Dr. Connie Hebert helps kids, parents, and teachers by helping them become experts at catching "the teachable minute" anytime, anywhere! My Teachable Minute Blog offers quick tips on how to engage with younger and older kids. Comments, questions, and reflections are always welcome . . . let's catch a million teachable minutes together!

“Ideas are merely twinkling stars in the brain, waiting to be noticed.” C. Hebert

Scaffolding ideas is an art and teachers who know how to do it can help falling writers enormously. The best way to help children who are ‘stuck’ on an idea is to have an oral conversation with them before they write, individually. Here is how one scenario might go:

“How’s is going, Jonathan?”
“Tell me a little about baseball before you start writing in your journal.”
“It’s fun.”
“Let me ask you this, Jonathan. If a kid from another country came to the U.S. and never heard of baseball before, what would you tell him about it?”
“It’s where you hit a ball and run the bases.”
“What else would you tell him so that he really understands how we play it.”
“Well, you have to go to all 3 bases and then to home base in order to score a point.”
“Does everyone get to go to home base just for hitting a ball?”
“No! You can get people out by touching them with the ball.”
“So what do we call that?”
“An out!”
“Can you tell me that in a whole sentence, Jonathan?” “Start with “When someone hits the ball…”
“When someone hits the ball they run to the bases and try not to get out.”
“Excellent! Now, tell me again; what are 3 things that someone would need to know about baseball if they knew NOTHING about it?”
Whatever Jonathan says, at this point, is what you will encourage him to write in his journal. This meaningful conversation served as a springboard for the topic because it took the student away from focusing on the ‘act of writing’ and into the ‘act of thinking’ by scaffolding ideas. Remember that writing is just thinking, brought down to the pen. By engaging in meaningful discussions while using prompts that scaffold one’s thinking, we can help falling writers move forward in productive, creative ways. The art of scaffolding is not easy; it takes practice. It is, however, essential to the process of helping struggling writers write better!


Comments on: "How Do We Help Kids Who Can’t Think of Something to Write?" (1)

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