Running an effective writing workshop can be a challenge on its own, but there are some supplies that can keep the writing process organized and effective for you and your students. Here, I've compiled a list of my essential writing workshop supplies to get you through the rest of the year! I've also made some notations for each item to explain how I use it in my classroom during writing workshop. Please note that a writing workshop can function without these supplies, but these items can sure make life easier!!
A side note: This post is not sponsored by Amazon or any of the brands below. This is a collection of supplies I love and use in my classroom! Enjoy!
Highlighters are KEY for writing workshop. They can be used to ratiocinate essays throughout the writing process to help draw attention to key elements such as commentary vs. plot summary, textual evidence vs. commentary, first person pronouns vs. third person pronouns, and much more! This listing is for an entire pack of 50 highlighters! If you have a difficult time getting the highlighters returned back to you, consider a "check-out" system where students have to give you something (such as their pen or even school ID) in exchange for supplies.
2. Hanging File Folder Organizer
This hanging file folder organizer can be used to create editing and revision tasks, or stations, for your students to work through during writing workshop. Fill each file folder with different revision and editing tasks and allow them to pick and choose as they wish. This allows students to work at their own pace and also focus on the skills they need to improve upon. Essentially, this sort of organizer allows for differentiation and for student ownership of the writing process!
3. File Folder Organizer
These file folder organizers hold up to 3000 sheets of paper! These are excellent for holding and organizing writing folders if you aren't using digital portfolios. They can help students keep their writing organized... and not to mention, students can't lose them if they keep them in the classroom!
I don't know about you, but I cannot survive teaching high school ELA without a clipboard! It's the only way I can be mobile in the room and check the status of the class throughout writing workshop. I walk around with a student roster/ blank grade book page to keep running notations of where students are in the writing process. The clipboard makes it super easy to walk around and check in with students as they work.
5. Sticky Notes
These are good to have on hand for revision and editing in general. Instead of writing comments all over a student's essay, they can write revision and editing suggestions on sticky notes and attach them to the papers. This can be a much more approachable way to give feedback rather than writing in the margins, which can be messy and confusing.
6. Colored Pens
Colored pens are always a good idea! Students can use these to color-code their edits and revisions so that they can categorize and prioritize changes that need to be made to an essay. Have students color-code their grammatical edits so that they don't miss subtle edits! Besides that, everything is more fun when it's in COLOR!
7. File Folders
These have become the "gold standard" for my classes. At the beginning of the year (or even at the start of each semester), I give each student a "writing folder." I have my students keep these folders in the classroom in a crate assigned to their class period. This way, they can quickly access drafts on writing workshop day. I teach in a school without much technology, so keeping paper folders is the next best thing to a folder on the computer! It's also nice to have this crate in class for quick reference during parent/teacher conferences. Whenever a parent asks me how his/her child is doing in my class, I can pull their child's writing folder and know immediately how the student is performing as soon as I thumb through it. I wouldn't be able to do this if my students kept all of their work on their own computers. I can also gauge student performance after students have left for the day just by going through their folders. I like the idea of being able to look at writing "offline," so I'm a HUGE FAN of folders!
8. Legal Pads
I like leave these legal pads around the classroom for students to use as needed. Students can use these pads to write out notes that don't otherwise fit in the margins of an essay. They also come in handy when a student needs to rewrite a sentence or section of an essay during peer or teacher conferences. Students can always use their own notebook paper to complete the same tasks, but I find that students are more inclined to use these legal pads to work with their peers during writing workshop. I find, again, that even high school students are excited about doing things in color and that the colors motivate them to want to write out notes. Did I mention that I've had students fight over the pink legal pad? Seriously.
9. Writing Revision Checklist Poster
These are fantastic to have in a couple of places in the classroom. They can provide a quick reference guide for editing and revision just by "looking up at the wall." Whenever a student doesn't know what to do, I direct them over to the poster and ask them to select an item off of the list for revision and editing. This works really well for "fast finishers" who say they have "nothing else to do." Writing can always be improved! See the poster :) You can find many infographics or posters such as this one on TpT as well-- or make your own!
10. "Special Pens"
Along with making colored pens available to students, I also like to keep some "special pens" in the classroom as well. These are pens that students have to earn during writing workshop. I like to give them out as special "gifts" to students to recognize their hard work and effort. But you don't necessarily have to give them away to students. Students can earn the chance to use them during class-- as long as they return them. It's up to you, and there are LOTS of great "special" pens out there to choose from. I've found that my students particularly love these!
What other supplies for writing workshop are on your list? Leave us a comment on the blog! We'd love to hear from you!
About the Author
Meredith is the founder and creator of TeachWriting.org and Bespoke ELA. She has taught high school English for 10+ years in Dallas, Chicago, and New York City and holds a M.A. in Literature from Northwestern University. She has always had a connection to the written word-- through songwriting, screenplay writing, and essay writing-- and she enjoys the process of teaching students how to express their ideas. Meredith enjoys life with her husband, daughter, and sweet pups.