A student shares a writing piece; the rest of the group listens, as writers, offering appreciations, suggestions, and feedback to help the author create a meaningful and worthy piece.

The discussion can go far and wide and often does.  Students consider the lead sentence, use of detail and description, show versus tell, the main idea or the So What? of the piece, whether it makes sense, the brilliance of the ending, word choice, and more.

Writing is hard work.  For students who love words and language, writing is a natural and exciting unfolding of thoughts and ideas.  For others, it can bring frustration, nervousness, and confusion.  For all, it is thinking on paper, and in order to create interesting and worthwhile prose, there is a lot to bear in mind.

writing workshopWe break it down, take it step-by-step. Workshopping a piece requires students to contemplate, as they consider ideas and opinions about what works in the piece and what does not, and why.  Articulating thoughts about writing in this format deepens understanding and develops and reinforces the skills needed to become strong confident writers.

Today, in response to what he heard in one of his peer’s first drafts, a student became inspired to give the class a lesson about a very powerful writing tool: appositives.  It was an outstanding moment. His example: “ Imagine you are writing for an audience that is a baby and you are writing about Subway …  and you use the sentence I went to Subway, a sandwich restaurant, and so on. ”  He explained that appositives can be hugged by commas, that they are used to clarify and describe in more detail what was just mentioned.

writing workshop

According to this writer, appositives are his best friend! A real sense of accomplishment, correct grammar and punctuation, as well as effective writing – he gets it, is able to jump up and share with his classmates, who now also are able, if they so choose, to incorporate this tool as needed.  And, with these new concepts in our writers’ toolbox, we all do the happy dance!   Stay tuned for CELC student blogs as we continue to deepen our skills, thinking, and writing.