"It is essential that children are deeply involved in writing, that they share their texts with others, and that they perceive themselves as authors. In kindergarten, we believe these three things are interconnected. A sense of authorship comes from the struggle to put something big and vital into print, and from seeing one's own printed words reach the hearts and minds of readers." (The Art of Teaching Writing)
We begin our Writing Workshop each day with a ritual called Storysticks. Two children's "storysticks" are randomly pulled and the students are invited to share their true stories with classmates. This oral storytelling provides a kind of rehearsal for young writers. Their audience can ask questions for clarification -- we call it getting a "mind picture".
Our writing session then proceeds briskly to a mini-lesson. We are establishing the routine and expectations of Writing Workshop.
Children are doing the important work of writers for the majority of Writing Workshop time. We ask the children to tell us more about their stories and end the writing conference with a teaching point. It may be, "So this is your dad? I wonder if you could write down the name 'dad' so other readers will know," or "I'm trying to get a mind picture of what the park looked like. What other details could you add?" Kindergartners' writing shows what they know and helps us understand what they need to learn next. We look forward to a year of growth and increased confidence in our young writers' lives.