Here I am on Day 8, wondering what to write about. I could write about the chicken tortellini soup I made tonight for dinner. (Perfect for a blustery evening.) I could write about the camping trip upon which we are about to embark. (Praying for warmer weather!) I could write about our trip to the movies to see Monsters vs. Aliens. (I took a little snooze mid-way through.)
Because I am not feeling very decisive, I am not going to write about any of that. I am going to write about what Lucy Calkins and Don Murray have called writing territories. Writing territories are important ideas, concepts, or themes with which a writer is most comfortable.
It would be perfect to get your students to pick their own brains at the beginning of the year to find out what's important to them-- what they know well. These are jumping off points from which to write all year. Here is a quick hit of my personal writing territories:
food shows (especially reality cooking shows!)
funny teacher stories
6. My kids
7. Other people's kids
Each one of these territories can theoretically be made into individual maps-- with the one idea in the middle and then related ideas webbed out from it. I think it's well worth taking the time to do-- for us and for our kids. Maybe I'll work on some of these webs as a sit by the campfire tomorrow night or the night after. I will not have the computer with me, but I will be writing -- old school style-- pen and paper--and then posting when I return home. Wish me luck!