Writer's Workshop

Writer's Workshop for Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Grade Writers:
What does it look like?

Intermediate students will focus on a few different types of writing. Writer's Workshop projects can be guided or student choice, and may be completed with paper and pencil, by using technology, or a little bit of both. This is at your discretion.


  1. a mini lesson
  2. status of the class/independent writing
  3. sharing/closing


During each mini-lesson, you have the flexibility to decide what might be most helpful to your learners that day. The mini-lesson should only be about five to ten minutes long, and should be something that is applicable to the project they are working on. It can be a general skill or something specific that will help them to complete their work successfully.

Status of the Class/Independent Writing:

After the mini-lesson, explain the task for the day, and students can begin working independently. Check in with each learner to check on current work. You can utilize a simple checklist to do this. While working, touch base with each learner to note progress and help as needed. This portion of the Writer's Workshop will take up the bulk of time. (Tip: Use sticky notes to help keep track of how far each student has gotten on his or her work, or note which ones you might need to circle back to that day. Sticky notes can also be helpful tools for students to use on their work as they edit or write.)


To wrap up Writer's Workshop for the day, close out the time by reconnecting and regrouping. You might circle back to the mini-lesson to check for understanding, or share observations from the independent work time that day. This is also the designated time for sharing. You might also provide your students with a preview or goal for the following day. Be sure that students place their work into their Writer's Workshop folders and store them properly for the next day. If you collect them, it is easy to peek at each one to double check on progress if needed before utilizing them during the next scheduled Writer's Workshop.

You can choose which resources will be most helpful in guiding your students towards proficiency as they meet the necessary objectives in your classroom. Consider blending writing into your curricular goals across multiple subject areas.

  • Descriptive: This type of writing uses words to help show what the writer has seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or experienced. It paints a picture with words so that the reader can imagine what the writer is describing. The three major types of descriptive writing include telling about a person, place, or object.
  • Narrative: Learners develop real or imagined events, use effective writing techniques, share significant details, and include well-organized sequences. Reading aloud and then discussing the elements of narratives can help students as they begin creating their own narratives.
  • Persuasive/Argumentative: Support claims with clear reasons, relevant evidence, and the use of credible sources. Students learn to cite their evidence, distinguish between fact and opinion, and clearly identify supporting evidence. These concepts are an important part of digital literacy, and using them appropriately will help students in successfully constructing and deconstructing an argument.
  • Expository/Explanatory: Some of the most common types of expository writing are descriptive essays, process essays, comparison essays, cause/effect essays and problem/solution essays. These types of essays begin with an introduction. This serves to hook the reader's interest, briefly introduce your topic, and provide a thesis statement summarizing what you're going to say about it.