Daily Schedule

Monday, September 19, 2011

Idea Maps

When it is time to write a story, there are many different ways and techniques that can be used. Sometimes I give the children "prompts" to write about, or I may ask them to create lists, letters, recipes or directions to a game. But I often want them to write about something that is important and interesting to them. Getting children to be more independent in a writing workshop is crucial, and it does not have to be mostly teacher directed.

Simply telling children to write whatever they want inevitably leads to the following exclamation, often many voices at once, "But I don't know what to write about!" or "Nothing ever happens to me!"

This is when I demonstrate an idea map. Sketching out a place where I know well, I am reminded of stories that I could tell later. I sketched my kitchen on the board and told quick stories of burned meals, cookies made by my son for a girlfriend, and annual dinner parties.

Then I had each child draw a map of their backyard and put X's where they were reminded of a story. One child, before even putting a pencil to paper, exclaimed that he had no backyard stories, but I asked him to make the map and see. (He ended up with several great anecdotes, much to his surprise.)

After several minutes of quiet sketching, I partnered children up to take turns telling each other one of their stories. Next time, we will attempt to put some of these exciting and wonderful tales down on paper.

1 comment:

Gwen said...

I love this! We have already heard about the story developing in Ben's mind. And I love your blog! Thank you for taking the time to keep us looped in and to post the pictures.
I look forward to them every day!