Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Workshop Model

How many of you are familiar with the Workshop Model? Reader's Workshop? Writer's Workshop? If you are, then you've probably heard the name Patrick Allen before. Patrick Allen is a teacher in Colorado, part of the PBEC, he's written books, and his specialty is conferring with students during the workshop model.

Now, a bit of my personal history with the Workshop Model. When I joined my district almost 10 years ago, they were fully entrenched in the Workshop, particularly with reading, and I had to play a bit of catch-up. I didn't receive any formal training on it, but I signed up for professional development, watched other teachers who were more confident in the model, and felt like I had a pretty good handle on it. I enjoyed it with my second and third graders. We had a routine. I was helping my students really become great readers.

And then I switched schools, I switched grade levels (finally, 5th!), and I completely abandoned the workshop model. I was new to the grade level, and I found it easier to follow the lead of the 3 other teachers at my grade level who had been teaching much longer and had been quite successful. And honestly, I was much more focused on learning a whole new curriculum, that I let other things that had worked for me previously, slip away.

So what's the reason I'm mentioning this now?

For the last 2 days I have been at my district's main office, with 40 other elementary teachers, principals, coaches... learning directly from Patrick Allen.

 I feel inspired again. I feel excited for the upcoming school year! 

And even better than that, my school district has a 3 year plan in place to re-introduce the workshop model and work directly with Patrick Allen and his colleagues. I know that we have time to learn the skills that have been so successful in other classrooms across the country.

This is why I teach! To feel excited about what can be done in my classroom and to feel like I'm reinventing my teaching style.

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