Selecting a topic

Selecting a topic



Students will be able to ...



1. Do now: What kinds of things do you like to write about? Why?

2. Discuss do now and put answers on board.

3. Pass out options for first writing project. Explain that throughout the rest of the year, they will have a lot of choice in what they write about for this class. But, because it is the beginning of the year, we felt that they would appreciate having a little less choice. We will go over the options for this cycle, but I will tell them that if they have a burning desire to write about something else, they can come to me and we can discuss it.

4. I will tell them that we are going to do two writing exercises to help them think about their options and choose the best one. They will need a clean page in their notebook.

5. The first exercise will be about a story where the setting is really important. In this script, (p) means pause to give time to write. "We will do a writing activity that gets you started writing about a story. The questions are meant to help you get started thinking and writing. If you get started writing and the questions are not helping you, please ignore them and go with the flow. You must continue writing during the full activity. Use the questions to help you maintain the writing. Start off by thinking about a setting that has very strong feelings for you. It can be a happy place or place that makes you mad. What is this place? (p) Imagine this place without people in it. What do you see in this place? (p) What does this place sound like? (p) Now, imagine their are people in this place. Who are they? (p) Are you there? (p) What are the people feeling/thinking/talking about? (p) Focus on one person there - they can be real or imaginary - you or someone else. What is this person's name? (p) How old is he or she? (p) What is their relationship to this place? Do they live here? Work here? Go to school here? Are they visiting? Are they lost? (p) Think about what kind of story you can tell about this person that can only happen in this particular place at this particular time. What is happening at the beginning of the story? (p) How is the character feeling? What is he or she thinking? (p) What happens to make the story interesting and real? (p) What is it about this person and this place that makes the story move along? (p) How will the story end? (p) What do you want the reader to think or know at the end of the story?

6. Take a few minutes for them to rest their hands and share what they wrote with their partner.

7. The next exercise will be to write a description of a place that is real or imaginary. "First, I want you to close your eyes and think of a place that is real or a place that exists only in your imagination. Look all around this place - on every side of you. Think about what you see and smell. This place could be your home or your school. It could be on a beach or in the city. It could be on Earth or somewhere completely far away. Is it cold or warm? Do you smell anything? What does this place smell like? Who else is there? What are they doing? Now, open your eyes and write in your notebook about your place. Focus on the senses and how this place makes you feel. Think about colors and textures. Try to describe the place so well that I can see it as completely as you do."

8. Share with a neighbor.

9. Lead students in a discussion on how you would decide which idea is a better idea for the writing project. Write ideas on board.



Students will select a topic and write a letter to me telling me what they are going to write about and what I should expect from their writing project.



How were students at completing the writing exercises? Did ideas come easily? When students leave, do they have an idea of what they are going to do for their writing project?