Writing Mini-Lessons: Heart Mapping
“Write about what you care about. Dump your heart out on the page.
That’s how you will do your best writing and how you’ll touch your reader.”
~ Jerry Spinelli
- To discover what things are important to you
- To discover your inner poet’s/writer’s voice
- To sharpen your inner vision
Think about the things and people that are important to you. Look at the samples of student heart mapping. Use the following questions to help you uncover what is in your heart. These questions are guidelines. You do not need to answer all of them or to include all of the ideas reflected in your heart map. The questions are to help you think about what is important to you and what you may want to include in your heart map. You are free to add in anything you want that is important to you, whether it is in the questions below or not. Your heart map is for you, to help you discover your inner vision and your own unique voice that derives from your unique experiences and passions.
- What has stayed in your heart?
- What has really affected your heart?
- What people have been important to you? Are they friends, siblings, parents, grandparents, teachers, and other people?
- What are some experiences or central events that you will never forget?
- What special moments stand out to you?
- What happy or sad memories do you have?
- What secrets have you kept in your heart?
- What small things or objects are important to you – a tree in your backyard, a trophy, a stuffed animal… ?
- What places, books, fears, scars, journeys, dreams, relationships, animals, comforts, and learning experiences do you hold in your heart?
- Should some things be outside of the heart and some inside of it?
- Do you want to draw more than one heart – good and bad; happy and sad; secret and open – and include different things inside each heart?
- Do different colors represent different emotions, events, relationships?
- What’s at the center of your heart?
- What’s outside around the edges?
Once you have considered these questions, begin your own heart map. You may choose to draw a rough draft and then a final copy after you have made any revisions. Make your heart big. Fill the page, so you can fill your heart. Spend serious time with this assignment, possibly taking some breaks to give your long-term memory time to do its work. Confer with family members if that will help. Do not worry too much about the illustrations, but do take care with the contents of your heart, filling your heart map with as much personal meaning as you can.