Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Writing - Heart Maps

One of the lessons I love doing every year as we set up our Writer's Notebooks is The Heart Map. I first heard about this way back in 2001 when my county had its first Summer Writing Institute for teachers. One of the presenters was Georgia Heard. An amazing instructor that had so many great ideas I still use today. Her Heart Map lesson was incredible. I still have the one I made that year and share it with my students every time we set up our notebooks.

The premise is to have them create a launching strategy for their notebooks that they can refer back to throughout the year. The shape that is normally suggested is the heart of course, but I always open it up for the students to pick their own designs. It is all about finding what is important to them, so letting them pick the design allows for their personality and creativity to stand forefront. I've seen students use soccer balls, flowers, and even a safe complete with combination lock. Awesome!

You start in the middle of your design and draw or write those phrases that are most important to you. Around the edges, you can place such things as favorite people, hobbies, books, subjects, etc. It is suggested that you have them color coordinate each section. Then when you need an idea for something to write about, this Heart Map is there for you.

In her book, Awakening the Heart, Ms. Heard includes several questions that you can ask to help students generate ideas for what to put in their designs. Here are a few:

What people have been important to you and why?
What are some experiences or events that you will never forget?
What happy or sad memories do you have?
What secrets do you keep in your heart?

The students enjoy celebrating those things they love to do and decorating to their {Heart's} content. Hope your students feel the same!
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