in Mariupol in the opening days of the war. Chernov and AP colleagues Evgeniy Maloletka, a photographer, and producer Vasilisa Stepanenko were the last international journalists in the city before escaping.
Ukraine says it is pushing Putin’s forces back in ‘successes’ on Dnipro River’s east bank
Saturday 18 November 2023 23:00 , Holly Evans
Ukrainian troops have pushed Russian soldiers out of positions on the eastern bank of the River Dnipro in the occupied Kherson region, Kyiv’s military said on Friday.
Crossing the Dnipro and transporting heavy military equipment and supplies over the river could allow Ukrainian troops to open a new line of attack in the south on the most direct land route to Crimea, which was seized and annexed by Russia in 2014.
The Ukrainian marines said that they had had a series of “successes”, established several bridgeheads and conducted other operations on the river’s eastern side. Russia conceded for the first time this week that Kyiv’s troops had crossed the Dnipro.
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Ukraine says it is pushing Russia back in ‘successes’ on Dnipro River’s east bank
Two dead in Russian strikes near front line
Saturday 18 November 2023 22:00 , Holly Evans
At least two people have died and several more were injured after Russian strikes hit a village near the front line in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukrainian police said.
The strikes occurred in the village of Komyshuvakha.
“As a result of the first two strikes, four local residents were injured and a fire broke out in a residential building,” Ukrainian police said in a statement.
“When the police and rescuers arrived at the scene, Russians conducted another strike. Two emergency service workers were killed, and three more were injured.”
The Moscow Times is declared 'foreign agent’
Saturday 18 November 2023 21:00 , Holly Evans
Russia ‘s Justice Ministry on Friday added The Moscow Times, an online newspaper popular among Russia’s expatriate community, to its list of “foreign agents” in the country’s continuing crackdown on critical news media and opposition.
The “foreign agent” designation subjects individuals and organizations to increased financial scrutiny and requires any of their public material to prominently include notice of being declared a foreign agent. The label is seen as a pejorative aimed at undermining the designees’ credibility.
The Moscow Times, noted for its English coverage of Russia, is declared a 'foreign agent'
Dozens of migrants wait at Finland-Russia border after Helsinki blocks crossings
Saturday 18 November 2023 20:00 , Holly Evans
Dozens of migrants stood behind barriers at two crossings on Finland’s border with Russia on Saturday, the Finnish Border Guard said, after Helsinki erected barricades to halt a flow of asylum seekers it says was instigated by Moscow.
The Finnish government has accused Russia of funnelling migrants to the crossings in retaliation for its decision to increase defence cooperation with the United States, an assertion dismissed by the Kremlin.
The Finnish Border Guard erected barriers from midnight on Friday at the Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala border posts in southeast Finland, which account for most of the traffic between the two countries.
Saturday 18 November 2023 19:00 , Holly Evans
Aftermath of a Russian drone attack in Zaporizhhzia region
Saturday 18 November 2023 17:52 , Jabed Ahmed
Pictures below show firefighters working at the site where houses were damaged by a Russian drone strike, in the Zaporizhzhia region on Friday night.
Ukrainian police said Russia fired a series of rockets at the village of Komyshuvakha, close to the frontline in Zaporizhzhia, which Russia annexed last year.
Two first responders were also killed by the rocket attacks.
Russian doctors call for release of imprisoned artist who protested Ukraine war
Saturday 18 November 2023 17:30 , Jabed Ahmed
More than 100 Russian doctors have signed an open letter today that demands the immediate release of Sasha Skochilenko, an artist and musician who was sentenced to seven years in prison for replacing supermarket price tags with anti-war slogans.
The letter calling for the artist to be freed was addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and warned that time in prison could lead to a “significant deterioration” in the 33-year-old artist’s health.
Skochilenko was “diagnosed with a number of severe chronic diseases that require proper medical supervision and a special diet,” states the letter, which also notes the doctors’ anger at the “obvious injustice of the verdict.”
