Lesson: Creating Rules for Workshop Time

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Lesson Objective

Students will create classroom rules for workshop time during Reader's Workshop. They will engage in discussion about these rules with their peers.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins): Readers, can you imagine a world without rules?  What if there were no rules in school or in the world?  I think there would be a lot of chaos and people would not be very happy.  It is important to have rules because everyone knows what we have to do to be fair and successful in the classroom. Today, we will spend some time discussing rules and created rules for our independent workshop time in reading.


Teach (10-12 mins): Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They will be expected to turn and talk to this partner throughout the lesson. Each day after our lesson I ask you all to return to your seats and practice what you learned.  Sometimes, I notice that many of you need reminding that this is independent time and we should not be talking.  My job during that time is to help you be successful in your assignment so I can’t meet with each of you every day.  Your job as the excellent students that you are is to remain focused and complete each task to the best of your ability. 


I have a piece of chart paper in the front of the room.  By the end of our conversation today I hope this paper is filled with ideas about rules that need to be in place to make sure everyone is successful during reader’s workshop time.  Let’s take a minute to talk with each other about why you haven’t been successful.  Turn and tell your partner a time when you weren’t feeling successful and explain why.  Students turn and talk while teacher listens in to conversations.


I noticed that many of you have felt like others were distracting you during workshop time.  Maybe a good rule to add to our chart is that students should remain in their seats during independent work time to make sure walking around the room doesn’t distract others.  That is a great first addition to our rules idea chart. 


Remember we want to have as many ideas as possible.  So turn and tell your partner another distraction or rule you think we need during workshop time.  Students turn and talk while teacher charts responses.  This continues as a classroom discussion of turning and talking until students have no more suggestions for rules. 


I think we have a great list of ideas for rules.  But I think some of the rules are really similar and it’s hard to think about 20 rules as you are working at your seats.  We want to have three or four rules that we think are most important to help us be successful in class.  Your job today, is to think of the three most important rules and explain why they are important.  The three rules that have the most votes will become our official classroom workshop rules.  This is an important job so I hope you are ready for the challenge.  Off you go readers.


Active Engagement (15-20 mins): Students return to their seats.  Teacher should circulate to conference with students or to pull a small group of students who need additional support.  While at their seats students should reflect on their classroom discussion and select three rules they think are the most important to have in the classroom.  Each student will fill out the rules form to select their top three rules and explain their reasoning.  Any students who finish early may read independently at their seats until the end of workshop time.


Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins): There is no formal exit slip for this lesson.  Students have shared out their responses for what is necessary to be productive during workshop time.  During the active engagement, they should write their top three choices for rules and explain their reasoning.  These slips should be collected and used to create the three to four classroom rules for workshop time.  This will be different for each class depending on student responses.  Teacher can create a rules chart for the following day and have students sign their name on the chart to indicate they will try their best to follow the rules.


Reflection: I believe students are much more likely to invest in rules if they have a chance to add their opinion.  In this case, I help to facilitate the classroom discussion by monitoring and providing feedback.  However, the choice of three main rules for workshop time is completely up to the students.  Each year, the rules change slightly based on the students in the classroom.  I like to have students decorate the rules sign and make it a huge display in the meeting area so that students are constantly reminded that when they return to their seats for independent workshop time they should be following the agreed upon rules.

Lesson Resources

Thinking about Rules.doc  


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