As keen as I was to give Writer Workshop a go, it doesn't fit a timetable where you see the kids every other day. It's designed to have kids write every day. While I saw some great things about it - not least the learners considering themselves as 'writers' and writing much more than before - the pace is too slow to maintain in my current context. I have reached out to all the literacy experts I could find online and offline, and nobody was able to offer a solution.
However, the conferencing idea within WW is one I will continue alongside other (most likely GDocs) feedback.
It's confirmed - I detest grading. Coming from a school that was comments only for the most-part, and reported on levels, the constant grade-chasing mentality of my learners is a definite issue for me. Rather than focusing on the learning for the learning's sake, they are motivated primarily by grades. Grades are recorded in PowerSchool and both parents and learners check them regularly - apparently up to several times a day (according to those who can view such statistics). Grades are required for every subject every quarter, and the indications are they will not be dropped because of parent demand.
It is such an issue that learners will not complete independent (homework) tasks unless there is a grade and a deadline. If anyone is in the same situation and has found a way to mitigate this, I'd love to hear from you.
Thankfully, our school is focusing on assessment this year, and admin has already been to a Dylan Williams workshop, so I'm hoping to see the positive impact of this. I remain hopeful but in the meantime feel like my soul is dirty.