Reading Writing Workshop


Students talking about individual book choices, an important component of Reading Writing Workshop.


After talking to each other about books, students often choose to put their classmate’s book on their own “To Be Read” list.

Yes, I am posting on a Sunday again, but, no, this post was not “on time.” What? you might be wondering. I didn’t realize there WAS an “on time.” Doing anything routinely goes against my nature, but I have pushed myself to try and publish my posting on this blog in a routine manner.

For four Sundays, I found myself engaged and at my computer, pushing out yet another blog post inspired by something that occurred in my classroom. I felt like I had dashed my disorder. Driven my disorganization to its depths no longer to plague me. And, then, something called “the end of the six weeks” and “grading” happened. That was last weekend. I was defined by grading, not by creating.

I realize as I type these words, I’m sounding as if I’m making excuses. I suppose I am. But, unless you are a teacher, you have no idea all of the baggage you carry around when you have a pile of papers to grade. I’m not talking about my beautiful new Sonora Broncos messenger bag filled with papers. I’m talking about students anxiously awaiting my comment on their freshly crafted poem. I’m talking about parents who, with good reason, expect their child to have more than one grade in the gradebook. And I’m talking about the sweet lady downstairs who reminds us daily of the deadline for posting our grades.

Sometimes, it is all a bit overwhelming.

I was overwhelmed last Sunday, and I did not post. Just like I tell my students, though, there are times we have to make up for a particularly busy week. I’m proud to say that I am here tonight working on that post that will make up for a particularly busy week.

A little over a week ago, I got a phone call from my daughter, Alana. With three girls of her own, homeschooling, and the many church activities she involves herself with, we often go several days without having time to visit. I was excited to hear from her and waited for the first story she’d tell about my crazy, beautiful granddaughters. That wasn’t what she was calling about, though. She was calling about my blog. She had read it, and she wanted to give me some advice. Well, here it goes, I thought. She’s going to tell me that, unless the blog reader is me, the whole thing makes no sense. She’s going to try to be nice about, but I know Alana. She won’t lead me astray. I took a deep breath, and said, “OK.”

Alana proceeded to tell me that she loved it, that she thought it would be helpful to others, that she loved my last post which had a procedure for introducing poetry, but…. Yeah, there was that “but”… She pointed out that many readers would not understand Reading Writing Workshop. TRUTH! While many teachers do, in fact use workshop in their classrooms, the majority don’t, particularly at the middle school and high school level.

Since our conversation, I read a recent post on “Two Writing Teachers” blog. While it doesn’t encompass all of the terminology I use in workshop, the post does begin to unpack the components of Reading Writing Workshop. In the coming weeks and months, I plan to flesh out what Reading Writing Workshop looks like in my classroom, but, for now, I’m going to leave this post with a link to their blog.

Link to

Enjoy your week, and continue to Mine the Magic within your own classroom!

About Katrina Gonzales

Having taught almost 30 years, I have a wealth of knowledge to share about the field of education---some good knowledge, some not-so-good knowledge, and some knowledge that might just blow your mind, or not. I decided to name this blog "Mining the Magic" as a tribute to those magical moments that surface often unexpectedly in the classroom. After this much time in education, however, I realized that those magical moments are never random; lots of planning, hard work, and the establishment of a community of learners precludes these extraordinary, and seemingly magical, times in the classroom. Currently, I "mine" the "magic" in Room 320 at Sonora High School. In the past 29 years, I've been known to teach Early Childhood Handicapped, 8th Grade ELA, self-contained elementary, and even adults as a consultant at Education Service Center XV. While I am turned into a claustrophobic mess at the thought of actually spelunking in a natural cavern, the lovely formations that occur in the classroom fascinate me. It's with this eye for a "jewel" with a student that I set out to explain how to "mine the magic."

2 responses »

  1. I love seeing those same kids that struggled and lacked motivation have found if not a love of reading at least a strong toleration for it. Some of them come to my room to read books off my shelf….something they didn’t do last year. I appreciate that you do something for them that I didn’t. Thank you for being the wonderful teacher that you are and inspiring me and others.


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