Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Writing Workshop Tuesday Toolkits

I recently went to a workshop at the TCRWP reunion called Toolkits Can Make your Teaching More Ambitious, Memorable and Efficient. Celena Larkey the presenter began her talk holding a big binder, loaded with goodies. Throughout the presentation, Celena shared how she goes about using different tools to teach writers in her primary class. A toolkit is a collection of various types of tools to help meet the learning needs of all of your students. The toolkit below is something I plan to use when I conference with students during writing workshop.

Although Celena shared her toolkit and my initial reaction was to copy everything she shared, I know a toolkit will be more powerful for me if I am the one who creates it over time and takes and add to it when needed. 

What I love about a toolkit is that when working with students, everything you need is in just one place. Celena’s toolkit was a binder that can easily be carried; I have also seen teachers make toolkits out of huge sketchbooks. 


Celena had her toolkit broken down into categories with a pocket folder for each category:

•    Gather Ideas, Plan and write
•    Revise, Fancy Up and Publish
•    Qualities Tools
•    Strategy Reminders
•    Inquiry 

Inside the pockets she shared:

•    Mini-Anchor charts
•    Post-its to leave with students to remind them of what they are working on
•    Mini-word wall
•    White off board
•    Boo Boo tape
•    Samples of writing by students 
•    An example of writing by an adult but written like a five-year-old
•    Mentor text 
•    Checklist modified by cutting up parts 
•    Rubric from TC
•    A blank checklist

When creating a toolkit, it is best to take small steps by asking, “What do my writers need?”

Currently, I am working on a section for where writers gather ideas:

Below are some of the things that I plan to put in my toolkit to help primary writers. 
If a child is stuck on what to write, they can take out their THINGS I KNOW AND CARE ABOUT SHEET.  Click here for TOPICS I CAN WRITE ABOUT  sheet.

 Take a picture of your anchor charts or bulletin boards.  The picture below is a bulletin board that we made about topic ideas. If someone is stuck, we can look at some of the class suggestions.

A student can get a topic idea from a favorite book.

 Put mentor text that you use with your students.
If student's made HEART MAPS they can look to them for writing ideas.

In closing, if you do plan to create your own toolkit (which I think you should) what would be important to have in your toolkit?

Coming soon...part two of Toolkits!

Joyful yours in creating toolkits to teach beginning writers,


  1. Wow. That's all I can say...and I'm looking forward to hearing more.

  2. Tammy,
    The workshop was amazing!! I hope you are enjoying your last few months of school! Melissa

  3. Wonderful post Melissa! What's the name of the book with the heart map?

  4. It is so good to know about using different tools to teach writing in the class. All these Writing Workshop Toolkits just look amazing for my classroom. Such stuff is very useful for the kids to teach them with fun. For more ideas you can take a look at http://www.kidsfront.com/join-the-dots.html.

  5. Hi,
    This is a great post! What is the name of the book in the heart map picture? Thanks!

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  7. Post-its to mawaly leave with students to remind them of what they are working on

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