June 7, 2012

Find Your Feelings

I'm currently sharing the key learning points discussed in my young writers'  workshop entitled, "Gotcha! How to Find and Capture Great Writing Ideas."

This week's post is about Big Idea #1:  Find Your Feelings:  Stronger Feelings = Stronger Story Ideas.

I start this workshop by singing a song (such as "If You're Happy and You Know It" to teach students the ASL signs for the following feelings/emotions: excitedsadscarednervoussorry and hurt. I replace the word "Happy" with the feeling words I want to teach, and make up the verses as I go along (i.e. "If you're sad and you know it cry, boo-boo..." "If you're scared and you know it, close your eyes...")

Story Time with Signs & Rhymes
Next I read related excerpts from my book, "So Many Feelings," and invite students sign along with the story. This story can be sung to the tune of "On Top of Spaghetti," (without the "echo effect"), so I often sing the excerpts rather than just read them.  Next I ask the students to sign each feeling word while they search their memory for a time they felt excitedsadscarednervoussorry and hurt. This leads to a discussion about how each "feeling memory" they've uncovered is a story idea that might be worth exploring more deeply.  I remind students that Stronger Feelings = Stronger Story Ideas. I ask students to sign the feeling word that matches with the feeling memory they are interested in exploring further the next time they have an opportunity to write.

This brings us to Big Idea #2: Stories Hide in Your Head, which I'll discuss in my next post!

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