Writer's Workshop

Ideas And Content




Idea Development

Like the basement of a house, IDEA DEVELOPMENT is the solid foundation of a good piece of writing.. If students begin with a good idea, their writing can be made as large as they want. It can be mansion size if that is what they desire!

Personal experience





Anecdotes-personal & on topic


Original and real

From larger picture to smaller


Stays on topic


Narrow and straight


Clear and on point

Interesting an important


Luscious and rich




Quality-stick to topic



Easy to follow





All the pieces fit


Ideas connect

Research is in your own words

Take risks to put your own thoughts down




Show personal insight


Writing is unique


Ideas and Content Activities



 1. Give each student a small button.  Get the students to describe their button fully.  Instruct students not to use the name of the button anywhere in the description. Have a box. Put all descriptions in the box. Have students draw from the box, read the description and then guess whose button it describes. When the activity is finished and most have had a turn, discuss which ones were easier to identify and why. Show strategies for making writing more descriptive.


Think about your audience before writing your personal narrative about something you saw while driving in the car. Describe it fully. Have students read these orally and get students to draw the action as they read. Discuss what details were visible and what ones the listener had to fill in.
Go to the computer and look up some facts about any animal of your choosing. When you have read quite a bit about the animal, write a one page story about the animal going to your town and what happened. Use as many details about the physical appearance as you can by using phrasing such as ...his yellow stripes disappeared behind the garage. Read a few orally. Give students strips  of paper and they are to write several details on the paper as the story is being read orally. Then get students to go in groups and put the story details in order using their strips of paper. Don't repeat too many details or rip off those that are repeated.
Fill in a story pyramid to plan your story. This is intended for individual work.
Use the story planning chart to describe a story you want to write. Conference with individual students or groups to refine their writing.

  Activity: Pick A Postcard
Find a set of postcards related to a single topic such as dogs, beach scenes, or city buildings. Give each student a postcard. Ask them to write a paragraph about the image that is so descriptive, readers will easily be able to identify the postcard in the set. Then display all of the postcards. Have students read their paragraphs aloud and see if classmates can guess the card.

Explain that the more specific and colorful the details, the quicker the match. Have students vote on which postcards grabbed their attention best.
When You write Keep your audience in mind . Who will read this story or poem? Why will they keep reading it? What is my purpose for writing it? Questions you ask yourself are- Is my message clear? Do I have enough information?