I Got Nothing!

Oftentimes in our classrooms, we hear our students complain that they don't have any ideas, or they have no inspiration for a writing assignment.  We encourage them to brainstorm, create lists, do a Venn Diagram, write an outline... And the list goes on and on, yet the students still claim to be at a loss.  How on earth?

Yet, when professional writers claim to have "writer's block" and are unable to produce new materials, we sympathize with them, agreeing that we've all been there.  Even I, someone who has been writing as long as I can remember, and loving almost every minute of it, have been stuck numerous times without ideas or without inspiration.  It's a reality.

So how do we help students complete classroom writing tasks? 

I can only give advice that works for me personally... I take a trip.  Travel inspires me, and often provides me with more ideas than what I ever could have imagined from the confines of my office space.  The great outdoors provides me with everything I need to get started, and sometimes all I need to wrap it all up!

Send every student on a vacation?  Not that easy, is it?  But there are a few things you can do to help:
  1. Provide them a good book that will take them on an adventure or provide them details about something new and inviting to them.
  2. Set up a Walking Tour in your classroom to engage students with pictures, quotes, and artifacts from a place previously unimagined.
  3. Use your school's technology resources to take students on a virtual field trip where they can see the landscapes, the waterways, the weather conditions, and the cultural interactions from strangers around the world.
  4. Take students outside with their notepads and allow them time to simply breathe in the ideas from the Spring blooming around them.
Think about it... What was your first assignment every year as you started back to school?  Write about your summer break and your family vacation.  Many of our kids no longer have those experiences, so we have to help them find them in new and inventive ways!

And then watch the ideas roll in and roll onto those blank pieces of paper!

Happy Spring and Happy Teaching!
Michele Luck