In the second week of the semester, I began to practice with some of the classroom policies I wanted to implement throughout the semester. Writing Workshop was one of those.
I actually did less redirection than I thought I would have to. Some of the worst behaved students were working on some of the coolest pieces. It's amazing what they'll produce when they aren't pushed into writing an essay. (On the horizon though is the one essay I require them to write for each portfolio so that I meet state standards. That encounter could be what I need to fear).
Some decisions I've made after the first week:
Nancy Beauprez (my mentor teacher) pointed this out and I agree. In first and second period, students weren't allowed to move around the room. Fourth and fifth (for whatever odd reason in my head) were allowed to. This encouraged more discussion and less writing. Today, students will be expected to remain in their seats.
One on one conferences are a huge part of writing workshops, especially when you're getting started with a population that hasn't worked in them before. Last week I had a sign-up sheet, but I think today and Thursday, once things settle down, I just going to start calling people up for conferencing on their pieces.
We'll see how today goes.