They say the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. My problem is fear. I am afraid to go 100% whole-hog into workshop methods. There. I said it. I’m probably at 80%. OK, ok. Probably more like 50%. And I know the reason I don’t do it is a fear of giving up control. Control of what? I’m not sure since half of the time I feel like I have no control whatsoever over their curriculum. I think it’s just fear of loss of the semblance of control. But I do know that over the course of my 14 years in the classroom, the most successful lessons I’ve ever done have come on the days when I let my gut and my students guide the course of our curriculum.
This is also the time of the year when I start thinking about what has worked and what I’d like to change for the next school year you know, before I forget all of those marvelous ideas that strike me AFTER I’ve finished the unit. So I really want to take the plunge and go all-in next school year. My school this year is much more supportive of lit groups. I am confident in my ability to help my students learn to love reading more and choose books that are right for them.
It is the writing workshop piece that I struggle with. I feel like I don’t have a good system to help students choose writing pieces. I also know that my students struggle with the motivation to write, even when they are choosing their own pieces. And, ultimately, I know I don’t write enough with them.
I have lots of ideas that I’ve tried once or twice but have always been too scared to stick to them for long. I’ve done Readers & Writers notebooks. I’ve done 3 days of writing and 2 days of reading and vice versa. Ultimately, I’m just dedicated to constantly improving and doing the best I can to create real readers and writers. So, I’m open to suggestions. What methods work for you and your students?