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Getting Organized for Writing!!

There is a popular dance in my is called the Doing the Paper Shuffle.  It always happens at the beginning of our Writer's Workshop.  All my kids are doing it.  Heck, even I do it...every time I have a writing conference.  We get out our writing folders....shuffle, shuffle.  We look for the piece of writing we are currently working on....shuffle, shuffle.  We try to get our pages in order....shuffle, shuffle!  Then we go looking for that handy reference sheet or graphic organizer that we were given to help us...shuffle, shuffle!  I know this sounds like a lot of fun....but, quite frankly, I can't take it anymore!  Writing time is too precious in third grade!!  It's time to try something new!!

I used to give the kids composition notebooks for writing, but I didn't like this format. There is no place to put handouts (unless you add a folder to the mix), and I think revision is difficult when you're confined to bound pages in a notebook, especially if you want to add-on, or re-order things.

This year, I've had the kids use a folder....really just a folded piece of construction paper to keep all of their writing materials.   Pretty basic, I know...but cheap and easy to put away....just shove and go!  Plus, when I needed to take their writing home to look over...the whole pile of light-weight folders fit into my problemo!!  However, as you can imagine, it is not a very organized system, and creates "The Paper Shuffle" syndrome.  The drawbacks are beginning to outweigh the benefits.

I have successfully used binders for Reader's Workshop.  In the binder we keep our reading log, and lots of other reference sheets that we use for reading.  I use the half-inch kind that fits nicely into our book boxes.  The kids love having their own Reading Binder, and they are able to manage it pretty paper shuffle!!  So why not use a binder for writer's workshop as well?!!

So, come next week, I am going to pilot a new system of managing our writing in Room 19....a Writer's Notebook.  I've already purchased the binders and managed to find a spot where we can keep them.  I know my kiddos are going to be delighted to get some new stuff!!  It's perfect timing too since we are just beginning a new unit on Personal Essay Writing:

They will now be able to keep their ongoing writing work organized and in order without the paper shuffle.  Revising and editing will be easy, and they will have tabs in the binder for keeping all sorts of wonderful things to help them with their writing!!  I will post some photos when we are all "put together."

Of course this inspired a new TpT product:

Click Here

If you are also tired of doing the Paper Shuffle, check it out at my store!!  If you have any great ideas for how to organize for Writer's Workshop...I am all ears!!

I am looking forward to my day off on Monday....Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You are always an inspiration!!

Click Here for an Audio Version of the Speech

I hope all my blogging buddies also get this day off.  If you get a chance listen to a little bit of Dr. King's speech....I try to do it every year and it never fails to give me goosies!!


  1. Reading and Writing Workshop are my favorite things to teach!!!! I am glad you popped over at my blog so I could follow you :)
    Twins, Teaching and Tacos.

  2. Thanks for commenting on my blog! You led me to your blog, I'm your newest follower!

    Pencils, Books, and Dirty Looks

  3. Thanks for stopping by our blog! I love to find upper grades blogs!

    I hate the paper shuffle, too! Organization is so hard with this age group! I've done binders, but I couldn't handle it because they didn't put things where they needed to. I use composition notebooks for everything (I shrink down handouts and we paste them in). But, you are right, it's hard for them to move things around in a notebook.

    Let us know how the binders go!! I know the kids love binders- it makes them feel so grown up!

    Collaboration Cuties

  4. I can't wait to read more of what you do with writer's workshop. I definitely need some help in that area!


  5. You'll have to let me know how it goes...the paper shuffle, what a perfect way to put it. We use folders...but with the booklets we use, the flaps have torn and a good many of the folders have too. They are in desperate need of surgery.

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  6. What tabs did you put in the binder?

  7. How did this work out for you? Did you ever post pictures?



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