Children will naturally visit their writing area once they are inspired and ready to begin the process. I highly encourage parents not to force this process as children are likely to become resistant to writing if they are forced to begin this process before they are ready. For some the act of writing will simply flow naturally with very little guidance. For others however, they may require assistance in collecting their ideas. For those children requiring further guidance, may this post provide you with guidance in the process.
This process begins by simply allowing all ideas. The brainstorming process can be a simple one if all of the ideas your child shares are encouraged without labeling ideas as “good” or “bad.” In writing, there are no truly “good” or “bad” ideas, they are simply ideas. During this initial stage, it’s important to allow the child to creatively brainstorm all the ideas possible. You may find your child needs assistance with recording these ideas. For others, they may be quite comfortable with recording, but need an organizational tool for doing so.
I highly recommend Thinking Maps for collecting and recording ideas. For further clarity, I have featured a Thinking Map called a bubble map on the topic of Spotted Salamander. As is evident, the central topic is located in the center circle. All supporting ideas are recording in the surrounding circles. For further ideas regarding brainstorming tools, take a peek at this site.
Throughout the brainstorming process, I encourage you to guide your child. At times, your child may have a plethora of ideas for recording. At other times, they may require questions to probe further into the topic. While these questions vary depending on the topic, it is essential that answering the question extends beyond “yes” and “no.” For instance, in the exploration of lizards, I might pose the question “how do lizards differ from other living things?” I may also guide using the question “what aspect of the lizard do I find fascinating?” Guiding, simply put, allows the child to formulate their own ideas without having a required outcome. This allows children to fully express themselves.
"Throughout the process, it is essential to take time to recognize your child for their effort, creativity and enthusiasm. "
The final idea I wish to share is simply to enjoy. Writing can be an exciting, invigorating, and fun process when the ideas are generated and flow naturally. Throughout the process it is essential to take time to praise your child for their efforts, creativity and enthusiasm. Enjoy all your child brainstorms as a representation of them. Please take a moment to share your thoughts and questions by commenting on this post. I would love to hear what you have to share!
I have had the opportunity to work with many families searching to provide authentic opportunities for their children to write. Often, a journal is implemented to provide this opportunity. While I applaud the implementation of this tool, some students require
further inspiration to write. In these instances, sensory rich experiences can be used.
I have outlined several types of these experiences below.
One of these experiences is nature immersion. Throughout the Atlanta, Georgia area there are various parks and nature preserves. Within these special spaces lay a variety of animals, insects and plants to be discovered. Leading your child in a guided
exploration of these areas can provide a truly fulfilling experience. All senses are engaged as nature naturally unfolds before you. This experience can also lend itself to the opportunity for your child to research further about the living creatures you encountered while exploring. In the slideshow below, I have featured a few pictures from my favorite spots around Atlanta!
I also encourage you to establish shared experiences with your child. During one summertime lesson, I created ice cream with a student. This experience later motivated the child to write about the steps in the process. She also wrote a beautiful story about
a town made solely of ice cream. It was a true delight! A favorite trip or vacation spot can also lead itself to wonderful stories. Often, I will use treasured storybooks to provide a catalyst for writing. Providing students the opportunity to rewrite the end of a familiar story, create an original version, or change the setting excites students and inspires writing.
I firmly believe, tapping into children’s interests brings learning alive for students. One of my favorite writing activities to provide students with an interest in the arts is “Scribble Writing.” As the name implies, students are given the opportunity to construct a large scribble on a blank paper. Using their creative talents, they form a unique picture depicting an object based on the scribble. The picture is then used as a catalyst for writing. Many of the students I guide enjoy Legos. I recently came upon art and writing projects incorporating these toys at Homegrown Learners.
Guiding children in becoming inspired writers can be facilitated by sensory rich experiences. Allowing the child to fully experience the enjoyment of the trip,
activity, and craft facilitates the natural flow of future writing ideas. Guiding child to enjoy rather than mandate a piece based on a specific writing topic lays the foundation for
students to become lifelong writers. What activities do you enjoy establishing to facilitate writing inspiration for your child?
Writing provides a foundation for communication. Through writing, authors are able to share ideas and vivid details that may escape the conventions of casual conversation. Due to the nuisances of language and grammar, I have guided students who carry a fear of writing. For some, this fear of writing is ingrained; others simply find the process tiresome and dull. Therefore, in the next few blog posts, I will provide ideas to guide children into becoming better equipped and more inspired writers.
