Writers Workshop

What is Writer’s Workshop?

Writers Workshp in Pre-K

Writers Workshop in Pre-K

It is built on a framework that allows students the opportunity to write each day.  It involves the teacher giving a brief mini-lesson followed by practice on the skill taught.  The slide below outlines in more details what is involved in writer’s workshop.


Slide Outlines More About Writier’s Workshop


Weekly Plan for Writier’s Workshop

In the link below you will find a comprehensive plan for implementing “Writer’s Workshop” in  your Pre-K or Kindergarten classrooms.  It is one of the best that I have come across. I found the plans to be very realistic in terms of where many of the students are at when they arrive in our classrooms.  You can move through this process as your students become more competent in their writing ability.  I realize this document is a draft and refers to outdated standards but I feel it is still very current and can easily transfer.  I was very impressed on how the plans flow and how they are based on realistic expectations.


Implementing Writer’s Workshop


Realistic Expectations

Writing-Progression-pre-kIn my last blog post I discussed how teachers must be realistic about student expectations, regardless of curriculum standards.  It is not uncommon for students to enter our classrooms never having the opportunity to hold a pencil, cut with scissors or unable to print their names.  The first few weeks or even a month is devoted to addressing these concerns and writing expectations must reflect this.  Unfortunately, in the computer age many students are arriving with even more delayed fine-motor abilities than in the past.  This does not make our jobs easier in moving forward faster.

In the link below you will find a more detailed description related to the stages of a child’s writing.


Child’s Writing Stages



Hearing Sounds Within Words and Associating to Correct Letter

In lessons 20 and beyond the children learn how to use the alphabet chart and stretch sounds in the link I provided above.  Hearing sounds within words is a very difficult task for young children.  It is a challenge for them to hear beginning sounds in words and then associate this with the correct letter and now we are asking them to go beyond this.  We have to remember that this was an area that use to be reserved for grade one and has filtered down.  The majority of the children can do this task but not independently.  I spend up until the end of January focussing on beginning sounds but also introduce letters and sounds heard in the middle and end of words for those who might be ready.  The majority of my students cannot competently hear initial letter sounds and associate these with the correct letters until the end of January.   I would wait to introduce lessons 20 and beyond in the later half of the year.

In observing my students I also learned that they need a letter formation guide with a picture clue of what sound that letter makes because they forget when required to transfer this to a writing situation.  Lesson 20 is devoted to teaching the students how to use this guide (displayed below).  If you are a member, you can login to your account and find this guide under the heading “Alphabet Program” and scroll down to “Alphabet Pictures”.

Alphabet Writing Guide

Alphabet Writing Guide


Guided Writing

In the later half of the year when I see my students are ready to apply what they learned about letter and sounds and moving into more conventional writing practices, I often forego guided reading groups and replace these with guided writing.  When they are learning to stretch out words (Lesson 22) it is unrealistic to expect them to do this independently.  Small groups helps relieve frustration and fosters greater individual progress. It also allows me to assess their ability.


Writing and the Common Core

I feel the standards outlined in this document cover the “Common Core” except for W.K. 6, 7 and 8.  These common core standards refer to research and informational content.  These can easily met and incorporated during your studies later in the year which might include Dinosaurs, Plants, Ocean Life, Zoo or Bugs.  Once the students have gone through the acitivities outlined within this document, I feel they have a solid foundation for extending what they have learned into other areas of writing.


What are your thoughts on this issue?


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Pre-K Math – Counting and Cardinality

 Math and Literacy Integration



This week I was able to integrate Language Arts, Math and Music.  I find this integration so critical in helping meet the outcomes.  In reading the emergent reader “Ape Counts Apples” the students learned the following when we worked through the reader during shared (projected on the Smart Board) and guided reading:

1.  Identify the letters “Tt” and “Aa” and their corresponding sounds which were introduced in context from reading the reader together.

2.  The letter “Aa” is special because it makes two sounds like in the words “ape” and “apples”.  It is called a vowel.

3.  The difference between a word and a number.

4.  Left to right progression when reading and what a word is.  Most of my students can circle words correctly and track them this way.  We are working towards tracking words without the use of circles.Emergent-Reader-Apes-Apples

5.  Identifying numbers 1-10.

6.  During guided reading, I was able to see what students were able to display one-to-one number correspondence association by drawing the correct amount of apples indicated in the text.  Many of my students were not able to read all the numbers but they could draw the correct amount when told.  We will obviously need to work more on number recognition.

7.  We watched an informational video about apes, since many students would not necessarily be familiar with them.


Sometimes we don’t realize how much we accomplish in a day.  When I reflect back on how much we learned just from this single activity; I feel a greater sense of accomplishment.  It is important that we do this reflection each day.


Follow-up Literacy Center Activities

There are 5 – 6 students per group that rotate.

Center One

Practice printing the letters “Tt” and “Aa’.


Literacy Sound Sorting

Literacy Sound Sorting

Center Two – Sensory Bins Sound Sorting

Objects that begin with the sounds “Rr, Ff, Tt and Aa” are placed in the dry rice and soy beans sensory bins.  Students dig and sort the objects accordingly.  If you are a member, you can use the picture cards found under the headings “Alphabet Program” and “Alphabet Pictures” instead.


Literacy Sound Game

Spin and Print Sounds

Center Three – Spin and Print

Each partner takes a turn spinning a top and printing the letter “t” or “a” according to the picture they landed on.




Center Four – Letter Match

Partners take turns drawing a picture/letter card and matching it to the letters found in the pocket charts.  They must also say the name of the letter if they know it. The picture cards are related to the characters they will be introduced to when using the emergent readers and in the song video below.  These picture cards can be found in the member’s area under “Reading” and “Literacy Centers”.


Alphabet Song Video


Fabulous Math Freebies

In each newsletter I provide a fabulous freebie.  In the link below you will find a link to some math freebies.


Math Freebies 


Article About Teaching Sight Words

During this time of year, I do not focus on teaching sight words because my students are not ready for this yet.  They are being exposed to them during our shared and guided reading but I would not expect them to memorize them.  I read an article written by a K-12 Language Arts specialist on this topic and I totally agree with her point of view.


Common Core Reading Foundational Standards – Where Do Dolch Sight Words Fit In?


Your Comments Appreciated – Win Free Theme Unit!

One or two individuals will be chosen to win access to the “Apples and Numbers”  theme unit just for posting a comment on how you teach sight words or if you feel it is even appropriate in kindergarten.  I am also intersted in hearing your thoughts even if Apples-Naumber-Theme-Pageyou already have access to the theme unit.   There are so many different opinions and expectations in terms of which ones should be taught, how many or even if it is appropriate to teach them at the kindergarten level.


Post your comment and e-mail me your name and e-mail address after, letting me know that you are interested in accessing the “Apples and Numbers” theme.  I will contact you if you were chosen.  Thanks for posting!  E-mail sent to:




What Are Your Thoughts About Teaching Sight Words?  Win Access to the “Apples and Numbers Theme Unit” Just for Posting Your Thoughts!

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