April 23, 2017

Writing Strategies Goal 3: Generating and Collecting Ideas

This chapter talks about living the writerly life. A wide-awake life where ideas find the writers.

It's where writers seek new ideas in old memories, collect ideas from ones that may have been forgotten; they react, respond, and store ideas in their writer's notebooks and generate their own thoughts from their passions and interests.

It's a remarkable life and it's one that students will embrace if given the appropriate tools.

In the upper grades, especially 4th and beyond, the students become very aware of their world. They are moving out of that self-centered phase of life and are realizing that there is more out there. We can use this change of thinking as a way to help our students generate new ideas for writing. 

This strategy is called: Abstract Issues, Specific Examples

↠Brainstorm issues or ideas that are important in our world (I always do this as a whole class activity. This helps clarify ideas/definitions that students are unaware of while creating an anchor chart. This chart becomes an ongoing one, where we are always adding to it when new issues arise.)
↠Select an issue
↠Brainstorm examples (this is a list of possible topics that connect to the issue)
↠Choose a genre
Another favorite strategy is called: Word Mapping

↠Put your topic in the middle of the page
↠Brainstorm words or phrases connected to your topic
↠Draw lines to connect your ideas

😁What surprises you?
😀 What might be an angle your topic can take?
Another favorite strategy is called: Tour Your Home

↠Guide the reader through your home. Write with detail using your senses and capture the memories that are evoked.

🏡 Pause. What do you see in that place?
🏡 Imagine stories that would come up in that spot.

Share in the comments some ways you help your writers generate ideas. Have you tried any of the ones I listed above? What do you do to help your writers who struggle with getting their ideas on paper?


  1. Thank you so much for joining us in this book study! Don't you love it? I also like the Word Mapping idea - definitely getting lots of ideas for next school year!

  2. I really liked the abstract issues example that you used. I could also do this in my classroom next year. I'm rereading the book and just reread Goal 3. I really focused in on the Tour your home. https://goo.gl/oKE3CP