28 September 2015

Writer's Workshop: Writing From the Heart

I posted a few days ago about the very first lesson I teach when launching writer's workshop. It was all about figuring out what writers do. If you missed it, you can read about it here.

Once students have started contributing to our What Writer's Do anchor chart, we look at how writers decide what to write about.
A huge component of writer's workshop is the idea that students get to choose the topics they write about. Sometimes, I'll help narrow the focus (like when we do informational writing, and students choose an animal), but there's still an element of choice. (We write to prompts during morning work).

We start the lesson by reading The Best Story. Only one of my favorite books to help teach writing! The main character is trying to write the best story to win a ride on a roller coaster with her favorite author. She gets advice about her writing from her family members, but her story never seems quite right. Finally, her mom gives her the best advice yet...write from the heart!
After we finish reading, I ask my students what things they have in their hearts, and we begin a new anchor chart.
After we get some generic ideas (family, friends, pets, sports, hobbies, etc.) on our anchor chart, students complete a heart map in which they think of what things are in their hearts that they could write about. Take a look at some of these ideas for how to use a heart map.

For some students, the heart map is a bit too broad, and they need something with more structure. For those students, I use this graphic organizer, to help them think about things that are special to them.
From here, we're ready to start writing, which is exciting! My favorite part? No one is able to say they have "nothing to write about" because writers can always look back at their ideas page and/or heart map!

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1 comment

  1. Another way to get students to write with confidence is through team writing. Sharing ideas and helping each other usually gets the "non-writer" to give it a try. One idea that I hadn't thought of is for students to collaborate in writing their own reader's theater. I got this idea from a 3rd grade teacher on ereaderstheater.com in the teaching resources area. Have kids use their own favorite books to write the RT. I found it gets better response by finding a simple reader's theater and doing a class script before casting them out to do their own.


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