Thursday, August 15, 2013

Using A Heart Map in the Writer's Workshop

I'm actually re-posting a post I did last fall on using heart maps in the writer's workshop.This is from my other blog The Lazy Perfectionist from August 14, 2012.


Lately I've been researching new methods for teaching writing. The main method that keeps coming back to me is the use of mentor texts with writing workshops and writing notebooks. I've been really challenged to start my own writing notebook so my students can see that I, too write even though no one is making me. Students love to imitate their teachers. I'm hoping by my students seeing me write, they will want to write as well.

Tonight I spent a good hour and a half in Panera alone reading the book A Writer's Notebook: Unlocking the Writer Within You by Ralph Fletcher. It's written for kids with the hope that their teachers will read it first and apply the principles to their own lives before forcing their students to apply it to theirs.
Tonight I started my very first entry. I created a Heart Map as suggested by a couple different educators. Here she is (I must say, I did a pretty decent job.):
It's of course rather childish, but I love everything about my childhood and wish I could return all the time. My favorite part of the this map is the center. I drew Ben as a stick figure in cowboy boots holding his fishing pole and harmonica. Not much else has been on his mind this summer other than those three things.

The purpose of this heart map is to remind writers of what is near and dear to their hearts. Writers do best when they write about either what they know or what interests them. I hope to come back to this map when I need inspiration for my own writing.

A year later, I can actually say this was probably my students' favorite activity we did all year. Some of them really do love to use markers, so I think that motivated them. However, I think all of us deep down love the chance to talk about ourselves and what we like and dislike. I know I sure had fun coming up with my heart map and then later sharing it with my students.

The important thing to keep in mind with this sort of activity is to remember to refer back to it throughout the year. I should have done a better job with this, but I was able to tell students who said "I have nothing to write about. My life is boring." that they could always refer back to their heart map and choose something from there to write about.

I hope to come up with some equally creative ideas this year to spur more students on towards loving their Writer's Notebooks. 

If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...