My Heart Map is an activity to include in any writing curriculum you use in the classroom. It can be used across grade levels. My Heart Map helps students think of things to write about that are important to them when they are feeling stuck or having writer's block.
Writing from the heart...
1. Have students sit in the meeting area of your classroom. Tell students that many
writers keep a collection of things they know or care about to draw from whenever they want to write so that they never suffer writer’s block.
2. Talk about the things that are important to you as a person. Talk about the people in your life, special places, things, or ideas.
3. In this part of the lesson, show students the My Heart Map template. You can create a sample as students watch or have one already prepared to share. You should include a variety of things on your map to encourage children to do the same.
4. Take time to answer students’ questions before passing out a blank heart map to each student. Encourage students to draw or write about a variety of things that important to them.
5. Once all students have drawn their heart maps, photograph each map with a digital camera so you can print out several copies of the heart maps for them to keep in all of the places where they write. You might choose to hang up their original heart maps in the classroom to help on those days when students cannot come up with something to write about on their own. I prefer to laminate a copy and put them in their Writer's Workshop folder.
6. Each day during writing time, students should be able to access their heart map. They can use it to spark ideas when they are having a hard time thinking of something to write.
Students can fill in the boxes with people they know, animals they like, things they enjoy, and places they have been or want to visit! Another great tool to keep in the writing folder!