Georgia Heard's presentation inspired me to reflect on students who say they have nothing to write about. How does the writing teacher encourage these students to look more deeply at their lives and experiences? One way that I have modeled expanding upon a topic, is to include both the inside story (writer's thoughts and feelings) and the outside story (the actions and dialogue.) Georgia's heart mapping provides students with a place to capture ideas, beyond, just a list of titles or topics. Her emphasis on meaning and the back story really struck a chord with me. She also reminded me of the power of mentor writing to hook students. My favorite quote from her presentation? "How do I help my students ache with caring?"
I saved my daughter's heart map from fifth grade. It is truly an artifact of who she was! Fresh chocolate chip cookies from the oven, sleepovers, crisp dollar bills, when Rachel moved away! Thank you, Georgia!