More than 40 teachers throughout the Diocese of San Jose visited St. Nicholas Catholic School in Los Altos Hills to witness its Writer’s Workshop in action March 21.
Visiting teachers observed a 50-minute class period of writing, noting the structure of the workshop and the positive and engaged responses from students.
Following the classroom session, teachers reviewed a display of student work and attended a question-and-answer session with teachers and students in the school library.
Writer’s Workshop is a writing curriculum designed, revised and tested in thousands of classrooms for more than 30 years by Lucy Calkins at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Adopted by St. Nicholas in 2016, the comprehensive program builds on itself from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Since implementing the program, St. Nicholas officials report seeing joy in students as they develop a love for writing, stamina that enables students at all grade levels to write pages and pages in one sitting and growth in their capabilities as writers.
“They are experiencing their writing not simply as a stream of consciousness to fill the pages, but as something that is more akin to the kind of intellectual property that must be crafted and developed and consciously reworked in order to make it better,” said a ST. Nicholas parent of the program.
After the success of Writer’s Workshop, St. Nicholas plans to adopt a Reader’s Workshop in the fall.
Mary Gallivan is a writing instructor at St. Nicholas Catholic School.