From lists to graphics- creating writing territories

28 08 2011

At the beginning of the year, I always want my students to make a list of of writing territories (ideas that they can keep in their writing notebook for when they are stuck and have nothing to write about).

This year I am going to throw magazines at them and have them cut out words, pictures, write and draw their own words, pictures and symbols to create a collage of things they like, believe in, hate, love, experiences they have had, favorites, memories etc… 

I will have them store this in their writing folders so that they can pull it out when they don’t know what to write about.

How do you have your students share writing territories? 



Using THE word in class… Writing workshop!!

26 10 2009

Relatives Came

When I was young in mountains

I finally introduced the word writing workshop to my students. We went through what a typical writing workshop day will look like:

Warm Up
Minilesson of some kind

We are doing writing workshop two days a week, sometimes three. Every Monday and Tuesday is writing workshop (WW) day. The students have been writing in their writer’s notebook their writing territories heart map ( a heart shaped paper that they wrote the things they cared about, memories, trips, people who are important to them etc..) and their “piggy bank” of writing ideas ( a piggy bank printed on a paper that they write genres they want to try and pieces they want to write and audiences they want to write to).
I made a powerpoint of how writing workshop will work- what our days will be like,what to write, where to get ideas etc… Every other Friday is going to be open mic. in which the students will be able to share pieces they have written, or book reviews that they have. If they want, I will record them and put it in a podcast on the website for them to listen to later.

I anticipated them not being sure what to write, so I in order to help them with what to write I started with writing memoirs. I read them, The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant. We talked about what memoirs are, and looked at some previous student’s work. I then had them create a timeline of their lives to try to pick an event that is meaningful to them and that they want to always remember. I also read When I was Young in the Mountains by Patricia Polocco. As we are working on memoirs I keep trying to show them different examples of memoirs and get them to think of something to write about that is important to them. As a warm up I also had them write 25 random things, facts, goals and dreams about themselves. After all of these different ideas I gave to them- I figured they all had to have something to write about!

During writing workshop- I am letting them either work on their memoir, OR any other piece they want to write. The students LOVE this time to just write. They seem very interested in writing letters to their favorite bands, actors, people and companies asking for freebies! An awesome moment was when they asked me if I could show them the correct letter format!!! It was great to see them care about writing correctly because they are writing authentically!!!

After the first week of WW, I went through the revision and editing card strategy that we practiced with our short stories at the beginning of the year. More on that to come…. (click here to see my post on revision and editing)

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