6 7 From the moment they begin our Kindergarten program, ACDS students are learning to become effective communicators through a sequential and in-depth curriculum. The result are graduates who are uncommonly strong public speakers, writers, and communicators. “It’s writing time, it’s writing time, it’s wr-wr-wr-wr-wr-writing time!” exclaim Caroline and her Kindergarten classmates as they gather on the rug to begin Writing Workshop. On this day, Ms. Hall’s minilesson is centered around strategies that can be used to further develop ideas and expand their written pieces. At the end of the minilesson, Caroline knows that “when she is done, she has just begun” and begins to apply the strategies she’s just learned to a piece she is working on. The Writing Workshop model, an instructional approach developed at Columbia University’s Teachers College, provides the framework for writing instruction in all grades at ACDS. Teachers begin writing workshop with a short minilesson in which they demonstrate a particular teaching point. Students then work independently on their ongoing writing work, drawing on what they have learned that day and in previous lessons. While students write, teachers confer with children individually and lead small groups to provide responsive, differentiated instruction. The workshop closes with a brief group recap – this is a time when the teacher may highlight things that individual students did during the workshop that could benefit all of the others. Throughout this process students receive continuous and specific feedback designed to develop their confidence as writers, hone their skills, and constantly provide additional challenge that elevates the quality and sophistication of their written expression. Their progress is evident in the many opportunities they have to share their writing, whether in a favorite piece of writing shared at the second grade celebration, a reflective speech delivered at Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day, a science fair presentation, or a graduation address. Caroline EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATOR