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Lesson Plan

Writing Workshop: Helping Writers Choose and Focus on a Topic

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Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 45- to 55-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Erika Griffin

Trumbull, Connecticut


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



This lesson, conducted in a workshop format, helps young writers bring greater focus to their writing. Students use a timeline to break a larger topic into several events or moments; then, each student selects an event to write about from the timeline. Students first work with a whole-class topic, then apply this strategy to self-selected topics. Students share their writing and respond constructively to one another's efforts. Finally, teacher–student conferences help students incorporate feedback and work on specific weaknesses.

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Journal Writing Ideas:This website offers a great list of topics that students may choose from for writing workshop. Make sure to gradually help students brainstorm and develop their own topics to write about. The focus of this lesson on is helping them to focus in on a specific event.

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Wagner, L., Nott, J.G., & Agnew, A.T. (2001). The nuts and bolts of teaching first-grade writing through a journal workshop. The Reading Teacher, 55, 120–125.

  • Even beginning writers can make decisions that affect the clarity and power of their message when they are aware of aspects that contribute to the effectiveness of a piece of writing (such as choosing a topic, making illustrations, maintaining focus, and using time sequence to organize).

  • Listening to the sharing of ideas and consulting charts are especially helpful to students who experience difficulty selecting a topic.

  • Sharing their writing helps students write with a specific audience in mind and reinforces the sense of being a part of a community of writers.

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