The writing workshop approaches the student as a serious writer, and the teacher as a fellow writer and writing coach. It gives students the space and time to write, to shape their craft by frequent and sustained writing and conferring, and to crumple up their real or metaphorical papers and begin again and again, which is what real writers do.
Most writing workshops are divided into the following basic structure:
1. Mini-lesson: a short, focused lesson on a specific skill that is needed by your students. (5-15 minutes)
2. Short check-in: students briefly share what they will be working on during the workshop (goal establishment). (5 minutes)
3. Writing workshop: actual writing time with some one-on-one conferencing with teacher/coach or peer (45-60 minutes)
4. Share-out: students briefly share their progress, wins, and challenges. (5-10 minutes)
Finally, I have found this to be so true: Model writing by writing yourself. I show students my own writing and have them watch me practice the craft. They see me search for words. They watch my furrowed brow as I struggle to get rid of clutter and repetition. They listen as I read and reread my work aloud. I show them that writing is not a magical process; it is work; it is art; it is ultimately a craft that sometimes requires almost herculean effort. And- amidst all the vulnerability that my sharing entails, I earn the students' trust, and I believe it motivates them and helps them feel less frustrated to know that I, too, struggle, just like they do.
“If you had to choose one thing teachers should do when teaching writing, what would it be?” (para. 15). Graves replied, 'Write yourself. Invite children to do something you’re already doing. If you’re not doing it, Hey, the kids say, I can’t wait to grow up and not have to write, like you…. You can’t ask someone to sing a duet with you until you know the tune yourself.' " Donald Graves