Brainstorming Ideas

As a group, Patti's six students brainstorm topics for their stories. Students then receive a printed list of these ideas and are encouraged to add their own or vary the topics. The students pick several topics from their list to send to Lois in their second e-mail to her.

Hi Miss Szymanski,

Here are some Ideas for my story:

  • Favorite book
  • Shopping trip
  • Magic candy
  • Day in the mall
  • magic storm
  • the day at home
  • the magic gold
  • a magic gift
  • my favorite vacation
  • my pet is coming back home
  • the giant dog
  • I'm realpy not sure about this.
Your Friend,

Hi Shanita,

You have a lot of great story ideas! No wonder you are having a hard time picking which one to write about. So many good ideas make it hard to choose.

Maybe you can combine several ideas to make one story. For example, on a day in the mall you could stop at a candy store and buy some candy that turns out to be magic candy!

Or, you could spend a day at home scared and worried about your missing pet. You could read your favoite book to cheer up, look at pictures from your favorite vacation, and worry about a giant dog (especially if your missing pet is a cat). In the end your pet could come back home, making a for a happy ending!

Or you could just choose one idea, like the magic storm. Would the rain be made of gold? Would the thunder be created when angels rubbed their wings together, or when giant tubs of gold tipped over in the clouds above? Would the wind bring magic spells? What would happen in a magic storm? Who would be your main character and what would they see and feel?

I am not sure what idea you will pick, but you have many good ones to think about. If you still can't decide, let me know and we will make a list of what you can do with each idea you have. Have fun with it!

Your friend,
Lois Szymanski

Betty has done this a number of ways with the students. With the first group of participating third graders they were able to decide quickly the topic for their story and make a list of ideas they wanted to include. The second grade groups had a harder time deciding upon their topic and had much discussion before a topic was decided upon. Possible ideas were listed under their topic and sent to the author. This year’s group of second graders went to a computer lab and used a program called Kidspiration to web their ideas. There was a library of pictures and the students chose pictures of a cat, dog, the moon and a butterfly to write about. Betty was a little disappointed that many of them had chosen animals to write about. Their webs took different directions as they began to add details and with Ms. Weeks’ help she is sure the stories will turn out to be interesting as well as meaningful for the students. A suggestion is to have a possible topic before going into this webbing program if you decide to try it with your group.


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Authors in Residence: links to our yearly programs
|Sarah Weeks 1999-2000 | Sarah Weeks 2000-2001 | Sarah Weeks 2001-2002 |
Lois Szymanski 1999-2000 | Lois Szymanski 2000-2001 | Lois Szymanski 2001-2002 |

Authors in Residence Online prepared by Betty Ryall and Patti Weeg
for the National Title 1 Conference - Tampa, Florida: January 24-26, 2002
| Authors in Residence | Elementary Math Students in the CyberZone |
January 2002