Life Challenge sponsored by Ruth and Stacey over at Two Writing Teachers, where teachers write and share each Tuesday. Join in yourself or head over to check out what’s happening with other slicers. If you’re taking part in the SOL, leave a link to your post. I’d love to read it.
One of the things I have always resisted adding to Writing Workshop in my classroom is having students come sit in a common meeting area. It sounded great for elementary students, but it seemed like too much for middle school. Where would I find the room with all the desks and bookshelves crammed in the room? Wouldn’t it take too much time to move to the area and then back to desks to work? Why not just have everyone stay in their desks?
After reading Day by Day by Ruth Ayres and Stacey Shubitz, I decided to give a meeting area a try. I rearranged the desks in my room before school started and made an open space in the center. The stage was set. Now would the students go for it?
The first day of school I explained that we would be having a short lesson on reading or writing while we sat together on the floor. Any student who is uncomfortable sitting on the floor can sit in one of the front desks and still be part of the circle. The circle needed to include everyone. Finally, students needed to bring their binder, notebook, and a pen or pencil.
I am amazed at what a difference coming together makes. I like being able to see everyone, and that everyone can see everyone else on the same level. Check out the great responses I had to our first lesson responding to a Joseph Addison quote. I like the transition it gives between different parts of class. I would like to work with my students on getting into the circle more quickly, and some classes may need assigned spots in the circle. As we get more into our writing workshop, I am looking forward to coming together in our meeting area.