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0.5 - Choosing Your Workshop Length and Size

Here are three more things to consider when planning your workshop:

1. Length: How long will your workshop be?
This advice in this guide can be used to lead a workshop of any length, but I've focused on the 1-Hr, 2-Hr and 3-Hr workshop because these are the formats most often requested of me. Here’s what you (and students) can expect to do in each:

1-Hr Version

  • Students will explore topics, be introduced to two structures, and review two example essays. 
  • By the end they should feel informed, inspired and curious, but aren’t likely to have an outline or a draft completed.

2-Hr Version

  • Students will have done all of the above, PLUS 
  • A 30-min exercise for writing a narrative-style essay (great for students who have experienced challenges)
  • A 20-min exercise for writing a montage-style essay (great for students who have not experienced challenges)
  • By the end they should feel extra inspired and equipped to write one essay, maybe even two.

3-Hr Version

  • Students will have done all of the above, PLUS
  • They’ll have a chance to begin writing a first draft AND
  • Get feedback, either from one another or from you
  • By the end they may even have a rough draft written, so they might feel accomplished, plus they’ll have benefited from an outside perspective.

Not sure how long you want to spend? Don’t worry, you can work through the guide and decide when it’s over.

If you want to deliver a full-day long, or multi-day workshop, check out the outlines for longer workshops at the bottom of the Navigation Page in Lesson 5.

2. Size: How many students will you work with? 

I'll begin by saying something obvious: If working with a small group of, say, 8-20 students, there will be more time for them to receive one-on-one feedback from you and any volunteer mentors/essay coaches you've recruited, assuming you've recruited (and I highly recommend doing so). 

If, however, you decide to lead this workshop in an auditorium for 400 students (which I've done), each version can still work, but the one-on-one work will happen not with mentors, but with students' peers. Either way, I encourage you to not skip the sections where I describe how to offer feedback (2.3, for example, and 3.3), so students will have some sense of how to best support one another.

There is no "right" way--it all depends on your student population. 

Another possibility, if a large group isn't preferred, is having English teachers work through the guide with smaller groups of students.  

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