Differentiation Within Writing Workshop

“I love Writing Workshop because I get to write about things that I like,” Ella, a 1st grade student, said with a smile. Jacksonville Country Day School’s new writing curriculum is differentiated to students’ individual needs. As students progress at their own pace through writing exercises, their development is supported by ongoing assessment and targeted coaching.
In Writing Workshop, students are introduced to new writing strategies during lessons using mentor texts to model an author’s craft. Students then choose a topic within the genre being taught and spend about 30 minutes composing. As students write, their teacher confers with them, modeling a writing strategy that will improve a student’s craft. The student and teacher then establish a writing goal, which is implemented within the writing session. This differentiated instruction provides children with the kind of support, instruction, and tasks they need to meet and exceed goals.
Studies have confirmed that Writing Workshop helps students become enthusiastic writers because of the seamless coordination of ongoing assessment and differentiation. Writing Workshop creates dynamic, synergistic teaching, and impressive growth in students’ writing. 
“I used to not like writing, but now I love bringing my stories to life, sharing my stories with friends, and listening to their work,” explains 5th grader Eliana. 
Writing Workshop encourages flexibility and differentiation in processes, content, and product. Not only do students choose their own topics to write about, but they may also choose the process of drafting, revising, or editing during the workshop. They are also encouraged to reflect on their work from the perspective of a reader. They confer with a fellow student to receive feedback on their piece, use a student checklist to ensure they are applying all strategies taught, and revise their work by incorporating feedback.  

“I now captivate a reader by adding internal thoughts, dialogue, unfreezing characters, and by adding details that reveal a character’s motives,” 6th grader Sebastian said, while his classmates Ryan, Ella, Michelle, Trey, and Zain enthusiastically agree when asked how they have grown as writers.

We are excited about the progress that our Kindergarten through 6th grade students have made in writing thanks to this differentiated instruction. We look forward to sharing and celebrating their writing with you throughout the year!

— 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.