Workshop days are some of my favorite days. I love it when all of the students have taken ownership to work on their projects, and I feel like I am most effective when I can have one-on-one conversations with students about how to move their writing forward.
At the same time, these days can be really exhausting. I am in the habit of wearing a pedometer during the day, and a workshop day can mean 7,000+ steps (all in one room!) Some of my students try to check in with me on every decision, but I do try to wean them of that habit.
How do I support students? Well, as I said, I do try to encourage them to become more independent. For example, if they ask me about syllables or rhyme, I ask them "How could you figure this out?" Or, "Can you think of a resource that might help you?" A lot of what I do while I am getting all of those steps is encouraging, praising, and cheering them on ("Good word" "I like what you did with the rhyme!" and even, "You might want to read over that once more; I think you added an extra word.") If I were teaching this lesson to students who struggled with reading and writing, I would definitely shorten it and chunk it, so that the students could have a series of small successes, instead of climbing a mountain in one go.
Today was really productive. The students worked diligently to craft their poems, and they made good use of online tools (such as the online rhyming dictionary!) Because they were working in pairs, there were many conversations about word choice, meter, and how to arrange the poems on the page.