Jul 3, 2013

A Win, A Loss, and a "PRICELESS" Cost {Workshop Wednesday}

A new linky and an old favorite!  I'm linking up with Digital: Divide & Conquer and Third Grade Galore today to share a Win, a Loss, and a thing of Cost for the debut of their new party!  I wouldn't miss it.  :)
I'm also fitting in a few workshop tools that are PRICELESS to me as the "Cost" part of that linky.  :)  That's where JIVEY and her Workshop Wednesday party starts to happen!  It's a two for one party special! :)
FIRST A WIN!  If you read my post yesterday you might be a bit tired of me talking about my son and his swim team buddies!  They broke 2 local relay records and we are so proud!  It's a double win for me because I took that opportunity to introduce him to blogging since he will be in my class next year.  (yikes!)
He posted about it here using KIDBLOG, and I left this post open for encouraging comments from an authentic writing community!  It is open to all bloggers and non-bloggers, but I will need to approve all comments, so your comments may not load immediately.  Feel free to click over and model how real writers support each other! A big SHOUT OUT to all the readers that have already commented!  You guys are so supportive and wonderful, and now my son feels your support too!

NEXT A LOSS!  Rain, rain, go away!  Other than practice, we've had very little time to enjoy the pool this summer.  You would think that staying away from the pool would have helped me get lots done on my to-do list, but so far that hasn't been the case.  Where has the time gone?

NOW FOR A "PRICELESS" COST:  I could go on and on about the things I couldn't live without during our workshop time!  I'll make a list and try to keep it short.  :)

  1. STRUCTURE ~ In my opinion you can not run an effective workshop without a solid structure.  A workshop model in itself, requires a lot of freedom, movement, and trust.  Because of this, students must understand that the behavior and participation lines are drawn firmly.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I use something called "Workbook World" if a child is not on task during our workshop.  I can honestly say that after 2 years of our workshop model, I have only used Workbook World twice. Each time I pulled a student from a station for being off task.  He worked alone with a basal and a workbook for the rest of that day.  This firm example spoke volumes to the rest of the class, and a friendly reminder was all I needed after those incidents.  ;)  STAND FRIENDLY BUT FIRMLY with your policies, and they will follow if engaged! :)
  2. ENGAGEMENT ~ I also can't say enough about engagement.  Workshops simply won't work if students aren't engaged.  Make sure your stations are engaging, or many problems will follow.
  3. POCKET CHARTS ~ As you see above, I use pocket charts and rotation cards to manage our time together.  I meet with each child during a small group meeting each day.  A more detailed explanation of the pocket chart can be found here.  
  4. WELL ORGANIZED NOTEBOOKS ~ Students need to know what to do and where to do it when they are in stations, so that they don't need to interrupt small group meetings.  Well organized notebooks help us with this.  You can read about our notebooks here and here.  
Our Literacy Workshop is the heart of our classroom.  If you would like to read more about our Workshop,  you may click here and here.  


Don't forget to click over and visit the other two parties that are going on right now!  
Visit Digital: Divide & Conquer or Third Grade Galore for Win, Loss, and a Cost.  
And we can't forget the wonderful Workshop Wednesday being hosted at Ideas by Jivey.  Today's focus is Workshop Tools.

Thanks for reading!
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  1. You are so right about structure! I know that, ideally, we'd hope to never pull out the workbook for "those" kids, but you're right. All it takes is making an example of one, and the rest of the kids get the picture QUICKLY. Thanks for linking up!! :)
    ideas by jivey
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  2. You are right, structure is so important. I know I spend the first few weeks of school establishing the structure of my workshop with my kiddos. Taking the time to do it at the beginning of the year saves so much time later on!

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  3. "Stand friendly but firmly." I like that! Great point about the engaging activities. My class last year was unnaturally obsessed with "write the room." They knew if they misbehaved, they would have to sit out and do an alternative assignment. I don't think I ever had to say one word to a child because they didn't want to miss out on that station! BTW, I'm super glad you're coming to the Atlanta meet up. I'll be there, too! Looking forward to meeting you!

    Amanda @
    Teacher at the Wheel

  4. I love your "Workbook World" phrase. I had one student this year that I had to take away "free choice" from and instead it was my choice and he mostly had to stay at his desk. This worked wonders but I think the Workbook would make an even firmer statement! I have to check out how you organize your notebooks because I could really improve on that! Thanks for sharing so many AWESOME tips!!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  5. I think we all do the "workbook example" in our classrooms at some point with students...because it usually just takes one time that they miss out on the fun and that's it! I'm with ya!

    I love that you included engagement because that is so true! If they are no engaged, then look out! We can't be successful if we are spending our entire time putting out fires!

    Lots of great tips!
    Collaboration Cuties

  6. Congrats to your son! You must be so proud. The weather here in Chicago has not been summer weather and I don't like it one bit! Hopefully that changes for all of us soon. I will definitely be using "Workbook World" in my class next year. I love it! Thanks for linking up. Happy 4th.

    Third Grade Galore

  7. Love your post today Brandee! So happy for your son. What an accomplishment! Your information about your workshop is so right on the money especially the engagement. It is a must have in the workshop! Thanks for sharing so many wonderful tips!
    Beach Sand and Lesson Plans

  8. Thank you for sharing your workshop activities. This is the first time that I am seeing this, so I am excited to check out all of your posts about it. Have a good one!
    Teaching 3rd with Mr. G

  9. I love your posts, always so much good information or just reminders or confirmations!! Structure is essential, sometimes I feel pressure to move on and get things going but have to remind myself that the time I put in at the beginning will have big payoffs down the road.

  10. My pool has also been very lonely this summer! :( I'm sure it will warm up in August, right when I have to go back to work! Oh well...:)

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  11. Thanks for the great tips! I always forget how much patience and modeling is needed at the beginning of the year to get things running smoothly. Excited to check out the posts you linked up about your workshop model.

    iTeach 1:1

  12. I think that is just great that so many teachers stopped by and were supporting him. That was such a cool idea and you should be commended for it. It never surprises what a little encouragement can do for any kids, even when they least expect it.

    In the Chicago area we have had a lot of rain but I'll be honest....I've kind of enjoyed it. Grass is green and weather is really nice. Last year it was unbearable (plus my girls are taking swim lessons indoors so really can complain.

    Thanks so much for linking up
    Digital: Divide & Conquer

  13. What a great reminder about the importance of structure and engagement...so true!

    Lizzy from *The Teacher Chick*

  14. Great post! Enjoyed reading about your workshop time and so agree with the need for structure yet freedom. Also, congrats to our sun and his team. My grandson is starting his second round of swimming lessons on Monday, and I hope he is interested in swimming competitively as he gets older. :0) The new linky looks great--will have to jump on the bandwagon...

    Take care--
    Sarah @ Hoots N Hollers


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