I have been teaching Reader's and Writer's Workshop for a few years now. When I began, I followed the scripts closely. Yet as I became more comfortable with the Workshop structure, I realized that it is a framework that is meant to be adapted. Exposing young writers to mentor texts is a great idea. But these texts need to be relevant to their own culture and interests. In my last class I worked with my team to source our own mentor texts. This was a bit more work in the beginning, but it paid off when we saw students more engaged, and more inspired to write.
Another adaptation that I have made is to focus more on the sharing and celebration that ends each lesson/unit. For many students, writing, especially academic writing, can be a daunting experience. Having a way to celebrate their achievements makes the experience lighter, and really helped my class bond through the process. I found that a simple change of environment, like going outside, made the sharing their work feel more special. We also paired with High School students for writing mentorship, and younger classes to share finished work. Extending our Workshop lessons beyond the 5th grade also made the process more profound. In the future, when teaching Reader's and Writer's workshop, I intend to continue these adaptations, and find more ways to improve the Workshop model.