Today’s question is from Natalee.
Scheduling is an issue for me- our classes are only 45 minutes long and I have a hard time getting in everything I need and want to do.
One area that I failed at with implementing workshops this year (my first year doing workshops) is conferencing. I’d love some tips on conferencing.
Right now, scheduling is not an issue for me, because I see two classes for two hours each. But next year I foresee scheduling being a problem- I will see four classes for 55 minutes each. I can’t even imagine how I am going to include everything that I do now. I see each part of my reading and writing workshop as essential, so it’s going to be tough.
So far, I have sketched out a very basic schedule. I’m sure this will change 100 times between now and September. And probably 20 times after that! But here’s what I am thinking so far….
55 minutes total:
10-15 Minutes: Independent Reading
25-35 Minutes: Mini-lesson and Independent practice (in reading, this could be combined with independent reading for some lessons)
10-15 Minutes: Read Aloud
At this point in time I am thinking of doing a 3 day cycle- 3 days of reading mini-lessons and then 3 days of writing lessons. Grammar would be incorporated into writing, which I already do. Vocabulary would be incorporated into reading.
I already foresee this being insane! I know I am going to have to work very hard at keeping my mini-lessons condensed to actual mini-lessons. No more going off-topic! And no more rambling. I know I am going to have to work very hard at making my workshop work next year. But I am prepared for that.
As far as conferencing, I already admitted that this is my weak point. A lot of my conferences are informal, off-the-cuff meetings with students. However, I still keep track of their reading and writing after these conversations. I just don’t worry about conferencing as much as I should. That’s one of my goals for this summer- read more about conferencing and figure out how to make it an integral part of my workshop. Right now, my letter-essays do serve the same purpose as more formal conferences once a month, with my informal conversations taking place the rest of the month.