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teacherinWA 10-11-2012 11:59 AM

Gathering Writing Ideas
What are some fun ways that you have your students gather ideas for writing.

AKATeacher 10-11-2012 12:42 PM

What's In Your Heart
I use the Heart Mapping activity from Nancy Atwell's Lessons that Change Writers. It's basically just a heart template that students use to list things that are "in their hearts." I share my own heart with my students, and they really like it. There's a similar activity that I found online where the students do the same thing, but they also categorize & color code the items they include. I can e-mail it to you if you're interested. Send me a message.

maryteach 10-20-2012 07:06 AM

Stones in the river
I model it first (which they love) and then they do it the next day.

Draw a wide river on the board. Explain that a river is a metaphor for our lives, and the stones are metaphors for the events in our lives (depending on the age of the children you may need to modify that explanation, but you get the idea). Then start talking about your own life, drawing and labeling a stone for each event you choose. I talk about being new in sixth grade years ago, and how hard it was, learning to drive, graduating, college events, getting married, pets, moving, just stuff like that. Include sad as well as happy events. I include the death of my brother. Talk very animatedly about these events and how they would make great topics.

The kids LOVE to hear about your life. I mean, they're just riveted.

The next day, pass out large construction paper and have them do it. Allow them to decorate the river bank once they get their stones in place. You will need to help them come up with stones, because their lives have been pretty short so far. They should come up with at least ten stones, I would say.

It's helpful to write the event and then draw the stone around it; otherwise you have kids trying to write in these little tiny circles they've drawn and it doesn't work as well.

Then I have them fold it up and put it in their mailbox. Now they always have a topic to write about. If anyone ever says they don't know what to write, tell them to pick a stone.

This is courtesy of the Colorado Writing Project and is not my original idea.

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