Writers Workshop

The power and force of writing is its ability to change the world.  Digital writing is writing that is taken to the web – launching itself to a bigger audience of both readers and writers.  It harnesses the power of technology to engage,  to explore, to invite into conversation, to deepen understandings through a multi-sensory venue.  This page along with all of the posts categorized under “WRITING” will carry the reflective journey.  You can also go to Digital Sandbox wiki for more details.

Providing Choice or Writing that Holds Passion

  • Using “Writing Territories” is a good starting point for providing choice in writing.  A good explanation of the process can be found here.
  • What’s worth the effort?  When students have multiple pieces of writing, they can choose which one they wish to take to the next level.  Not every draft is worthy of the energy needed to revise.

Mini-Lessons that Take Off

  • Mini lessons provide a 10-minute intense teaching injection on a specific topic with lots of time for practice and assessment.  These range in topics from making writing come alive, going deeper, using time to speed up and slow down the pace of the story, revising as a safe place to play with language, assessing…
    • Use Details to extend, expand, go deeper
    • Revision is not editing – play with language
    • Time elements – “speeding up in the boring parts, slowing down in the exciting parts”
    • Persuasion as a skill
    • Conventions

Using Mentor Texts / Touchstone texts

  • Use ‘mentor texts’ as examples of strong writing.  These provide the platforms to strive and anchors our own attempts.  Click here for some examples.


  • Considered the ‘powerhouse’ of writing workshop, these conversations can be between teacher to student, student to peers, student to parent or any other creative combination.  What holds all of these in common is the goal of ‘meaningful engagement’ and ‘writing that challenges one to become stronger writers’.
    • “I was inspired by…”
    • Organization of conversations – We all have these to keep us organized, help us remember what we talked to the student about, help us with our next focus lesson.
  • Using Plan Boxes – such a little thing but pays off in huge dividends in keeping the students organized in their writing focus

Choosing the Platform for Writing

  • Google Docs is the most flexible in terms of incorporating the entire “digital writing workshop” process. While accounts must be created, the ability to invite editors, the focus of conferring embedded in the highlighter and comment features make this an incredibly powerful tool to promote writing of any sort.  *We recommend using Google Docs.  [*Please contact our team if you would like to be part of our Google Apps for Education.)
  • Blogs offer a flexible web presence with a threaded discussion feature that works well with supporting writing.  Its ability to include images, audio, and video allows for easy differentiation. Literature Circles or Information circles is a great example of response writing with a blog platform.  Our sd41 blog uses the best of wordpress coding and is constantly being updated with special features.
  • Wikis provide a large open page for developing the collaborative writing process (allowing images, video, audio, commenting/revision history) all in an environment that is published to the world.  Some good wiki platforms are: pbworks, wikispaces, google wiki

Click for Assessment and Organization