Launching the Writer's Workshop: Grades 3-12

A framework of lessons
to help launch your writing year

Many teachers have confessed that they struggle to get their writer's workshop off the ground. What should I do the first weeks of school? What are key lessons to jump-start my writing curriculum? How fast or slow should I move? Regardless of the writing model you're currently using, this online course provides participants with a powerful framework of lessons that can help launch their writing year. Throughout the course, teachers will have the opportunity to plot and plan their own instructional calendar for teaching writing during the first six weeks of school. At the end of the course, teachers will be ready to go with their personalized blueprints in hand!



  • Understand the four phases of the workshop launch.
  • Learn classroom-tested routines and procedures to establish the writing environment.
  • Set the tone that writing occurs daily.
  • Receive organizational ideas for writers' notebooks.
  • Learn day-by-day strategies to introduce the 6 Traits of Writing so teachers and students are using a common language.
  • Balance free-choice writing topics with teacher-assigned topics.
  • Receive ready-to-go lessons with supporting resources, activity pages, and authentic student writing samples.

When you complete the course, you'll be able to:

  • Kick off the school year with a 20-day "game plan" for teaching writing.
  • Establish routines to effectively manage a writer's workshop.
  • Address common writer dependencies with procedural mini-lessons.
  • Implement a writer's notebook in the classroom.
  • Lead efficient and effective writing conferences with students.
  • Develop a classroom writing rubric that students can use and understand.
  • Transition from procedural lessons into the first writing unit.

Top questions teachers ask about launching writing:

  • Which workshop procedures are essential for effective classroom management?
  • What physical spaces and places should I have within my classroom environment?
  • How do I motivate my writers to use class time productively?
  • How do I help my students develop more interesting writing topics?
  • How can I motivate students to go beyond "fixing their mistakes" during revision?
  • What are some proven methods for introducing students to the 6 Traits of Writing?
  • How do I effectively organize my students' writings in notebooks, binders, or folders?


Your Instructor

Kristina Smekens
Kristina Smekens

A full-time literacy consultant, Kristina has built a reputation for using enthusiasm, humor, and common sense to equip K-12 educators with practical, demystifying strategies for teaching reading and writing.

As president and lead consultant for Smekens Education, Kristina is constantly developing new strategies to help teachers meet the demands of today’s College and Career-Ready Standards. She shares those strategies with teachers across the United States and beyond through on-site school trainings, regional seminars, and an always-growing pool of print, digital, and video resources.

Kristina has a gift for making the complex seem simple— for showing teachers how to meet the needs of readers and writers by bridging the gap between education research and classroom-tested strategies that work. Well known for offering innovative ideas, Kristina has created more than 50 “Smekens Originals,” a compilation of books, guides, and classroom tools designed to help teachers implement best-practice literacy strategies. Among the most popular of these resources are her best-selling books, Launching the Writer’s Workshop: Grades K-2, and Launching the Writer’s Workshop: Grades 3-12.

You are welcome to contact Kristina directly: kristina@smekenseducation.com.



Contact Smekens Education toll free:

(888) 376-0448

What teachers say about this course

"This was what I wanted to see. I feel prepared and ready to jump in!" Kaitlyn Caskey, Grade 1, John F. Kennedy Elementary School, Kettering, OH

"I absolutely love your products, and, in fact, my entire 4th grade team started on the first day of school with Kristina's personal post-it notes to plan 'launching the writing workshop,' and it was phenomenal! We now have students writing 3-5 paragraph essays in the writer workshop model! Thank you for fun, engaging lessons and mentor texts that are easy to implement and use!" Megan McAdams, Grade 4, Frances Slocum Elementary, Marion, IN

"I finally feel like I have a handle on how to approach writing. As a middle school history teacher who has to also do a period of writing, this has been invaluable. Loved it!" Huston Mathias, Grade 8 US History & Writing teacher, Ingersoll Middle School, Canton, IL

"Always inspiring! It never fails — I always come away with fresh ideas and the resources to put the ideas into action!" Samantha Walterman, Master Teacher, Winchester Village Elementary School, Indianapolis, IN

"I'm teaching writer's workshop with grades 3-6 and this will help me build & grow students' skills year after year PLUS get classroom teachers comfortable teaching 6+1 Traits in our building." Eileen Germek, Writer's Workshop Instructor, Grades 1-5, Saint Michael School, Schererville, IN

"It is a great feeling to be given the tools to start Smekens at the start of a new school year! Awesome workshops! Best presentation I've been to in my 14 years of teaching!" Lacy Ehrman, Grade 4, New Berlin Elementary School, New Berlin, IL


Class Curriculum

  Introduction to the course
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days after you enroll
  Phase #1 - Writing Topics
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  Phase #2 - Creating Notebooks
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  Phase #2 - Motivating Writers
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  Phase #2 - Targeting Spelling
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  Phase #4 - Building Rubrics
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  Conclusion - Wrap-Up
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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course can begin at any time.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrollment, students have access to the content for 30 days. You determine how fast or slow you want to progress through the course during this time.
Can I share my course with colleagues?
Sorry, course sharing is not allowed. Our Terms of Use specify that one registration fee allows access for just one person. However, we are happy to offer group discounts. Give us a call at (888) 376-0448 to get the details.
Can I get continuing education credits?
Most likely! With prior approval from your school district, participants may receive credit for up to 5 hours of professional development for each course. A Certificate of Completion is provided to participants when they complete all aspects of the course.
Can I earn graduate credit?
Thanks to a partnership with the Midwest Teachers Institute, educators who enroll in two eligible webAcademy courses simultaneously can earn three hours of nationally-accredited graduate credit for just $375. These are non-degree credits which are designed for professional certification renewals and salary step increases. Contact Brady Smekens, Director of Professional Development, for details, (888) 376-0448.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are not satisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 10 days, and we will give you a full refund.
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