Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Writing Workshop: Quiet Ten {And Our CUTE Hall Display!}

When I still taught 1st/2nd grade, I read this book:
Find it on Amazon

...and it changed how I taught writing.

After moving to 3rd grade two years ago, I couldn't figure out a way to keep the structure in the book while still maintaining a rigorous writing instruction schedule appropriate for third graders, so I went back to some of my old habits of lots of whole class activities, no time for sharing, and lots of teacher directed feedback.

That all changed yesterday.

We started our narrative unit last week, which is my favorite writing unit to teach.  I've been doing a lot of direct instruction, sharing of mentor texts, and talking about features of good writing.  But I just wanted my kiddos to write!

So I pulled out the January narrative writing prompt from my Year-Long Writing Portfolio.

I copied them.

I taught a mini-lesson using a Robert Munsch book (so fab for a narrative study!).

Then I told the kiddos that, for the next 10 minutes everyone {yes, EVERYONE even me!} would be writing silently.  Meaning I would absolutely not be available for any reason {except blood or barfing!}.

The conversation went something like this...

Friends, I'm so excited!  Today you just get to write.  I don't care where you sit.  Sit under a table.  Lay on the floor.  Sit at the writing table.  Sit at my table.  For 10 whole minutes everyone in here... even ME!... will be writing.  And, at the end of the Quiet 10 (thanks for the name, Jennifer Jacobson book!), we'll have five whole minutes where kids can read their work.

The kids were so excited.

One of my little best friends even said at the end, "I never knew writing could be fun!".  And that about broke my heart!  I thought we had been having fun this whole time!

So, they were challenged to write to the prompt using the features of fictional narrative writing that we have been studying via our Robert Munsch author study.

And the results were AMAZING.

Ten minutes of 3rd graders not making a peep.

Quiet music flowing through the room.

Pencils feverishly writing.  Erasers flying.  Little heads bent over their papers... working so hard!

And sharing was even better.

I have them request a "star" and a "wish" from a classmate at the end of sharing.  A "star" is something a peer liked about the writing and a "wish" is something a peer wished had been done or a suggestion.

They took it so seriously, gave such great feedback, and begged me to let us have a Quiet 10 again today.

So, I did another Robert Munsch mini-lesson, did a BRIEF mini-lesson where I used what I wrote during the Quiet 10 yesterday to model how to use a carat to add words as I edited my piece, and then challenged them to use some carats as they revised and finished their narratives from yesterday today.

Friends... again.  It was beautiful.

Silent kids.  Pencils flying.  Carats being inserted all over the place to add descriptions.

During our five minutes of sharing, everyone wanted to read and they were so so so proud!  And I was so so so impressed!

They couldn't wait to show me where they used carats and how they added fictional narrative characteristics to their writing...

It was very cool.

So, the Quiet 10 is back to stay, I'm happy to report!

I'd highly recommend the book.  It's a great read, full of mini-lesson ideas, and perfect for giving your writing instruction a jumpstart!

Click the pics to check out these two resources I'm currently using for more info on my narrative unit!  And you can click the pic of the book above to see it on Amazon.

Last... we did this CUTE hallway display this week.  I saw this on Crisscross Appleasuce in 1st Grade's Instagram... love that girl, by the way!

We had so much fun making these.  I happened to have some felt snowflake stickers so each kiddo got to put one on their tongue!

Can you see the one that my little best friend made?  He just marches to his own beat  {He said, "Are you crazy? I'm making Mario, not me!"}... but he did the project and *for the most part* followed directions, so that's a win for me!  Ha!


  1. I loved reading this post... thank you for sharing and reminding me what writing should look like! I have been a horrible writing teacher this year! I'm trying hard to maintain a writer's workshop, but am having a hard time balancing it with Common Core and a district mandated writing curriculum. I miss getting to the heart of writing! Writing should be fun :-)

    Seconds at the Beach

  2. Great post Christina! I love me some Writer's Workshop!
    :) Shelley
    The Perks of Teaching Primary

  3. Love, love, love that book! I read it earlier this year and some major lightbulbs went off. I really like the mini-lesson ideas in it. I recommended it to my teammates and they fell in love, too. I really struggle with writing workshop, and I'm always looking for new ideas. Thank you for sharing!
    Colleen :-)
    Fun and Fearless in First

  4. I read this book over the summer and have been doing writing like this all year. I love the quiet 10 minutes filled with music and my third graders writing the entire time. It took me a while to get comfortable with me writing during that time (instead of preparing other lessons or grading papers) but having my writing ready to share has been great. Love that other teachers are using it and it's working!

  5. Awesome! What kind of music do you play during writing time? I have wanted to try this but just can't figure out what music to play!

  6. Your blog is SOO fun and adorable!! I love it - it's so cheerful! :) I also l-o-v-e that book. I've read it twice and use it in my classroom. The quiet 10 time is manageable for all students and long enough to allow them to really dig into their thinking and writing. Sounds like you have some fabulous writers in your class! :) Thanks for the great mini lesson ideas. :) - Christina

  7. Thanks for Posting ! first time I have found a genuine post related to Interactive Displays


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