We've all had them in our classes - students who day after day say that they have nothing to write about. You know how the conversation goes...
You say, "How about writing about that book we just read?". She says, "I don't remember."
You say, "You could write about recess. What did you do on the playground today?" She says, "Nothing."
So you say, "You were telling me that you're going to get a new pet soon, right?"... and of course she says...
You know what she says. We've all been there.
I really like the idea of expecting students to come up with their own writing topics right from the beginning. It builds their independence, forces them to think, builds their confidence (they really can come up with their own ideas, you know), and it eliminates a lot of time wasted on conversations like the one above!
All of that being said, there are good reasons to offer your students a topic once in a while. Content area writing, teaching a genre or writing trait, even just preparing for the dreaded state tests. Kids really do need to learn how to respond to a writing prompt.
Here's a freebie to put in your writing center to help that little writer who's hit a little writer's block.
It's a set of captioned character and setting cards. By taking one or more of each kind of card, your writer have the beginning of a story to write. Maybe it will be about an astronaut in the grocery store, or a clown on the playground. Maybe it will just be enough to get that pencil on the paper and set the story flowing.
These cards are part of a larger set of 72 cards that are available at my TeachersPay Teachers store.
Just think of how many ways your little guys will be able to combine them into new and interesting ideas for writing!
This is a great activity for your document camera, too. Pick 2 cards to put up on the screen and do your modeled or shared writing with the whole class right there. Or have a student choose 2 cards sight unseen, put them up on the screen for the whole class to see, and have partners do some brainstorming before writing. Speech and language teachers have also told me that these cards are useful for language development, vocabulary, and conversation.
Click on the cover below to get a closer look.