Gillian Palmer's Portfolio Page

From KNILT

Navigation links: ETAP 623 Fall 2023 | Your Mini-course title

About Me

Hi! My name is Gillian Palmer. Thank you for stopping by my mini-course! I graduated with my B.A. in Middle Childhood and Adolescence English Education (grades 5-12) from Niagara University in 2019. I currently am working on getting my Master's degree in Curriculum Design and Instructional Technology from University at Albany (SUNY). I most recently taught 9th-grade English and I.B. Theory of Knowledge I and II at a small school district outside of Rochester, NY.

My Topic and Purpose

My mini-course is about the Writing Workshop Model, a framework for teaching writing that supports students' acquisition of writing skills as well as supports their acquisition of skills such as collaboration, feedback giving and receiving, etc. The Writing Workshop Model has three parts: 1) Mini-lesson about writing strategy given by class teacher; 2) Work period where students work on practicing writing strategy in an isolated activity or implementing writing strategy in already-started writing piece; 3) Students share their work with the teacher and, ideally, with the class as well. This writing framework is typically seen in elementary school, but this mini-course focuses on effectively implementing the Writing Workshop Model in secondary English classrooms.

I chose this topic because, as a newer teacher, I am still trying to figure out strategies that work best for improving secondary students' writing skills. I have noticed some students at this age bracket thinking they are too old to improve their writing, but one's writing can be improved at any stage! This model focuses on singular-strategy practice a la the mini-lessons, and this makes learning about and implementing writing strategies easier for students. In one of my undergraduate English-education classes, I read about the Writing Workshop Model as a framework for teaching composition, and I am interested in learning more about this framework and helping other teachers implement this model in their classrooms!

Scope of Learning Outcomes and Content

When finished with this mini-course, learners will be able to:

  • Explain what the Writing Workshop Model is and what the benefits of it are
  • Distinguish between an effective example of a Writing Workshop Model lesson and an ineffective one
  • Adapt an already-created (self-made or otherwise) lesson plan to make it a Writing Workshop Model lesson
  • Create a Writing Workshop Model lesson plan, including a mini-lesson and an activity that is differentiated to support all learners

Needs Assessment

  • The educational problem or opportunity

The educational opportunity is for secondary ELA teachers to improve students' love of writing, motivation to write, and their writing skill-acquisition using the Writing Workshop Model. The Writing Workshop Model is often used in elementary schools, but there are many reasons for it to be used to supplement writing instruction in middle and high school. Many students at this age level feel that they are either "good writers" or they are not, and if they deem themselves to be "bad writers" they will often lose motivation to try. One of the key facets of the Writing Workshop Model is that it allows students to make choices in how they implement the writing strategies, and this autonomy bolsters motivation.

  • The learners/participants

The learners in this mini-course will be NYS teachers that specialize in English Language Arts at a secondary level or students studying to become secondary English Language Arts teachers. Teaching experience is not a prerequisite for this course. Overall, the students should be motivated to improve secondary students' love of writing and writing skill-acquisition through the Writing Workshop Model.

  • Analysis of gaps

There have been studies about the significance of Lucy Calkin's Writing Workshop Model in elementary grades (Brown, 2018; Houston Independent School District, 2017), but there is less research available about the model's effects on secondary students. In secondary school, improving students' writing skills and fostering a love of writing often takes the back seat in favor of preparing students to successfully write for standardized exams (Chaney, 2011). Research shows that many secondary students have anxiety and negative feelings about writing, and, because of this, writing skill acquisition and habit formation should be a focus at the secondary level (Karahan, 2021). If not anxious about writing, many students are considered "reluctant writers," because of feelings like self-doubt and self-criticism about their writing (Gair, 2015). Research shows that students are more motivated when they feel like they are in control of their learning and when they feel free to make choices (Brooks & Young, 2011). The Writing Workshop Model not only strengthens students writing skills, but it also encourages students to love writing and motivates them to improve their writing by giving them choice, and providing a safe and comfortable writing environment where students can take risks (Fletcher & Portalupi, 2011 as cited in Franks, 2021).

