Distance Learning: Planning Virtual Writing Workshops with Students by Krista Senatore

I recently joined Teach Write’s Time to Write Workshop, an online writing workshop for teachers to come together on Zoom for a little writing time each week. These workshops inspire me to set goals and devote time to my writing.

Not only does seeing the other workshop participants writing on my computer screen motivate and nurture me as a writer, but it also provides a much-needed connection to my community of passionate and like-minded friends; All we need to do is look up at the screen and see one another writing to feel a sense of community.

Additionally, I find that seeing others write motivates me to keep my pen moving even when writing gets hard and I feel stuck. This is a connection and the motivation I crave more than ever during this time of quarantine.

It was during one of these workshops when one of the other teacher-writers shared that he offers similar virtual writing experiences to his high school students. After hearing his words I immediately thought, “I could do the same with my students!”

Engaging my students in an online writing workshop would offer them joyful, low stakes opportunities to connect with each other and engage in writing alongside their teachers and peers -- something that is incredibly important when we can't connect in-person.

Planning a Time to Write Workshop for Students

With these goals in mind, I sat down with my notebook and made plans for how I could fashion a Time to Write workshop for my elementary students.

I ended up with a workshop plan that would bring us together at the same time each week for about 30 minutes via Google Meet and would follow this general schedule:

Beginning: 5- 10 minutes

  1. Introductions: As students