I can’t think of anything to write about?
How many times have we heard students utter this phrase? Finding ideas can be a struggle for many of our reluctant writers.
Grandma’s Records by Eric Velasquez is the touching memoir about the special relationship he shares with his abuela. Every summer, Eric goes to live with this grandmother in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) while his parents work. Through his grandmother’s love of music, Eric learns about her life growing up in Puerto Rico- sharing her memories and passions.
The perfect mentor text to show students how authors generate ideas. Eric Velasquez could have decided to write this memoir based on a special person in his life (grandma), a place that matters to him (grandma’s house), a special object (grandma’s records), even “a time when” (going to the theater with his grandma).
I immediately show my third grade students how, because of Mr Velasquez, I can write about my special person- my grandmother, her house during the holidays, her big white bracelet she wore every day, and even the last time I saw her. Story ideas flood my mind, I grab my notebook and start to list them on the pages, storytelling along the way.
“I already know who I am going to write about!”
“This makes me think of my special blanket I got from my cousin.”
“My Nani’s house in India is my favorite place to visit.”
Papers, pencils, and partners scatter around the room, eagerly telling their stories. “Can we write another when we are done? I have so many ideas I want to write about!” echoes throughout the class! Thank you, Eric Velasquez for being the second teacher in the room.