Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Chalk Talk-Writing Workshop

We recently had our monthly staff meeting around Lucy Calkins and writing workshop.  The reading department decided it would be beneficial to do a chalk talk around three questions regarding writing workshop.  A Chalk Talk is a silent way to do reflection, generate ideas, check on learning, develop projects of solve problems. It can be used productively with any group-students, faculty, workshop participants, committees. Because it is done completely in silence, it gives groups a change of pace and encourages thoughtful contemplation. It can be an unforgetable experience.


We began our meeting by explaining the chalk talk process and then dividing the staff into a K-2 group and a 3-5 group.  

Our questions were:
  • What are essential elements within a writing workshop?
  • What barriers get in the way from making writing time effective?
  • What types of supports are needed to guide your teaching of writing?

Below are the charts for 3-5.

This is the three completed charts for K-2.

After the chalk talk activity, we got back into our grade level teams and reflected on this process and the questions that were asked. Many times the theme of "time" was repeated over and over. This had to do with lack of time: to plan, to write, to collaborate, to conference, to watch models of writing, etc. 
The reading team discussed this at length and will be coaching some of the teachers through this area of struggle to brainstorm ways we can get past this deficit of time and how to move our students forward as writers in a way that is positive.