The Daily Cafe

Small Class Dislikes Work on Writing & other questions


This is my first year, and I am teaching third grade in a private school with a class of only seven students. Although I enjoy the small class size, it has some unique challenges. Read to Self is going very well, and we can make it 15 minutes almost every time. We are building our stamina for Work on Writing, but half my class never seems to get started. We have been doing think-abouts, but many of them cannot come up with ideas, even when prompted. They groan when facing writing, even though they are all excited about most of the other subjects.

Should I do more shared writing with them, to help them get more practice turning their ideas into words and putting those words down on paper? Should I pull back on Work on Writing and go ahead with the other elements of Daily Five? They keep asking about “buddy reading.”

P.S. when I teach foundation lessons, my students always ask if we are going to do it right then. (Like setting up word work.) I tell them we have other things to learn before we get there, but they are impatient. What else can I tell them?

How do I keep students from getting bored when I have students modeling?


Are you also doing a Writer’s Workshop outside of your Daily time? I know the sisters talk about the importance of doing that, so that you can spend the needed time on focused writing lessons, whereas Daily 5 mini-lessons are mostly for reading lessons (certainly with some writing tie-ins).

Perhaps you can do some group writing projects, to get the class to buy-in. Maybe start with a book that lends itself to a rewrite–like “Who is Melvin Bubble”? This could be used to get the students to either write about themselves or each other–or even you :). It sounds like they might need a purpose for writing, so maybe another idea might be a persuasive letter to the principal about something at school, for example.

Hopefully, once you start writing like this in your Writer’s Workshop, you’ll start to see it carry over the Work on Writing during Daily 5.


In regards to your question about students modeling, here are a couple of ideas.

Choose “the class leader” or biggest complainer :blush: to be the person to model the behaviors.
Keep it short–this should only take a minute or two.
Give a “kudo” appropriate for your kids for a good job of modeling.