Interactive Notebooks, Writing

Writing Mini Lesson 1- Brainstorming for Interactive Notebooks

Are you looking for ideas to help your students become successful writers? This post begins a series 30+ writing mini lessons that has proven to help students write effectively. It will provide you with creative ideas to teach students sentence structure, paragraph writing, and narrative writing. It will walk you through the writing process in a step-by-step order that scaffolds and builds upon each other. These ideas are ideal for any writing curriculum and writer’s workshop. Read on for the first lesson of the series. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST OF WRITING MINI LESSONS


What is the first lesson of the series?

This first lesson provides ideas for brainstorming writing topics and ideas for narrative story elements, opinion writing and informative writing.


Brainstorming Ideas

Start off your writing lessons by brainstorming ideas. This lesson will help set the stage for a year of writing by giving students a place to find ideas to put in their future writing pieces. If your students use interactive writing notebooks, add a tab at the beginning of the notebook and label it “IDEAS.” If you aren’t using notebooks, place these ideas in a folder for student writing resources. Students will use this resource to help trigger ideas for characters, settings, and plots in narrative writing and interests for opinion and informative writing. These ideas are not only good to help students develop ideas for a writing prompt, but it will also help them find ideas for free writing time and journaling.


What ideas should students include?

Create the following shapes and cut out templates for your students. If you own our Interactive Writing Notebooks, the shapes are provided for you. Students should trace the shapes in their notebooks or loose leaf paper.



For each shape, students should brainstorm ideas for:


Heart:  Fill the heart with words that tell things that you love. Think outside the box! “I love to wake up to music.”

Question Mark:  Fill the question mark with things that you want to know.  “I want to know more about endangered species.”

House:  List family members.  Don’t limit it to members who live with you!  Around the house, list things that your family does together on weekends, summer, mornings, evenings…etc.

I:  This is a page where you can tell more about yourself.  “I am athletic.” “I am a good friend.”

Trace hand:  Use the hand or trace your own hand.  List a feeling on each finger and one on your palm.  Write examples of when they felt that way.  Anxious: “I get anxious when I am up to bat in a baseball game.”

Treasure Map:  Draw a picture of your yard or favorite place.  Mark an x by a place where you have a favorite memory.


Here are examples of interactive notebooks:




I hope you found useful tips for brainstorming ideas with your writing class. Continue through the writing mini lesson series for many more tips and ideas! The next lesson begins several lessons on sentence structure.









This lesson is also included in the STEP-BY-STEP Interactive Writing Notebooks with mini lessons for paragraph, narrative, opinion, and informative writing designed to scaffold through the writing process.  It includes anchor charts for teaching, interactive notebook pages for taking notes, modeled stories, mentor text, practice sheets, tracking forms, goal forms, prompts, and so much more!  Click on the pic below to find out how to motivate students and boost test scores with this STEP-BY-STEP year-long writing program!


“My grade level used this last year and our state assessment scores improved greatly in writing!!!  Other grades are using your units!  I am soooo excited to see what the kiddos remember from year to year since it spirals.  It’s helped them TONS and with our population, we always struggle to find successful resources.  We love them!!!” – Megan


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