But we also know that choosing a topic from the wide world of possibilities is intimidating, even paralyzing, for some children. How can we support them?
During school visits, I tell students about the idea board in my office. Here’s a video of my lovely nieces describing how I use it.
I’ve suggested that young writers keep their own list of possible future ideas on the last page or inside cover of their writer’s notebooks. But what if even that is a struggle, or what if they just plain old forget to do it?
Recently, I read a blog post about keeping a New Year’s Resolution jar. It’s for people who have trouble coming up with ways to try to improve their lives when January rolls around.
I started thinking about all the ways a jar of ideas could be useful. And it occurred to me that it might really help kids who have trouble coming up with report topics
Think about your classroom. Some students are idea-generating machines. They can help their struggling classmates by focusing on the one idea that speaks to them most vehemently, and adding the others to the Report Idea Jar.
You can add ideas too. It’s a way to anonymously provide guidance rather than dictate a topic. And because you aren't usurping your students' power to choose, they'll be able to take ownership of the project and the process.
Why not give it a try?