Idea webs are what good writers complete before they begin their writing piece but what happens when you don't have any good ideas? Well, two things:
- Perhaps you've chosen the wrong topic (if there were options)
- You might have to get really, really creative (if it's a mandatory subject or question -especially in later grades)
Right now, most of our topics are "choice" topics and I think that's a better route to go. The reason for this is simple: since we're trying to help students develop their voice as authors, they need to be excited about what they're writing about.
But even still, you choose that exciting topic and you're all geared up to write about it and then you hit a wall. Sure you're favourite colour is purple, but how many interesting things can you really say about it? After you name the colour, what else is there? Not exactly paragraph material.
So back you go to the list of topics. Sure, you might not be in *love* with some of them but you might find you have more to say about hockey than the colour purple. The boys and girls are learning that this is all a lot harder than it looks and that sometimes the ideas don't come right away. Sometimes you have to strike out a few times before you it the ol' home run and that's a-okay.
We're currently working on our very first, all on our own paragraphs. There's a link to the paragraph checklist students have to use for this task. There were about eight or so topics to choose from and most kids started with one and then moved on to another as they realized the ideas weren't coming to them as they had hoped. The same way good readers know when to abandon a book, good writers know when to abandon a topic.
It's been a really rich learning experience for everyone.
Here's that checklist.