Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Writing Territories

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:
1. Family
immediate family
not-so-immediate family
growing up
2. Food
food shows (especially reality cooking shows!)
3. School
funny teacher stories
4. Trips
5. Books
6. My kids
7. Other people's kids
8. Movies
9. Friendships
10. Marriage
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!