Create a list of possible writing topics

Authors write best when they write from their own personal experience. For younger authors, this should be concrete, first-hand experience. For more mature writers, this can include research, interviews and readings. Regardless, an environment rich in experiences and materials will stimulate topics for writing. In the DCA, writers should keep a list of topics which they can refer to and update as an ongoing work in progress. Authors will not use all the topics from their list, but the list will be a rich source of ideas for future writing.

In the traditional classroom this was typically kept in a manila file folder in a drawer or filing cabinet. In the DCA students are encouraged to keep their topic list in a word processing file saved as 'topics' in a student writing folder created especially for each author on your classroom computer or school network so that it can be easily accessed without having to be printed out.

In developing a topic list, provide students with lots of concrete experiences from which they can draw. Examples of such experiences in the classroom include:

Learning centers Oral reading
Science experiments Creative drama
Cooking Role playing
Building Research
Dissecting Virtual Field Trip
Deconstructing Computer Simulation
Listening to music Writing to keypals
Playing a board game Videoconference
Playing a team game Brainstorming
Playing a game of skill Semantic mapping

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Writing prompts can also be a great way to have students generate writing. Consider these links:

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