Madhumita Dasgupta, our 2012-2013 Teacher in Residence from Kolkata, India, was invited to present at a National Conference – Learning Together, Inclusive Schooling – in New Delhi in November of 2017. While Madhumita was at The Bridge School, one of the many areas she was interested in was how to integrate writing into an educational curriculum for children with physical impairments and complex communication needs. Upon her return to the India Institute for Cerebral Palsy (IICP), she joined forces with the staff to explore how the Writer’s Workshop, that is used at The Bridge School, could be implemented with their students. The paper she and her colleague, Swati Chakraborty, presented details the success of their efforts to engage young students in the writing process. They’ve given us permission to share a glimpse of their work on our web site, so here are some of the highlights.
“The objective of Writer’s Workshop is to elicit the creative skills of the children, irrespective of and inclusive of the mode and method of communication.”
Writer’s Workshop begins with a brief Mini Lesson under the guidance of the teacher and the students collectively select the “topic of the day.”
Students decide what they want to write about the topic, select the tools for their personalized Writer’s Kit and work with the teacher to create their story.
Each student’s Writer’s Kit is individualized. Students express themselves using the tools that work best for them.
Teachers provide guidance and modeling for the students as they generate their ideas and expand their expressive language.
When students have completed their writing, it’s time to read what they’ve written to the group for their comments, feedback and opinions.
Students decide the appropriate comments and feedback for the presentations. They learn to express their feelings about the writing and the illustrations as well as to state their opinions as to the content.
Author’s Chair is the final step in the Writer’s Workshop. Once a month the authors read their work to the entire class. The students at IICP use PowerPoint to display their work.
From the look on this student’s face, Writer’s Workshop is bringing a deep sense of accomplishment and joy to the participants.