Create a Space
Creating a space is essential for guiding budding writers. One would not think of going to the hardware store to read a novel or visit the library to practice their drum solo. Creating a space for writing is equally as important. I have had the opportunity to guide several students in the process of strengthening their writing skills. I found providing a means of collecting all their brilliant ideas centering on a specific topic to be an essential first step. Therefore, having 2-3 favored brainstorming tools available for the writer is important. I will explain in further detail in my next post directions for guiding students in the use of both the Circle Map and Bubble Map featured in the picture below.
I also ensure that colorful, developmentally appropriate writing paper is available. I have noticed colored paper excites and motivates students. However, the hue of the paper can influence the writers’ mood. Research suggests that colors including light blue and green create a mood of calm and centeredness. While red and orange create moods of vibrancy and excitement. Check out the University of Georgia article on the impact of sensory details on student learning. http://sdpl.coe.uga.edu/researchabstracts/visual.html
It has been my experience that including in this space a personal word wall is beneficial. This word wall can be centered on a specific topic including “Water Words.” It may include words that the student has struggled to record previously. Grade level sight words may also be featured. Displaying this word wall in a prominent location is essential to facilitate its use. I encourage the creation of the word wall to be a process shared between you and the writer. When children are actively involved in the process of creation, they are more likely to use this tool.
Including within this space the opportunity to fidget is also important. Many students require movement while brainstorming and explaining their writing ideas. Squish balls, balance ball chairs, and visuals can be used to provide opportunity for movement and tranquility within the space.
A carefully planned and well-organized space is ideal for guiding children into becoming inspired writers. When the writing process is looked upon with excitement and passion, students are more likely to write with eagerness. The space provided for children lays the foundation for future writing experiences.
To remember a date, item, or event is one of life’s greatest treasures. Whether it’s a birthday, favorite scene from a movie, or a moment of sheer happiness, remembering is our way of holding onto what’s important. In the classroom setting, remembering is not only pleasant, it’s vital. Let’s then take a closer look at memory and methods for improving memory storage.
The process for storing vital details can be summarized in a 3-step process. Information presented is processed and then stored in short-term memory. Here prioritizing, sorting and discarding are all essential. Based on the data presented by Paula Moraine M.Ed. 99 percent of the information presented is discarded by the short term memory. The active working memory acts as a link in connecting the short and long term memory. Generally, up to seven items can be processed in active working memory. Long term memory is where facts and details are stored for long term retrieval. The number of pieces of information that can be stored here are limitless.
The memory experiences each individual encounters varies. Providing tools and strategies that are “just right” must be based on individual memory systems. I have selected a few of these systems and offer study strategies to enhance student’s learning opportunities.
Those that store memories based on content viewed have a strength in the visual memory system. To facilitate learning processes for those with visual memory strengths, I suggest using video demonstrations encapsulating dates, techniques and processes previously presented. Kahn Academy is a great resource in this domain. This site contains video tutorials on topics including math, art, sciences and more.
This memory system relies on action and performance. Many learners that fall within the parameters previously described as right brain learners demonstrate strength in motor memory systems. I would recommend visiting my Pinterest page at www.pinterest.com/tutorwise for strategies for these learners. There are games, sensory experiences and various tactile activities for these students.
This memory system relies on the retention of the order of items. For students studying events in history, battles in the Civil War, or sequencing story events, I recommend creating a timeline to facilitate the retention of essential details. The website ReadWriteThink offers a tool to create, save, and later retrieve timelines created.
Information stored for speaking and writing relies on the declarative memory system. For those with a strong declarative memory system, I recommend using Twitter to provide an authentic outlet for communication. This site provides learners with information relating to world events, current trends, and celebrations. It will help to strengthen the student’s sense of self as they communicate and receive feedback on their ideas. I would love to connect with students and their families at twitter.com/tutorwise.
With these ideas in mind, I would enjoy learning more about your opinion. What memory system is predominate for you and/or your child? What tools and strategies have you found to enhance the learning process? I look forward to hearing your insights!
Ms. Melissa believes education should be engaging and fun! Throughout her lessons, she offers structure and choice to guide children into becoming life-long learners. She provides this blog to all those interested in education and learning more about Tutor Wise LLC. services. Thanks for stopping by!