Writing From the Heart
- Students will be able to express the people, things, places, and ideas that are meaningful to them through the use of writing and illustrations.
- Students will be able to write informative texts where they come up with a topic, supply facts about it, and provide a sense of closure.
- Draw a large heart on the chart paper with a marker.
- Explain to your students that they will write meaningful topics and keep these topics in their desks for the entire year to refer back to when they can't think of things to write about.
- Elaborate that when something is meaningful, it is something that they really care about.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Model the process of thinking of ideas to put in your writing heart. Record family members, pets, and favorite things to do such as read, run, and travel.
- Explain that once half of the writing heart is filled in, it can be decorated with borders, colors, and pictures.
- Choose a topic from the completed Writing Heart template. For example, a family member, a favorite food, or a pet.
- Project the Informational Writing worksheet on the whiteboard.
- Explain to the students that now you are going to write about your topic. Tell the students that you will start by introducing your topic. Next, you will write three facts about your topic. Finally, you will provide a sense of closure to wrap up your writing.
- Write the following guiding questions on the whiteboard:
- What/Who are you writing about?
- What are three facts you'd like others to know about what/who you are writing about?
- Why is the person or thing meaningful to you?
- Model writing the informative writing piece (e.g. I want to tell you about my dog, Brooklyn. Brooklyn is a big dog. She likes to run and play outside. Her favorite toy is her tire. All of these things make Brooklyn special to me). Highlight the topic sentence, facts, and closure in different colors to support student understanding.
Guided Practice(5 minutes)
- Pass out the Writing Heart templates and Informational Writing worksheet to each student.
- Invite a few students to share what topics they would add to their writing hearts.
- Have them record a few ideas on their Writing Heart templates.
- Explain to the students that if they don’t know how to spell a word, they can draw a picture and try to sound out the word using letter sounds.
- Tell your students that the goal is to fill the entire heart so that they always have ideas to write about when they get “stuck” later in the year.
- Call a student volunteer up to the whiteboard. Ask the student to share one topic they included in their heart. Write the topic on the whiteboard. Guide the student to orally share a topic sentence, three facts, and a closure. Record their ideas on the whiteboard.
- Clarify any misunderstandings and allow peers to provide feedback, ideas, and support as the student shares their writing aloud.
Independent working time(15 minutes)
- Direct your students to begin writing in their writing hearts and provide coloring materials for students to use to decorate their hearts.
- Rotate around the room to provide assistance as needed.
- Ask students who came up with creative ideas to stand and share, as it may help students who aren't sure what to write.
- Direct your students to write complete sentences. For example, they could write "I love going to the beach with my sister," instead of "beach."
- Leave small whiteboards on your students' desks. When you rotate around, if they ask you to help with a word, write the word on the whiteboard.
- Give struggling students access to appropriate magazines to cut and paste pictures that inspire them onto their writing hearts.
- Instruct students to choose one of their topics and write an informative writing piece on the Informational Writing worksheet.
- Encourage students to refer to the whiteboard for support.
- Collect worksheets and assess student understanding based on their ability to name a topic, supply facts, and provide a sense of closure.
Review and closing(10 minutes)
- Invite the rest of your students to stand and share their writing pieces.
- Comment on their ideas, and make connections between students who picked similar people, places, activities, and things.
- In closing, explain to your students that these writing hearts will prove to be a great resource to help them come up with writing ideas throughout the year.