Primary School Workshops

The Reading Workshop

The Reading Workshop framework allows for students to gain the benefits of reading by self-selection, self-pacing and time spent reading and sharing books. The classroom teacher demonstrates how to explore text and supports student-led discussion groups. Students gain the knowledge to understand text on multiple levels and respond to it thoughtfully.

Read Aloud   

During read aloud the teacher reads to the students. This process is interactive and focuses on skills and strategies that the students need to learn. Read aloud time offers opportunities to have conversations that strengthen understanding and develop strategies for independent reading.  


Mini-lessons are focused on a topic or skill that a student needs to learn in order to become a successful reader. A mini-lesson focuses on a specific concept. In general, mini-lessons last approximately 10-20 minutes. A typical mini-lesson includes a direct statement and model of the concept from the teacher, followed by a class discussion and execution of the concept taught.

Independent Reading Time 

During independent reading time, students read books of their choice from their book box. Book box books should be “just right” books, not too easy and not too difficult and reflect a range of texts and genre. The classroom teacher will provide explicit instruction at the beginning of the year to teach students how to choose appropriate books. During independent reading time, students develop the stamina to read for an extended period of time. Here are guidelines that are used during independent reading:

  • Read the whole time
  • Stay in one good spot the whole time
  • Read “just right” books
  • Respect the readers around you
  • Read quietly
  • Do not interrupt the teacher during guided reading groups
  • Record texts in reading log
  • Write in response log on assigned day

Guided Reading (Small Group Work) 

Classroom teachers support each reader’s development of effective reading strategies during guided reading groups. During guided reading, the teacher works with a small group of students with the same reading abilities. The classroom teacher introduces new text to the students, works briefly with individuals in the group as they read it, discusses the text and may select one or two teaching points to present to the group following the reading. Guided reading allows the student to use and develop their reading strategies. 

Share Time/Closing Conversations   

Reading Workshop ends with a whole-class conversation. The focus of these conversations is to share a skill or strategy, something students learned as readers or one of many conversations about being a reader and the reading community in the classroom.

The Writing Workshop

Writing Workshop is designed for use in all grade levels. Each grade level has specific units of study tailored to meet developmental and curricular needs. Students have a large amount of choice in their topic and style of writing. The classroom teacher acts as a mentor author, modeling writing techniques and conferring with students as they move through the writing process. Direct writing instruction takes place in the form of a mini-less at the beginning of each workshop and is followed by active writing time. The goal of the Writing Workshop is to develop lifelong writers. It is based upon four principles; students will write about their own lives, they will use a consistent writing process, they will work in authentic ways and it will foster independence.


Establishing a consistent writing process that the students work through is one of the main principles of the Writing Workshop. Each student will move through the process at their own rate. The following is an overview of the writing process that is used:

  • Generating ideas
  • Collecting writing entries
  • Choosing a seed idea
  • Planning the draft
  • Revising to change the content and quality
  • Editing to improve grammar
  • Publishing the piece to share it with the world
  • Writing Celebration


Mini-lessons should be about 10-15 minutes in length. They follow the same structure each time; make a connection to a previous lesson, teach a new writing technique, and have the students practice the technique right there with your guidance. Possible mini-lesson topics are:

  • Using dialog to show an action
  • Stretching out actions
  • Adding internal thinking
  • Elaborating on physical descriptions
  • Starting a story with an action
  • Starting a story with dialog
  • End with a sound
  • Using circular ending
  • Creating imagery through words
  • Narrowing a story, making it more focused
  • Choosing a seed idea
  • Creating a strong ending


Conferring in the Writing Workshop takes place during the time when students are actively writing. The classroom teacher circulates around the room, meeting with individual students or student groups to discuss their writing process. The conferences are often short. The teacher begins the process by asking probing, open-ended questions to get an understanding of the student’s current focus in his/her writing. Once the teacher has identified an area of need, the teacher will provide the student with feedback. Another component of the conference is record keeping. The teacher, and sometimes also the student, can make anecdotal notes about the content of the conference. This will allow the teacher to refer back to previous notes and monitor students’ growth as writers. 


The Hudson Falls Primary School uses the Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley enVisionMATH program. The enVisionMATH program is a core curriculum for students in kindergarten through grade 6. The program seeks to help students develop an understanding of math concepts through problem-based instruction, small-group interaction, and visual learning with a focus on reasoning and modeling. Differentiated instruction and ongoing assessment are used to meet the needs of students at all ability levels. The following are the topics that are presented at each grade level:

Grade One

  • Topic 1: Understanding Addition
  • Topic 2: Understanding Subtraction
  • Topic 3: Five and Ten Relationships
  • Topic 4: Addition and Subtraction Facts to 12
  • Topic 5: Addition Facts to 20
  • Topic 6: Subtraction Facts to 20
  • Topic 7: Counting and Number Patterns to 120
  • Topic 8: Tens and Ones
  • Topic 9: Comparing and Ordering Numbers to 100
  • Topic 10: Adding with Tens and Ones
  • Topic 11: Subtracting with Tens and Ones
  • Topic 12: Length
  • Topic 13: Time
  • Topic 14: Using Data to Answer Questions
  • Topic 15: Geometry
  • Topic 16: Fractions of Shapes

Grade Two

  • Topic 1: Understanding Addition and Subtraction
  • Topic 2: Addition Strategies
  • Topic 3: Subtraction Strategies
  • Topic 4: Working with Equal Groups
  • Topic 5: Place Value to 100
  • Topic 6: Mental Addition
  • Topic 7: Mental Subtraction
  • Topic 8: Adding Two-Digit Numbers
  • Topic 9: Subtracting Two-Digit Numbers
  • Topic 10: Place Value to 1,000
  • Topic 11: Three-Digit Addition and Subtraction
  • Topic 12: Geometry
  • Topic 13: Counting Money
  • Topic 14: Money
  • Topic 15: Measuring Length
  • Topic 16: Time, Graphs, and Data

Grade Three

  • Topic 1: Numeration
  • Topic 2: Number Sense: Addition and Subtraction
  • Topic 3: Using Place Value to Add and Subtract
  • Topic 4: Meanings of Multiplication
  • Topic 5: Multiplication Facts: Use Patterns
  • Topic 6: Multiplication Facts: Use Known Facts
  • Topic 7: Meanings of Division
  • Topic 8: Division Facts
  • Topic 9: Understanding Fractions
  • Topic 10: Fraction Comparison and Equivalence
  • Topic 11: Two-Dimensional Shapes and Their Attributes
  • Topic 12: Time
  • Topic 13: Perimeter
  • Topic 14: Area
  • Topic 15: Liquid, Volume, and Mass
  • Topic 16: Data