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7th Grade 2013 - 2014


Reading and Writing Workshops:

To start the year, the classes will be following a Reading and Writing Workshop model, following the examples of Nancie Atwell.

Rules For Reading Workshop


1. You must read a book.  Magazines, newspapers, and comic books don’t have the chunks of text you need to develops fluency, and they won’t help you discover who you are as a reader of literature.


2. Don’t read a book you don’t like.  Don’t waste time with a book you don’t love when there are so many great ones out there waiting for you.


3. If you don’t like your book, find another one.  Browse, ask me or a friend for a recommendation, or check the “Favorite Books” list or display.


4. It’s all right to reread a book you love.  This is what readers do.  


5. It’s okay to skim or skip parts if you get bored or stuck; readers do this, too.


6. Record every book you finish or abandon on the form in your Reader’s Notebook.  Collect data about yourself as a reader, look for patterns, and take satisfaction in your accomplishments over time.


7. Understand that reading is thinking.  Do nothing to distract me or other readers.  Don’t put your words into our brains as we’re trying to escape into the worlds created by the authors of our books.


8. When you confer with me, use as soft a voice as I use when I talk to you: whisper!


9. Read (and write in your reading notebook) the whole time.


10. Read as well and as much as you can.


Rules for Writing Workshop

1. Save everything: it’s all part of the history of the piece of writing, and you never know when or where you might want to use it.


2. Date and label everything you write to help you keep track of what you’ve done (e.g., notes, draft #1, brainstorming).


3. When a piece of writing it finished, clip everything together, including the drafts, notes, lists, editing check sheet, and peer conference form, and file it in your permanent writing folder.


4. Record every piece of writing you finish on the form in your permanent writing folder.  Collect data about yourself as a writer, look for patterns, and take satisfaction in your accomplishments over time.


5. Write on one side of the paper only and always skip lines or type double-spaced.  Both will make revision, polishing, and editing easier and more productive for you.


6. Draft your prose writing in sentences and paragraphs.  Draft your poems in lines and stanzas.  Don’t go back into a mess of text and try to create order.  Format as you go.


7. Get into the habit of punctuating and spelling as conventionally as you can while you’re composing: this is what writers do.


8. When composing on the word processor, print at least every two days.  Then read the text with a pen in your hand, away from the computer, and see and work with the whole, rather than a part at a time on the screen.


9. Get into the habit of beginning each workshop be reading what you’ve already written.  Establish where you are in the piece and pick up the momentum.


10.  Understand that writing is thinking.  Do nothing to distract me or other writers.  Don’t put words into our brains as we’re struggling to find our own.


11.  When you confer with me, use as soft a voice as I use when I talk to you: whisper.


12.  When you confer with peers, use a conference area and record responses on a peer-conference form so the writer has a reminder of what happened.


13.  Maintain your proofreading list and refer to it when you self-edit.


14.  Self-edit in a color different from the print of your text and complete and editing checksheet to show what you know about conventions of writing.


15.  Write as well and as much as you can.


 Lessons that Change Writers

Nancie Atwell
Center for Teaching and Learning

A teacher since 1973, Nancie Atwell teaches seventh- and eighth-grade reading, writing, and history at the Center for Teaching and Learning, a K-8 demonstration school she founded in Edgecomb, Maine, in 1990. Her seminal book about workshop teaching, In the Middle, won the NCTE David H. Russell Award and the MLA Mina Shaughnessy Prize for distinguished research in the teaching of English. She is also the author of Lessons That Change Writers, Naming the World: A Year of Poems and Lessons, and Side by Side: Essays on Teaching to Learn, to name a few. She lives in Maine.




Some of our Mini Lessons:

1. Cracking Open Your Writing - How to add those small, sensory details that make writing great.

2. Writing Small - Another look at adding sensory details to a piece.   How to focus in on one section of a piece and adding as much detail as possible.

3. Leads - Looking at different ways to begin a piece of writing; dialogue, action, questions, etc.

4. Circular Endings - Ending your piece in the same scene as the one you started with.

5. Where to Begin - Ways to begin a piece of writing when you feel "stuck" or can't think of what to do next.

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