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Most students tend to write about the first idea that pops into their heads when given a prompt!
For example, it snowed on Christmas Day in 2004 for the first time in over 100 years in the Rio Grande Valley. Two months later, the 4th graders in Texas were asked to write about something that happened that they will never forget. Rumor has it that over 20,000 kids from the Valley wrote about the day that it snowed and they built snow men, had snowball fights, and went inside to drink hot chocolate!
It was then that I knew there had to be a better way to go about brainstorming for ideas. In this activity, I suggest that you work alphabetically... in 1. class 2. group 3. partner and 4. solo settings to think of ideas. If the class, group, or partnership feels that the idea is original or creative, it will be placed in the bling bling section of the page. However, if they decide that too many students might pick that same idea to write about, it will be placed in the blah section.
For students with limited experiences, the second page gives kids the chance to explore all the places they go, experiences they have and people they meet, whether they are in their own lives or on television, in books, social media or historical events/situations.
Regardless of what part of the year it is, I highly recommend that you have at least 40 to 50 ideas to pick from before the students are allowed to determine which idea will go into the lightbulb and become their central/controlling idea, thesis/position statement. That is what will be the focus and center of the rest of the essay.