Friday, March 16, 2012

Slice of Life Day 16: How Do You Pick a Title?

One of the hardest parts of writing, in my opinion, is picking out a topic. At times, the topic just comes to me. It is something that I have been doing, or something I have been thinking about or something I have read that inspires me.  But when none of that happens, it is tough just coming up with that just right topic.

This week I have been working with my coaching team to come up with how to help teachers next year work with the new Common Core State Standards writing curriculum.  We know we have to increase the rigor for students.  Still, one of the toughest lessons for students is to pick a topic within the genre they are studying.  So, if that is such a difficult task for adults, how to we help children handle it?

Again and again we say: "As a teacher, whatever you are asking your students to do, you have to also do."  The other advice is: "Model, model, model!"  We can't be afraid to show our students that we, too, have those struggles.  By sharing our struggles students will be more comfortable taking risks and feel safe in their community of writers when they do.

Okay, for me not having any idea what I was going to write about tonight, going "cold" came out pretty good!


Mardie said...

Kathy, I agree - you went cold and just let it happen. I find it hard coming up with what I want to write as well. It's funny, but I've noticed that when I come up with something genuine, I can just write and write. When I'm not really interested in the topic, it takes me FOREVER to get anything down. I enjoyed reading your ruminations tonight about finding a topic. :)

Christina said...

I agree! Picking a topic to write about is very difficult.

I love your advice for students, "Model, model, model!"

Jennifer K. said...

Kathy, Great minds think alike! I wrote about something very similar to your post for my slice today. All too often we (teachers) get bogged down with all of our "to-do's" that we don't write alongside our students and share our struggles with them. It's invaluable.
Finding a topic can be tough at times, but arming students with the tools and strategies to find their own writing territories will help them come up with topics to fit any genre.

Mrs. C said...

I do it like you...I just start writing and see what flows from my brain and out my fingertips! Some times I take a word and just start writing my feelings about the word. I am concerned about the rigors of the new CCS. Hope the kids are up to the challenge!

wakeupandwrite said...

Ever since I started writing on a regular basis, I have a ton of sympathy for our students. It is difficult to pick a topic and write every day.

Jama said...

I totally agree with you that it is hard to find just the right topic. I have thought about what that means for my students, too. For that reason, whenever we hit a talking point during the day when they all want to tell a story, I like to mention to them that when it is writing time, this topic is something they may want to write about. I really should begin writing down the topic on a brainstormed list. Thanks for the reminder.