  • Existing efforts

There is much information out there about the Writing Workshop Model and how it can be implemented. Much of this information is about how it can be used in the elementary-school setting, but more information on how to implement it in the secondary-school setting is needed.

  • Intent statement:

This mini-course will help either current or prospective secondary ELA teachers understand what the Writing Workshop Model is, why it is a beneficial instructional writing framework in the secondary ELA classroom, and how to effectively implement it.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

Participants: The participants of this mini-course will be current or prospective secondary English Language Arts teachers.

Prior Experiences, Knowledge, and Skills: It is not a requirement that the participants have prior teaching experience, knowledge, or skills related to writing instruction. However, each participant will have varying degrees of experience related to writing instruction, and some may have even heard of the Writing Workshop Model and have tried to implement it into their teaching practice.

Interests and Motivations: Participants should be motivated to improve secondary students' writing skills as well as their love of writing. As such, participants should be motivated to learn about the Writing Workshop Model as a way to solve the aforementioned issues.

Learning Context and Settings: Schools can include this mini-course as part of their professional-development repertoire. Participants can also access this mini-course independently.

Time Commitment: Participants can spend as much or as little time as they like/need on this mini-course. To fully engage with the content, participants can expect to spend approximately three hours per module with four modules total, so about 12 hours total. (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

Resources Needed:

  • Access to technology and course materials

Performance-Based Objectives

After completing this mini-course, learners will be able to:

  • Identify patterns between effective examples of Writing Workshop Model lessons
  • Synthesize learning about the Writing Workshop Model to create their own Writing Workshop Model lesson/improve an already-created lesson to fit the Writing Workshop Model structure
  • Recommend the Writing Workshop Model as a framework for writing instruction to educators, administrators, and other stakeholders

Task and Content Analysis

Before taking this course, the learner:

  1. should have basic knowledge of and access to technology (computer or tablet) to complete mini-course activities (pre-requisite)
  2. should have a background in and/or have a basic understanding of teaching composition (pre-requisite)
  3. should have a desire to learn about and implement the Writing Workshop Model into their classroom as a framework for teaching composition (pre-requisite)

Unit 1

Writing Workshop Model: What it is and what it isn't

After this unit, the learner:

  1. will be able to define what the Writing Workshop Model for writing instruction is
  2. will be able to differentiate between the different parts of a Writing Workshop Model lesson (mini-lesson, work time, share time)
  3. will be able to identify patterns between different Writing Workshop Model example lessons
  4. will be able to choose a Writing Workshop Model topic that will be the basis of the culminating assessment for the mini-course


Unit 2

The Mini-Lesson

After this unit, the learner:

  1. will be able to identify three or more potential writing skills or strategies to be the focus of a Writing Workshop Model mini-lesson related to the overall topic
  2. will be able to start crafting their Writing Workshop Model lesson plan by filling in the 'Mini-Lesson' section
  3. will be able to revise part of a non-Writing Workshop Model writing lesson to make it a Writing Workshop Model lesson
  4. will be able to identify best practices for teaching a Writing Workshop Model mini-lesson
  5. will be able to review formative assessment strategies to determine a mini-lesson topic based on students' needs

Unit 3

Work Time

After this unit, the learner:

  1. will be able to add to their Writing Workshop Model lesson plan by writing procedures for the work time portion of the lesson
  2. will be able to identify best practices for facilitating the student-work time portion of a Writing Workshop Model lesson
  3. will be able to use their knowledge about the working portion of a WWM lesson to add WWM elements to a non-WWM lesson
  4. will be able to identify ways to differentiate the work-time portion of a WWM lesson to support all writers

Unit 4

Share Time

After this unit, the learner:

  1. will be able to add to their Writing Workshop Model lesson plan by writing procedures for the sharing portion of the lesson
  2. will be able to identify best practices for facilitating the sharing portion of the lesson
  3. will be able to use their knowledge about the sharing portion of a WWM lesson to add WWM elements to a non-WWM lesson
  4. will be able to identify ways to differentiate the share-time portion of a WWM lesson to support all writers

Curriculum Map

References and Resources

  • ...