I was invited to visit and share my writing at Potomac elementary in November. Thank you to Beverly Blue for the invite. I also got to share the day with AJ Cosmo and Verlyn Tariton.)
There I am at the top giving lessons in the gym. Thanks again to Potomac Elementary.
I met with students from Kindergarten to 6th grade. I met with seven different groups. If that’s sounds intimidating, just remember teachers do that everyday.
Instead of me just reading from Kevin and the Seven Lions, although I did that, I talked mostly about generating ideas for writing.
I shared a lesson that I do in my classes at the start of every year. First, one side of the paper you write all the different things you love. Be it football, baseball, ponies, pizza, cars, Disney, doesn’t matter just put it down. Now you have a list of things things you can write about about.
But we’re not done yet.
On the other side of the paper write down things you hate, or don’t like. The loathe side of the list. Homework, brussel sprouts, tests, whatever, put it down. Now you have more things you can write about.
This what I call my Love it-Loathe it List. All of my students have one at the beginning of their writing journals.
Now we take it a step further. Take one thing from the love side of the paper and one from the loathe side of the paper and combine them. Pizza and brussel sprouts, Football and spiders, now all of a sudden you have a third or more things to write about.
Idea mating, two ideas coming together and making more ideas.
With the sixth grade group we came up with football playing turtles. (For some reason, someone hated turtles. Turtles.) We discussed that with turtles you combine turtles, ninjas, mutants, and your teenage years, and suddenly you have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Idea mating at it’s finest.
I taught the kids there should never be a day when you say I have nothing to write.
I don’t allow it my class. When it happens I refer my students back to the Love-Loathe it list.
There is always something to write about.
(For more ideas on creating ideas. Check out Claudia Azula-Altucher’s book Becoming an Idea Machine. See my review of that book here.)