Students’ Stories Come to Life at JCDS

JCDS students are bubbling over with intriguing stories to tell, and their ideas are coming to life as our students live like authors by jotting down thoughts for stories in notebooks throughout their day and participating in a daily Writing Workshop.
“This is amazing! I can write about what I want to! I also never used to revise my work, but now I study my writing from the point of view of a reader and revise. For example, when I wrote about WWII, I reorganized my topics into groups with common themes. My writing also got a lot better when I learned to write a few introductions and conclusions for the same piece, and then choose the best one,” Hudson, a 4th grade JCDS student, said

Lucy Calkins and her colleagues from the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University published the Writing Units of Study after researching the habits of accomplished writers. They developed a curriculum and piloted it in schools throughout the country over the past few decades. Today, this writing curriculum includes an effective methodology that not only helps students become passionate writers, but also thinkers and learners.

JCDS teachers piloted the program last year, and teachers’ enthusiasm for Writing Workshop was unanimous after they witnessed their students’ growth in just a matter of weeks. “Writing Workshop sparks students’ love for writing because students are able to write about topics of their choice within a genre, receive ongoing feedback, and share their writing on a daily basis,” Ms. Thompsen,  a 2nd Grade Teacher, explained.

We are excited to announce that next school year, all students in Kindergarten through 6th grade will participate in Writing Workshop and study narrative, information and opinion writing. As students progress through the grades, they will apply each genre’s craft with increased complexity. Each day, students will begin Writing Workshop by studying a specific writing strategy through mentor text. Students will then be provided with an opportunity to apply the skills they learn by drafting and revising several pieces. By the end of the unit, each student will choose their favorite piece to edit and publish. A culminating end of the unit event, celebrating their work as authors, takes place in each classroom where work is shared with parents and/or peers.

During Writing Workshop, the buzz in the room is palpable as students engage with each other, sharing their stories and reflecting on how to effectively revise their work to convey their intended meaning. Through the writing process, not only do students learn how to hone their writing, but they also learn about each other, and a sense of community is strengthened.

During the year, parents will be invited to hear our students’ voices through their stories, learn about their passions, and discover their opinions. We look forward to sharing our students’ remarkable stories with you and are excited about supporting your children as they become prolific authors!

Tricia Finkenberg
Learning Design and Curriculum Coordinator

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Located In Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville Country Day School is a private school for Pre-K 3 through 6th grade. JCDS prepares students for a healthy and productive lifetime of intellectual exploration, character development, and social responsibility.