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 Step-by-Step Writing Program, the shapes are provided for you OR you can buy the Brainstorming Interactive Pages separately! 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.



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This lesson is also included in the STEP-BY-STEP WRITING® Program with mini-lessons designed to scaffold through the writing process. Writing units included are sentence structure, paragraph writing, narrative writing, opinion writing, and informative writing. See what is included in the image below and click on it to learn more about them! You will turn your reluctant writers into ROCKSTAR WRITERS™! 

This is one of the best purchases I have made.  I love how it has step by step the writing process.  My students are engaged and truly understanding how to write. -Laween B.