I’ve spent much time learning about Reading and Writing Workshop and I’m sold that this is the best learning structure to have in a classroom. I explicitly teach for about ten minutes. Then ALL work. Students read or write. I watch, listen and confer, confering more explicit teaching specific to each student based on what they are showing they can do during worktime. Currently, I’m in a district cohort studying Personalized Learning. My focus has been on giving my students choice and offering them authentic experiences.


I took these photos after worktime began yesterday. The girls on the right are passionate about saving the tiger. They are drafting a brochure. Then on March 12th, it will be on display to help raise awareness about this issue during our Social Issue Fair.

The photo on the top right shows a pair making images for their homeless display. Then asked if they could use origami and cut out images they draw to create what the homeless park in our county looks like. They help at the food bank near this park and want to teach others how to help this group in our town.

The photo on the bottom right shows another pair. They are researching asthma, a health issue they realized they both suffer from and could teach others about.

My favorite part of worktime is how it sounds. It starts with the room erupting. Voices chatting. Questions pondered fill the air. Opiinions shares. Chair legs scrape the floor as one moves to collect markers and scissors. Then the sounds change. Each settles into worktime and a quiet hush hangs over the room. All have entered the learning zone and are thinking so quietly.

I whisper to a pair of students, “How’s it going?” as I begin to confer with them. Softly one replies. We confer quietly among ourselves, not wanting to break the sound of worktime in the room.

14 thoughts on “Worktime

  1. mbhmaine says:

    Thanks for sharing this peek into your classroom. What a delight to see and read about all these students authentically engaged with their work. An environment like this doesn’t develop by itself. Kudos to you and to them!


  2. Stephanie Affinito says:

    I love your slice! I love when teachers capture the learning in their classrooms. I actually use images like these in my teacher education classes to notice and name the student engagement and then hypothesize the conditions the teachers must have had in place for that to happen. Such learning is evident!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dianeandlynne says:

    You show how workshop time needs to be structured for success–voice and choice. I love the photos which illustrate cooperation. I’d love to be there for the celebration! Good work.


  4. davencarlson says:

    I enjoyed reading your slice. It reveals so much about your kids and you as a teacher. We can all learn significantly by watching our students work according to their interests and passions.
    Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Danielle says:

    I love these insights into your classroom, Sally! I wish I could be your student. I always look forward our PD time together because I am sure to learn something new. Your classroom is #goals!


  6. Fran McCrackin says:

    Ah, that magical feeling in the room we all live for! I think choice and authenticity are the key. The trick is doing that “soft structuring”- effective conferring, guiding, providing just the right amount of structure, making resources available and appropriate. It’s not as easy as you make it look 🙂


  7. irishdaybreak says:

    Just reading this, I can hear the lively buzz of enthusiasm in your class I also loved the heritage research projects you gave your students. It is obvious that everyone is truly engaged. Always learning from you Sally


  8. amyjuengst says:

    Such a great reminder to keep my instruction to 10-15 minutes. I’ve been talking, talking, talking a lot lately. I, too, love watching my students independently work and listen in on their thinking as they share progress with tablemates. A magical experience.


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