Once every few years, a parent shows up at my door before the year begins to communicate concerns about their advanced learner. They know their child is in the minority and have valid questions concerning how their needs will be met in a classroom full of varied abilities. Truthfully, I have moments of wondering the same thing but I typically have more faith than worry, not because I always feel confident in my abilities, but because I've got some non-negotiables in my back pocket that are perfect for every single learner. Writing workshop is one of my favorite non-negotiables. What it can do for the advanced child as well as all the others should be enough to put any parent at ease.
One of the things I love the most about writing workshop is how it functions as a natural tool for differentiation. Even though 25 writers might be writing small moments, for example, they can all function and progress at varying levels. While I nudge one child to turn their scribbles into letters, the child on the other side of the room can be nudged to use dialogue. In spite of the various topics or the focus of that day's mini-lesson, each writer is working at their own pace and at their own level but counting on me to push and nudge when necessary. This set-up does require something of me of course. I've got to know my writers and use my conferring time wisely, which admittedly isn't always easy, especially when the student to teacher ratio makes me feel extremely outnumbered. Regardless of the challenges and the days where I don't feel as qualified as I'd like, I'm thankful for a format of writing that allows nudging and movement for every writer.