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Caitlyn Mauck

ENG 315-02
Final Exam Essays
1. Reviewing the reading and classroom discussions throughout the semester, what are the
essential elements of a writing workshop? Consider the activities, the way time is spent,
the way writing is done and shared. In an essay, give an overview of writing workshop in
action, and then discuss each of the essential elements, explaining what makes it
important to the writing workshop experience as a whole. Be sure to refer specifically to
the reading you have done this semester.
a. The essential elements of a writing workshop are teacher-student conferences,
mini-lessons, and student choice. Mini-lessons are taught to whole class, and take
no longer than 15 minutes. Topics may include choosing a topic, punctuation,
forming a paragraph, literature forms such as poetry, narrative, persuasive
essays, etc. These lessons should focus on topics that are useful for the whole
class as new content or as review for content that seems to be a continuing
struggle. Aside from mini-lessons, most instruction and correction should be done
in student conferences where the teacher meets individually with students about
their writing. Students should ask questions and express their challenges to the
teacher during this time. The teacher uses this time to understand student concerns
with their writing and to make suggestions for revision. This is also a great time
for teachers to get to know the students strengths and weaknesses for writing and
focus attention on improvements. Students should be choosing their own topics,
as well as appropriate writing styles. This engages students in their writing and
helps them find a sense of ownership and pride in their work. While students
should be responsible for their own writing, teacher-directed writing is also fine.
For instance, Sloan suggests that students continually have a work of their own
choosing, but also to have another working piece focused on a genre of the
teachers choosing or whatever is the topic of study at the time. It is perfectly fine
for students to work on multiple drafts simultaneously in order to put their best
efforts into each piece.
2. Why study authors in the writing workshop? What do students gain from paying close
attention to published texts and doing research on authors? Support your points with
references to readings.
a. Author study is a great way to introduce students to new writing styles and
practices. Students often become inspired by published authors works and work
to imitate their style or voice to sound similar to their favorite authors. For
instance, students studying Dr. Seuss may work on writing pieces that emphasize
rhyme and use made up words to achieve rhyme, which they probably wouldnt
do normally. When students study published texts, they are able to focus on a
variety of literary techniques, such as word choice, sentence structure, or topic
development which are things difficult to teach in isolation from texts. As
students see published authors using certain techniques they are also learning
about, they have a better opportunity to engage with meaningful representations
and interact with the context. Sloan also suggests that this is a good opportunity to
encourage students to reflect on their writing and how they can make it better.
Also, studying works by a published author helps children realize a connection
between authors and themselves. Students are brilliant and with the nurture of
positive writing instruction, they can aspire to be published writers too who
continue through the same publishing process of beginning, revising, editing and
sharing their works.