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Saturday, September 10, 2005



I am interested in researching all issues related to Lucy Calkins for an article I am considering writing about her and her programs. I am not a fan or her work. (I am the author of "Welcome to Lizard Motel: Protecting the Imaginative Lives of Children" (BEacon press '04) where I discuss Calkins very critically from a parent's point of view.) Do you have any updated information --about her recent contracts, etc. --that might be helpful to me as I proceed? Your blog is incredibly interesting and inspriting! Thank you.


Barbara, I don't follow Calkins' work very closely. I think she isn't the villain here--from what I've read and seen, the workshop model, used judiciously, can be an effective approach to *some* learning tasks. The problem arises when it is taken to extremes/used in settings where it isn't appropriate. It's the same thing that happened to Howard Gardner and Types of Intelligence -- a useful idea oversimplified, warped, and taken to ridiculous (or harmful) extremes.

Paulette Benditton

I'm trying to find out more about a program called Accelerated Literacy that may be coming into New York City schools. I think the originator is someone called Susan Radley. My understanding is that it is constructivism taken to the highest degree of absurdity yet. Have you heard of this? Any ideas how I can find some samples to look at?

Stephen Thornton-Taylor

Open letter to Ms. Calkins. In a graduate program at Cleveland State University, I have developed a variation of the workshop model that, yes I employ in the High School social studies classroom. I call it the four stations; four walls with relevant workstation to the bottom right; two computers and an unending supply of reference material; Lincoln West, near "downtown" Cleveland; 40 different cultures represented; viva investigacion. Eureka it works! No mandates, modify people modify. thanks, Ms. Calkins!


I am currently teaching music at the elementary level. This is my ninth year with MCPS,3rd as an elementary school teacher at the very same school. During my evaluations this year, I was told that I will receive a "not meet standard" rating as the principal observed me do too much of direct teaching and that the students were not working independently in small groups. I was also told that my conclusion should be at least 7-10 minutes. If my lesson is completely theoretical, I may be able to do that; but in most cases the music class has to be teacher led, commenting as they are progressing, to get good results. Any other music teachers going through the same problem?

klarisa K

My name is Klarisa and I am doing a research paper on the workshop model.
Any relevant articles regarding "the workshop model" pros or cons for my research paper would be highly appreciated.

Thank you so much,

Klarisa Konstantinovsky

klarisa K

My name is Klarisa and I am doing a research paper on the workshop model.
Any relevant articles regarding "the workshop model" pros or cons for my research paper would be highly appreciated.

Thank you so much,




I too had to pigeon hole this model into a music class. It is incompatable with large group intruction. My lesson plans are in the "model" while I teach using whole group instruction.


The workshop model works well. It is progressive and helps students realize that they can master material instead of just memorizing it. Thank you for the ideas.


Workshop model is ideal for actually allowing students to practice reading, writing, and math. Too many times the teacher does all the talking and are shoced when students can't perform. This method offers students direct teaching with guided practice. It also allows teachers to differeniate...and meet with small groups. Differeniated Instruction is best attained through flexible, purposeful groupings with attention to meeting students' needs. The traditional was do not allow for meeting ALL students' needs. Just think....what a concept...meeting ALL students' needs...not teaching long winded lessons to the middle.


Looks like Ginger ^ drank the Kool-aid. Teachers College is a crock of shit. They're making money with this silly program and the students are truly suffering. SAD.


The way I see it, the Workshop Model is just a fancy label for something that has been done for ages. A good lesson has the teacher teaching something, and the students practicing it. Afterwards, the work is reviewed. Nothing new. It works great for certain types of lessons in most subjects, but forcing the method onto every subject, every day is ridiculous. The part I find most disgusting is the label "mini-lesson". I did not spend six years of college and graduate school to do something "mini". Surgeons do not perform "mini-operations". Lawyers do not have "mini-cases", etc... Call what the teacher is supposed to do a "mini", and it minimizes the importance of the action.


Dennis: YOU ARE PLAIN RIGHT!!!!Love your comment (clear, straight forward, intelligent).

K. MacDonald

The workshop model is still live and well at our nyc school. We have just had yet another workshop on the workshop model because apparently even after 10 years we are not doing it "right". We even recieved a lesson template that we are expected to use to make sure we plan "correctly". We are a 6-12 school.

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