1. After the mini-lesson each student finds her name at a place at the table. Teachers have pre-decided which students will work together matching their ability and paying attention to students that will work well together.
2. Students have a few minutes of quiet time where they envision their story. They are told to imagine their small moment in pictures in their mind, like they are seeing a movie. They are visualizing.
3. Next the students choose the type of paper that they want to use. Some students prefer booklets while others choose several sheets of paper with room for pictures and room for words.
4. "Touch and tell." Touch and tell means that each child is going to have a turn telling her story orally. The children choose who gets to go first and have learned several strategies for making that choice. The first child tells her story. She touches each page as she tells what is going to be on that page. Her partner listens.
5. When the first child finishes telling her story, the listening partner gives her some suggestions. Right now the suggestions are very surface such as, "Make sure to draw pictures that match your words," but as the children continue to talk to their long term partner, the feedback will begin to have depth as they begin to know more about each other. After the first partner finishes telling her story and getting feedback, the partners reverse roles.
6. When both partners have practiced telling their story and have gotten feedback, they are ready to put the stories on paper. Children have had mini-lessons on using the date stamp, on stretching words that they do not know how to spell, on where to find color words on the color word chart, on where to find children's names and sight words on the Word Wall, on how to use the alphabet chart on the back of their writing folder if they need to know what a letter looks like, on how to "sketch" so they don't spend all of their time on their drawing, on crossing out if they make a mistake, and on not throwing stories away. They know that great authors call mistakes, revision. All of these mini-lessons come together as these authors write about their young lives.
Now this is Writers' Workshop!