My young writers are six and seven years old. They amaze me every day. We begin our writing workshop with a story. We pause to talk about what the author did to make us want to turn the pages. I tell them, you can write like this too if you enjoy this author's style. You can use any author style, craft, technique or you can develp your own.
The writers are then sent off into our classroom to find a favorite place to work. Some are at tables, easels, on the floor, in our classroom library. They all reread their piece and then decide what is next. Some continue to write, some ask a friend for a conference, some conference with me, some grab editing pens to clean up a piece, and some think.
I don't have one child who says "I can't"...ever. I hear other teachers say their first graders can't come up with ideas. That is never the case in my room but...here is how we handle idea collections:
Students are encouraged...
to keep a list of topics they know a lot about in their folders
to go to the library to read for a bit to get ideas from other authors
to talk to a friend about ideas
to brainstorm with me
to look out the window for inspiration
to use their morning journal entry for further development
to return to a previous unfinished text that was put away for another day
to rewrite a story using that story structure for support
to try poetry, non-fiction, fiction
I think there are many ways to teach children how to become writers. The key is to give them as many options as possible.The more empowered they become the less likely we are to hear..."I can't". In our classroom, my students know what they can do to help themselves.