I’ve written about list writing for students. List writing is an excellent way for students to generate topics to write about, and when they say the infamous statement that they don’t know what to write about, you can redirect students to their writer’s notebook and their lists.
There is another strategy that utilizes the lists that students generate. I’ve adapted Kelly Gallagher’s 1 Topic = 18 Topics chart from his book Write Like This. The strategy requires students to pick one topic and then take that topic and expand it into possible genres.
For example, the topics shown in the picture below is Disney World. The purpose is for students to brainstorm different narratives that they could write, different explanatory or informational pieces, and various opinion pieces.
I encourage my students to write down at least three possible topics for each genre. If they can come up with more, then that’s great!
So, now students have taken that one topic and will have at least nine additional ideas as possible writing topics. In addition, they are practicing focusing on writing for a purpose.
Like Gallagher, I will often have students conduct quick writes on the various purposes before having them decide on the one that they want to write and expand on.
If you want to try it out, you can download a free copy below!