January 4, 2018
By Caitlin Hardeman

Lesson plan

Mapping My Heart

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GradeSubjectView aligned standards

Students will be able to brainstorm and produce a short narrative writing piece.

(3 minutes)
  • Ask students what type of preparation takes place before going on a long road trip.
  • Use the think-pair-share method to engage all students. First, have students think to themselves. Then, have them pair with a partner to discuss their thoughts. Last, share out as a class.
  • Explain to students that any sort of preparation is called brainstorming. This is the planning process that people go through in everyday life, and it is also something that writers do before jumping into a writing task
  • Ask students to list some things they love. It can be things or actions.
  • Make the connection for students that Valentine's Day is centered around the theme of love. When we love things, we feel strongly about them. When that is the case, we can talk and write about them because we know a lot about them. These are all important parts that go into writing.
(10 minutes)
  • Display a copy of the Map of My Heart worksheet on the document reader.
  • Model filling in the heart with specific things that are important to you and that you hold dear to your heart (e.g., my mom and dad, my grandma, my dog, teaching, scrapbooking, reading, visiting the beach).
  • Explain to students that when you think of Valentine's Day, certain people come to mind. These are the people who you want to give special treats to on the holiday. These people that you love have a place on the heart.
  • Think aloud about how these are all things that you love and could tell stories about. (Tip: Engage students by sharing funny or interesting anecdotes as you think aloud.)
(10 minutes)
  • Show the anchor chart with the heart written on it.
  • Explain to students that this heart represents the things that the class loves and thinks are important.
  • Invite students to suggest things to write on the class’ heart.
  • Allow students to come up to the front of the room to write their suggestion using a marker.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Map of My Heart worksheet to each student.
  • Remind students that the task is to put the things that are important to them inside the heart. (Tip: For fast finishers, allow students to draw little symbols that represent the items written on the heart map.)
  • Put on classical or calming music for students as they complete this brainstorming activity.
  • Circulate while students work, stopping to support reluctant writers.


  • Support reluctant writers by offering a pre-established list of items from which to choose.


  • Encourage advanced writers and fast finishers to begin writing a story about one of the items written in the heart map. Give students the Timeline Organizer worksheet to organise a story in sequential order.
(2 minutes)
  • Review students’ heart maps to see that they have ample items written.
(5 minutes)
  • Show the Writing Small Moment Stories video on YouTube.
  • Explain to students that this Valentine's Day brainstorming activity is setting them up to have a wide range of topics from which to choose as they write small moments instead of large watermelon ideas.

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