Like many of you, I’ve been a big fan of Georgia Heard and her work for years. Earlier this fall, I purchased her new book, Heart Maps: Create and Craft Authentic Writing; I also joined the Facebook group for the book where other educators are posting their students’ heart maps. It was in this Facebook group that I found an inspirational mentor text for our my students from a mother who was using the tool with her son:
I printed 10 copies of each photo and put them in my trusty neon shop ticket pouches so students could have copies at their desk to work from (as well as a projected copy on the whiteboard) for our noticings activity. I also downloaded one of the nonfiction/informational templates that you can access online if you register your book with Heinemann.
I did different variations of how we approached the noticings with each grade level, but essentially, we brainstormed in small groups what we noticed about the organization of information, the information itself, and the visual qualities of the “mentor text” heart map. After we discussed our noticings as a large group, we generated a list of the design and organization elements we wanted to incorporate into our heart maps of our zine topics. Since our plan is to use these as the first content page in our zines to introduce the reader to our topic, we used our zine project planner we had already completed to help us set up our categories or labels for the outer parts of the map; students then aligned a nugget fact they loved most about that subtopic on the corresponding inner part of the map.
We used our #makerzine project supplies funded so graciously by our friends and DonorsChoose to begin crafting our heart maps. Once students completed their heart maps, they cut them out and glued them onto a piece of colored paper of their choosing. Here is a sampler of our student created zine topic heart maps from students in grades 6-8:
The students have been incredibly enthusiastic about creating their heart maps; students who have been reluctant writers or not always engaged have been engrossed in their work. We are now finishing our zine covers and working on our first content pages of our zines. I’ll have a new post up later this week to talk about how we’re working toward crafting those pieces of our zine projects. Have you used heart mapping for informational writing? I’d love to hear from you if you have or are currently using this tool with your writers and learners!