1st Edition

When Writing Workshop Isn't Working Answers to Ten Tough Questions, Grades 2-5

By Mark Overmeyer Copyright 2005

    Writing is hard work. Teaching it can be even harder. As most teachers know, writer's workshop doesn't always go as planned, and many find there are obstacles that they consistently struggle with. In his role as a literacy coordinator and teacher, Mark Overmeyer has heard the same issues raised again and again by both new and experienced colleagues. When Writing Workshop Isn't Working: Answers to Ten Tough Questions, Grades 2-5 provides practical advice to overcome these common problems and get your writing workshop back on track. Acknowledging the process-based nature of the writing workshop, this book does not offer formulaic, program-based, one-size-fits all answers, but presents multiple suggestions based on what works in real classrooms. The ten key questions this book addresses include:

      How do I help students who don't know what to write about? How do I help students develop stronger vocabulary and word choice? How do I prepare my students for standardized tests without compromising my writing program? How should I assess student writing? How can I help my students use revision effectively?
    This book is a handy reference tool for answering specific questions as they pop up during the year. Overmeyer uses student examples throughout to help teachers envision these solutions in their own classes, and he includes an array of classroom-tested ideas for helping primary and intermediate English language learners. There may not be any easy answers to the complexities of writer's workshop, but by identifying and providing advice on the most common stumbling blocks one encounters, When Writing Workshop Isn't Working provides a solid groundwork—freeing up time and creativity for teachers to address the specific needs of their students.

    Introduction; Chapter 1: How Do I Begin My Writing Instruction?; Chapter 2: How Can I Help Students Who Don't Know What to Write About?; Chapter 3: How Can I Help My Students Develop Better Vocabulary and Word Choice?; Chapter 4: How Can I Help Students Write in Complete and More Interesting Sentences?; Chapter 5: How Can I Help My Students Organize Their Writing?; Chapter 6: How Can I Help My Students Use Revision Effectively?; Chapter 7: How Do I Effectively Manage Writing Conferences?; Chapter 8: How Do I Assess My Students' Writing?; Chapter 9: How Can I Prepare Students for Standardized Testing Without Compromising My Writing Program?; Chapter 10: How do I Plan for Writing Instruction?


    Mark Overmeyer, who has more than twenty-eight years of teaching experience, recently retired from his job as a literacy coordinator and coach in the Cherry Creek Schools near Denver, Colorado. He now works full-time as a literacy consultant for schools and districts interested in implementing or refining writing and reading workshops. Mark is also an adjunct professor in the graduate program at the University of Colorado at Denver, where he codirected a National Writing Project site for four years.