I hope you caught my last post–Room to Write #1: Sequence of Events! If not, you can find it here.
In this post I will let you in on my little secret for teaching ideas and details.
How many times have your students said, “I don’t know what to write about.”? I used to hear that all the time, but now I hear it very little. I don’t do anything spectacular. I have just found a way to keep it from happening 🙂
Students use this worksheet and I draw one on the board.
I tell the students they will be writing a narrative. I ask for some ideas of things they can write about. While they think, I give some of my own ideas and I write them in the big circle. Before I finish writing, hands begin to shoot up. I call on students. I write their ideas.
I like to give kids ideas that anybody could experience. . . going to the park, going to Grandma’s house, a party, the first day of school. . . I want kids to know that they can write about something other than going to Disneyland.
Once kids begin to hear the ideas of other students, they get their own ideas.
And that, my friends, is how I get each of my students to have an idea!
In Room to Write #2: Ideas and Details, you can find more ideas for helping students with finding ideas or topics.
These cards give children ideas for writing. They get their imaginations going.
My Writing Ideas envelopes help students keep their ideas organized. They can add ideas as they come up, but they can be used for future writing.
In the past, I used to sit down with students, read their writing, and after reading ask them to add more details. I used to say this over and over again. Then one day it occurred to me that I have never explicitly taught the meaning of details. Am I embarrassed for telling the world this, yes.
So I thought about how to teach the meaning of details. I made an entire freebie, which you can download here.
Or you can use this. . .
Before handing out the worksheet, ask kids to imagine a birthday party. What would you do to make your birthday party amazing? Would you have balloons? Would you have a birthday cake? How about some streamers?
These things that make our parties more exciting are details. The words we add to our writing to make it more interesting are also called details.
Hand out the worksheet and tell the students that they will be adding details to this birthday party.
I find students have a much better understanding of reading and writing concepts once they understand the meaning of details. If there is one word I spend time explicitly teaching, it is details. I think it is such a valuable word. . . until I think of a new one 🙂
Here are some activities included in Room to Write #2: Ideas and Details. . .
These activities help students develop ideas and give students a conceptual understanding of the term.
These activities teach students the meaning of details. Once they have developed an understanding, they practice adding details to writing.
Once students develop an understanding ideas and details, it is time to write!
Before having children write a narrative with a focus on ideas and details, these samples help students see how to add ideas and details. Children read both samples and discuss the similarities, differences, and what makes one better than the other.
And finally, students choose a graphic organizer and write a narrative with a focus on ideas and details.
To continue reminding students about writing vocabulary, these writing vocabulary posters are a great addition to the classroom.
If you would like to use some of these activities in your classroom, click here.
For more lessons, which include PowerPoint presentations and more activities, click here.
I hope you found this helpful! And I hope you can use these ideas to write with your students.