Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Freebie: Writer's Workshop Management

Pinterest is doing awful amazing things for my summer productivity...

Today's freebie is a bit of a DIY because I attempted to be crafty this week! Perhaps this will inspire some of you to be crafty as well.

I teach writer's workshop every day in my classroom, and one of the big things that I constantly deal with is managing my students in the writing process. When I first started teaching, I made a wheel that had the different stages of the writing process on it, and the students each had clothespins to attach. I liked the wheel, but it wasn't big enough. When we started a project, for example, I'd have all of my students in the "pre-writing" stage, and there wasn't enough space to have all of the clothespins there without spilling over into another section. It was kind of a mess.

As I entered the technology age (or rather, as my classroom entered the technology age...I was already there...), I had the students show where they were in the writing process using a template on our interactive whiteboard. It worked well in theory, but usually I'd have materials from our mini-lesson that I'd want to leave projected while the students were writing, and I couldn't project that AND the writing process template. So it was back to the drawing board...

This is what I came up with...

I'm going to punch a hole in the top of "pre-writing" and hang it up in an easily accessible spot in the classroom. Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out -- especially since I'm not typically very crafty! It's not too large -- about 18" x 18" and it's in the blue/green color scheme I've decided to use in my classroom this year.

Here's what you need to make your own:

To build the wheel:

To fit the pieces together:
  • Duck Tape
  • 8 Bamboo Skewers (optional -- you may find a better assembly method. I just used what was easily accessible at home...)
To keep track of students throughout the process:
  • 30 Mini Clothespins

Here are the steps I took to build my writing process wheel.
1. Trace your cake circle onto the white side of a piece of scrapbook paper. (I used 12" scrapbook paper, and I had a lot of waste since I could only use one circle per page).
2. Cut out your circle leaving about a 1" margin along the outside of the circle. This doesn't need to be exact, but you're going to want to cut a circle that's about 8" in diameter. (See picture below). Then, cut strips along the outside of the circle into the line that you traced around the cake circle to create a fringe effect. This will make it easier to wrap the scrapbook paper around the cake circle.
3. Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the brown/unfinished side of the cake circle and affix it to the white side of the scrapbook paper.
4. Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge along the outer inch of cake circle, and begin folding over the flaps of scrapbook paper all the way around the circle, adding more Mod Podge as necessary to keep the flaps down.
5. Allow the Mod Podge to dry completely.
6. Cut out the pieces of the Writing Process Descriptors Template to affix to the front side of the cake circles.
7. If the cake circles are completely dry, flip them over so the front side is facing you. Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the front side, and carefully place the Writing Process cutouts so that there is one on each cake circle. Carefully smooth out the edges and apply a small amount of additional Mod Podge to the top of the cake circle using your foam brush. (Be careful not to press down too much or use too much Mod Podge. I had some issues with it causing the color from my templates to bleed a little bit when I wasn't careful.)
8. Once you've affixed the templates to the 7 cake circles, it's time to arrange the steps of the writing process and begin fastening them all together. I used bamboo skewers and duck tape, but you may find a better process that works for you. I'm not exactly a master of crafty construction. :-) Here's how mine looked, and please remember that it's the BACK of my finished work, so no one besides you will ever really be looking at it!
9. Finally, I numbered the mini clothespins from 1 to 30, and clipped them to the pre-writing stage. Once I'm able to move it back into my classroom, I'll also punch a hole in the top and hang it from a ring beneath one of my bulletin boards.
So there you have it! One of my most recent attempts at craftiness! To get your copy of the FREE Writing Process descriptors, visit my TpT store. And while you're there, you might want to check out my Colorful Class Schedule Cards that I'll be using this year. (I report back in a little over a month, y'all. Can you believe that?!? I'll have kiddos in my room on August 1! Lots to prepare and share between now and then!)

What projects are you working on or hoping to work on for your classroom? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Have a great Friday!


  1. Great job! It looks terrific.

  2. Wow, Alison! That is so cute! Thanks for sharing.

  3. What a terrific freebie! I love your dotted duck tape! :)
    Thank you for sharing this at TBA and linking up!
    Fern Smith’s Classroom Ideas!
    Fern Smith’s Pinterest Boards!

  4. What a great idea and it saves space too! I am so going to make this for my classroom. Thank you!

  5. I used to use the stages of the writing workshop with a chart. However, the steps overlap and don't move in a linear directions most of the time; students get the wrong idea about authentic writing. I keep a checklist and monitor through conferences and a walk about. Students let me know by clothespins when they need a conference or when they are peer conferencing with one of two of their assigned students. Very simple and easy to keep up with!

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