Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Spotlight on Writing Strategies - Goal 3: Generating & Collecting Ideas

Welcome to our book study of The Writing Strateies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers by Jennifer Serravallo.  I'm joining forces with some fabulous teacher bloggers, hosted by An Apple for the Teacher, to discuss the writing strategies we come across in this AMAZING professional text!

Because this book isn't your typical professional development book filled with individual "Chapters" of narrative, each teacher blogger will be giving you a glimpse into the 10 goals that are preresented in the text.  Each goal area is filled with many valauable strategies that will help you to support and guide your students as they become better writers.

Keep in mind, we are only highlighting a FEW strategies in each section. There are over 300 strategie in the whole book.

You can find my previous Book Study posts below:
Introduction to 300 Writing Strategies

Goal 1:  Composing With Pictures

Goal 3:  Generating & Collecting Ideas
As an elementary student, I remember the frustration I felt when it was time to write.  I had no idea what to write about or how to make a given topic interesting.

I wish I had had a teacher to show me how to collect ideas.  Now that I'm a teacher, I think it is fun to gather ideas about writing because I'm interested in so many things.  I wish I had known back in grade school that collecting writing ideas was so easy.

As a child growing up in a foster home, I didn't know much about anything, and my memories at the time were not ones I usually liked to think about, so I needed guidance.  Many of my students today also need guidance.

The strategies in this chapter will help young writers "develop an awareness of their surroundings and an ability to be keen oberservers" (Serravallo 2017 pg.90).  

It is important to have some kind of journal to keep a record of your ideas, or an idea bank.  I use Interactive notebooks, and a writing journal.

Last year I had students take their writing journal and decorate it.  

Here is a copy of mine.
I have been using my writing journal this summer to keep my thought and notes about the books I am reading.

I have a FREE Writing Label for your Interactive Journal.
Grab it HERE or click on the picture.

I also have a really cool Growing Bundle.   If you do a lot of Interactive Journals, you might be interested in checking into this Bundle.

Here are three strategies to help students generate and collect ideas:

Important People

I have to start with Important People because I have some important people in my life that I still want to write about.  Simply tell students to make a list of people who matter the most to you.  List some of the memories you have with these people.

After a list is made you could have them choose one of the people to write about, or you have them think about that person in another setting, or even another time in history.  What challenges would that person have?  This would be a fun activity after studying the Revolutionary War, or Explorers.

In planning for next year, I set up my mini lesson, and I'd like to share it with you.  It will be free for a little awhile, so don't wait to grab it.

The hardest part of the writing lesson for me is trying to write out a decent example, so I have done it ahead of time.  I could spend days on writing about people, but I'll watch my students and see how much time they need. 

I haven't decided if I am going to do this in a foldable form with my students or just have them create a T-chart and do the writing.  I am leaning toward the T-chart and writing.  After they have done a few writings, they could choose their favorite writing to publish in this foldable.

Mine Mentor Texts for Topics

I'll do this one with one of the books I like, and then I'll have the students choose their own books that they love. The cool thing is that I can use this strategy with much of the reading we do in class. We want to choose good writing topics like authors do. At the moment I'm thinking about The Dot by Peter Reynolds.

I can relate to thinking I was not good at something.  I couldn't play sports, because I am not coordinated.  My cousins help me discover that I could make up games for us to play, because I was creative.  The cousins and neighborhood kids all joined in the fun of playing the games I made up.  As adults we have gotten together and I've been reminded of the many many unique games that we played, so being on a sports team just didn't matter. 
If you don't have access to the book, you can also have the story read on You Tube.

  • What ideas can you connect to?
  • What topics in this story do you know a lot about?
  • What topics do you want to learn about?

Before we move on to the final strategy I need to mention International Dot Day.  Did you know that there is an International Dot Day and that you can be part of it?  To find out more, just click on the links provided, or Visit my Web Page.

Tour Your Home

I cannot wait to do this one, because I literally went back to tour one of my childhood homes.  My sister heard that the Kaylors, the people who bought our house was selling it, so she made an appointment to see the house.  I actually took pictures when we visited.  We had such fun revisiting.

This was an amazing 3-story home with 28 huge rooms.  I have many fond memories.  I haven't written a book about it yet, but I have made an awesome scrapbook.  I took some pictures with my camera to post.  They don't do the house justice, but I have my memories and I need to write them down.  Here are a few pictures.

 I took pictures with the plastic covers on, and I'll need to remove the plastic, and redo them.

This 3 story mini-mansion was an amazing home, with so many memories.

 The desk here in the main entry hall used to be in the library.
Before that it was actually a grand piano.

As a child, when we squabbled, we had to sit on the stairs.  I always got the front stairs, while my sister Dolly always got the back stairs.  In those days, there was carpet on the front stairs, so I always got the better deal.
There are stories about every room in the house.  I hope to share a few with my students, and then take the time to actually write them  down.

Even the light on the stairs, has special memories.  My most special memory has me standing by the light as a scrawny and probably scared looking ten year old.  

It was my first day at the house.  I had been shown my room and I was coming down the stairs.  I stopped and looked around because I didn't know what I wanted to do or where I should even go.  I was a little nervous, but I was also amazed at how beautiful, big, and pristine my new home was.  It was so different than what I was used to.  

While standing there, The sweetest old white-haired man walked up to me and started talking to me.  I asked him who he was and he smiled as he put his hand on his the side of his face and said, "I'm your new Dad."  

Every time I look at this picture I smile because I see my 10 year old self there with Dad smiling at me.  You see Mom and Dad opened their home and hearts to many children who needed a new start.  It was a new beginning for me, and one that I am so very thankful for.

I give credit to my great math skills to game playing.  We spent many hours play games like Monoply, Clue, Gin Rummy, Yatzee, Kizmet, and so many  more.

 This is the library.  Two walls were completely covered with built-in book cases.  The black paint is still as glossy as the day I moved in.  It is original paint from over 100 years ago.  This is also the original wall paper.  The three stained glass windows depict the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, which were used by Christopher Columbus to travel to China.  Of course he never reached China.  Instead he reached the Bahamas.

Of course we had to sit at the piano where we spent countless hours practicing (and watching the clock as we practiced).  At the time we lived in the house the piano was actually in the second living room, since the TV was in the library.

The informal dining room had been turned into a sitting room.  When we lived here, we had a huge table that could seat 20 people.  That table was often filled with visitors.  One of my jobs was to set the table each evening for dinner. Setting the table and clearing the table were big jobs when the table was full, but everyone had jobs because we were all part of the family.

My next step is to redo some of these pictures of the house, finish taking pictures of my phote album, and prepare a presentation lesson.  This mini lesson will probably be with Screen Castify.  I need practice using this app, so I can teach my students to use it with some of their projects.

Okay, back to the "Tour Your Home Lesson" Here are the prompts I plan to use.
  • What do you see?
  • What are some favorite memories
  • Imagine the stories that would come up in that place
  • Jot down some story ideas
  • Move to a new spot (do the same thing)
What are some of your favorite beginning of the year writing prompts?  I'd love to hear about them. To find out more strategies by other teachers CLICK HERE.

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