THE TRAIT OF IDEAS
Ideas are the heart of writing. If given the opportunity, children will ask an author where they get their ideas, and author's will answer - from everywhere. We must teach children to tune in to their world and open up their eyes and ears. Ideas can come from life experiences, family stories, books, news events, art, music, tidbits of conversation, and many other places. The picture books listed here are excellent resources for helping children to discover ideas for their own writing. It's always a good idea to discuss where an author might have gotten their ideas after reading a book. Anytime you have a chance to make a note of where an author got their idea (sometimes they tell you on their website or when they present or in interviews) to share with the children. Children can keep "idea" lists in their writer's notebooks. You can make an "idea" box for children to utilize when they are fresh out of ideas. Try to help children understand that there are not any new topics, only fresh ways of exploring the topic. One way to teach ideas is to read a lot of books on one theme and discuss how each author wrote about the same thing but in a different way. The following books support teaching the trait of ideas.
Writing About Family
Reading texts with similar themes allows students to make text to text connections; to compare and contrast characters, settings, plots, and ideas; and to generate writing ideas through common experiences. Family stories, traditions and histories are wonderful examples of how to pull what you know into your writing. Teach children to listen to stories passed along through oral tradition and put those stories on paper. Help children to realize the writing potential of all of the stories that they want to tell about in class.
Keepers by Jeri Hanel Watts and Felicia Marshall (grandparents; recording memories)
Night Tree by Eve Bunting (family tradition)
My Great-Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston (recording family history)
Love You Forever by Robert
Munsch (mother’s love) *heart sticker
My Grandpa and the Sea by Katherine Orr (grandparents) *small seashell
My Ol’ Man by Patricia Polacco (father)
Abuela by Arthur Doros
Aunt Flossie’s Hats by Elizabeth Howard
Writing About Friends
Friends are an important part of children’s lives. Exploring friendship through picture books is an excellent way to support needed social skills. Friendships are a rich source of stories for children.
Best Friends by Steven Kellogg
Writing About School
Children know about school. It's a major part of their lives. They all have school experiences. Writing about school is a natural topic.
We Share Everything by Robert Munsch
Writing About Secrets
For children, secrets are fun. Writing about secrets can bring out the creativity in kids. Dreaming up secrets allows their imaginations to free up and their writing to soar.
Barn Dance by Bill Martin Jr.
The Wise Woman and Her Secret by Eve Merriam
The Secret Knowledge of Grownups by David Wiesner
Writing About Memories
Everyone has memories. Memories (especially childhood memories) are rich resources for writer. Children can learn to tap into their memories (and the memories of parents and grandparents) for lots of wonderful writing ideas.
The Memory Box
Keepers by Jeri Hanel Watts and Felicia Marshall
The Hundred Penny Box
by Sharon Bell Mathis *new penny
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
by Mem Fox
When I Was Young In the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant
Writing About Adventures
Children love adventures and tend to have great imaginations. Let their imaginations soar and allow them to write their own adventures.
Weslandia by Paul Fleishman
Using Your Imagination
In a day and time of high doses of t.v., game stations and the Internet, some children have learned to rely on outward visual sources for their imaginative wonderings. They never learned that mud is cake and a porch is a stage. For children who need lessons in play, read aloud these wonderfully imaginative picture books.
Mud Is Cake by Pam Munoz Ryan
The Magic Hat by Mem Fox
Cook-A-Doodle-Do by Janet and
How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague
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