Sasha Skochilenko, 33, a self-described pacifist, appeared in a St Petersburg court on 17 November after 19 months of pre-trial detention.
She was charged last April with discrediting Russia’s armed forces and spreading misinformation about the “special military operation”.
"The Russian army bombed an arts school in Mariupol. Some 400 people were hiding in it from the shelling," one replaced price tag read. Another said, "Russian conscripts are being sent to Ukraine. Lives of our children are the price of this war."
2023 billboard music awards' new digital-only format is a disastrous #fail: 'whoever's in charge... is getting fired'.
Fans blasted this year's experimental BBMAs — which was not a full-scale ceremony, or even a live-stream — as "tragic," "terrible," "embarrassing," "weird as hell" and "the dumbest excuse for an awards show."
How to watch the 2023 Billboard Music Awards now
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Brock Purdy torches Bucs with perfect game, and the 49ers look dominant again
The 49ers are hitting their stride ahead of a critical three-game stretch with two games against the Seahawks another against the Eagles.
Taylor Rapp is the latest Bills player to be taken off the field in an ambulance
The Bills have had multiple players suffer scary injuries, dating back to last season.
Seahawks lose lead RB Kenneth Walker III to non-contact oblique injury vs. Rams
Rookie Zach Charbonnet is the next man up if Walker misses extended time.
Despite Bears' loss, Justin Fields took first step toward a tough QB decision in Chicago
In his return from injury, Fields brought back an element of explosiveness that few players in the NFL are capable of producing. Will Chicago bet on that, or will it use its considerable 2024 draft capital to go in another direction?
Texas’ Max Abmas drills game-winner to lift No. 19 Longhorns past Louisville
The Longhorns will now take on No. 5 UConn in the Saatva Empire Classic championship on Monday night.
Utah QB Cameron Rising to return for 7th season of college football in 2024
Rising hasn't played at all in 2023 because of a knee injury he suffered in the Rose Bowl.
FedEx Field's hot water system fails in locker rooms, leaving Commanders and Giants without working showers
FedEx Field has yet another issue on its hands.
Jared Goff, Lions spark wild late comeback to sneak past Bears in Justin Fields' return
The Lions are now 8-2 for the first time since 1962.
Investors are pushing bank stocks higher. Analysts are urging caution.
Bank stocks are on pace for their best month in nearly three years. Analysts caution that a lot of uncertainty still lies ahead for the battered industry.
Kenny Pickett's struggles doom Steelers as Browns grind out 13-10 win without Deshaun Watson
Pittsburgh's defense wasn't enough to overcome Pickett's poor play on Sunday.
NFL late slate: Jets vs. Bills score, highlights, news, inactives and live updates
The Bills are desperate for a win in Week 11 after dropping two straight games.
NFL early slate: Steelers vs. Browns score, highlights, news, inactives and live updates
The Steelers will avoid Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson in Week 11.
Phillies, RHP Aaron Nola reportedly agree to 7-year, $172 million deal
Aaron Nola is staying with the Phillies, the only team he's ever known.
Syracuse fires head football coach Dino Babers
Dino Babers led Syracuse to a 10-win season back in 2018 but that was one of only two winning seasons the Orange had with Babers leading the program.
Nintendo Black Friday deals include a new Switch OLED bundle and discounted games
Nintendo's Black Friday deals for 2023 are now available, including a new Switch OLED bundle and discounts on popular Switch games.
The 50 best Black Friday deals at Walmart this weekend — Shark, Sony, Samsung and more
Score a 50-inch Vizio 4K smart TV for under $250, Lego building sets for over 50% off and much, much more.
China's neighbors are wooing American CEOs. The CEOs are listening.
Leaders from China's neighboring countries made their case for moving investments to other parts of Southeast Asia.
The best engine code readers of 2023
Engines can have problems that are difficult to diagnose. But with the help of an engine code reader, you can figure out exactly what is with a quick scan.