Saturday, September 8, 2012

Writing Prompt Wordles

The next few weeks in our class are all about WRITING! J  I’ve been doing some focus lessons to help my kiddos realize how fun it is to write, and how many choices there are to write about.  We always have those few students who continually get stumped when it comes to a writing topic.  Here’s an idea for helping kids get past the “I don’t know what to write” hump!

Before we ever sat down to free write this year, I put my students in pairs.  I gave them the task of coming up with as many possible writing topics as they could think of.  From dragons to sharks to birthday parties, what would they really like to write about if they had the CHOICE?  They worked with their partners for about 10 minutes and generated amazing lists of things that they could write about.

Next, we gathered as a group and each pair shared their best writing topics.  As they did, I started typing their ideas into a Wordle (  This free site quickly and easily generates a word cloud of any text you choose.  After an extensive list from the kids and a click of a button, their writing topic Wordle appeared on the Smartboard with lots of “ooohs” and “aaaaaahs.”  They were hooked!

 We talked about how this list could help us through the year to generate writing ideas, and how we can always add more to it.  I’d like to even revisit this activity and have the students make the writing topic Wordles and glue them on the front of their writing journals.   This might even make a nice basket of class writing notebooks, all with different wordle topic lists on the cover?  Lots of possibilities, and boy was this fun!

The result has been 23 very eager writers!  All week I’ve heard students say things liike “Can I write in my journal when I’m done?” or  “I’m not done with my story—can I keep working on that tomorrow?”  Best of all, I know that the next time I hear a child say “I don’t know what to write,” all I need to do is point to our Wordle!


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