Saturday, February 19, 2011

Writer's Coffeehouse!

The Writer’s Coffeehouse is my favorite classroom tradition, and it's going to be time to celebrate in no time!  It is intended to bring parents, grandparents, cousins, uncles, and basically whoever is near and dear to my students into the school to celebrate literacy.  The students are also in attendance and have active roles throughout the evening.  This is not a school-wide or grade-level parent night, although it certainly could be.  The Writer’s Coffeehouse is something that brings in students and family members from my class to build community and celebrate learning.  (If you're interested in doing this with your kiddos, you can find my resources HERE.)

We have so many great things going on in our schools. I want my parents to see that, and to come away from the evening realizing that our employees care.  I also want them to recognize how well the students are performing.  Learning is so important, especially reading and writing in particular.  If I can bring parents and family members in to celebrate learning, support my budding readers and writers and also provide some education and books for them, then I know I’ve done my part to help foster life-long learning.

 As families begin to filter into the cafeteria, they will be able to help themselves to hot chocolate and will be able to mingle for a few minutes until the crowd settles in.  I will begin by welcoming everyone to the Writer’s Coffeehouse, and I will give a brief description of the hard work it took to get to that point.  I will give the students credit for the editing, rehearsing, and creativity that brought us to the culmination of all of their hard work.  Then, I will share “Read to Me” by Jane Yolen, and kick off the evening.  I will explain that the Writer’s Coffeehouse is all about the kids and is a testament to their hard work.  With that, I will turn it over to my students.  They will do one group Reader’s Theater presentation before beginning individual and small group presentations.

 I will not be giving too many restrictions to the kids as far as what kind of a product they need to produce or what topic they need to write about.  I’ve found that when students know they are writing for a purpose and they write about something that matters to them, it’s a beautiful thing.  They exceed every expectation that you could possibly have for them.  Students are invited to write poetry, reader’s theater scripts, songs, essays, biographies, personal narratives, fictional pieces, informational texts, etc.  By March, the students have had experience writing and reading a variety of genres, so they are very prepared for this freedom.  Many students perform with other students, many perform solo, and many students perform more than one text. 

 There are a few extra components that are wrapped into the evening.  We will unveil our  Classicott award winner.  Our classroom has a book recommendation board, and students frequently recommend books to classmates and/or nominate books for the Classicott Book Award, a book award that originated in my classroom three years ago.  We wrap up the evening by singing their favorite educational song.  In the past two years, it has been the Place Value Rap.  This year, my students are obsessed with Continents by Teacher and the Rockbots, so it will be interesting to see which song they choose by the time our Coffeehouse rolls around.  At that time, I will thank families for coming and remind everyone that they will all be able to browse for books at the book swap meet. I will also invite parents to take home any resources they would like to read on the parent resource table next to a sign that says, “What’s brewing... Parent Resources.”  I CAN'T WAIT!!!!


  1. I know that you already got it, but I gave you the Stylish Blogger award again! I love your blog and am getting some wonderful ideas from it to use with my 4th graders this semester while I am student teaching!

  2. I absolutely love your Coffeehouse idea! I'm sure it's something the kids and parents will remember forever. I teach younger kids but would love to do some version of this. I'll have to think about how I can adapt it for 1st grade and maybe use it next year. Thanks for a fabulous idea!

  3. You have so many creative writing tips girl!

    Thanks for sharing them on TBA! I am having a blast hopping through your posts.

    Teaching Blog Addict
    ♥Teaching with TLC

  4. Wow! I just love this idea! Writing and coffee, two of my favorite things!