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Heart Maps: A Review and a Giveaway

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Georgia Heard’s newest book, Heart Maps – Helping Students Create and Craft Authentic Writing explores the thing most central, most essential, and most necessary in teaching writing.

What is that one, most essential thing? It is the heart. Your own heart, and your students’ hearts.

In this book, Georgia offers practical tools to spark ideas for writing. The work is accessible and feels doable even for a writing workshop novice — but the maps are so much more than just a tool for generating ideas. The book, organized into twenty or so ingenious templates for heart mapping, offers a way to study the heart from all angles. There is a template for mapping important memories, places, and people. There’s one for mapping the things that inspire you as a writer, and another for exploring your heart as a reader. There are others for gratitude, wishes, people you admire, and more. The list of ways to study what lives in your heart is long, and inspiring, and beautiful.

You might be familiar with the concept of mapping the heart from Georgia’s book Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School. Or perhaps you discovered heart mapping some other way. In any case, Heart Maps leaves you inspired and thinking about this tried and true strategy in countless new ways.

Each section of the book is organized with an introduction, student examples, a blank template (that can be downloaded from digital resources), and a list of mentor texts to read aloud along with the particular heart map.

Here’s an example of the ‘My Wishes’ heart map:

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One of the lovely aspects about this work is that it can be applied across grade levels and across units of study. Each heart map includes suggestions for the types of writing that might spring from the ideas generated in the map, and there are suggestions sprinkled throughout for ways to use the maps with younger or older children. The templates are simple, just a blank heart in most cases, ready to be filled with students’ ideas and creative takes on mapping their hearts.

I’ve been carrying the book around with me in my visits to many classrooms in my role as a literacy coach. It is not an exaggeration to say that every teacher who has seen the book, no matter the grade level, has exclaimed something to the effect of “I NEED TO HAVE THIS BOOK!”

This ‘Special Place’ heart map is just one of many examples of the templates that could easily be used with any age group:

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The book ends with three essays to inspire you to take heart mapping in your own direction. Pam Allyn writes about using heart mapping as a project in places around the world where children are learning to read and write under the most challenging circumstances. “What may appear as a simple activity is really courage in action,” she writes. “Heart maps portray deeply felt memories, loves, and sorrows– artifacts too often suppressed by forces around them” (p. 120).

Nancie Atwell writes about the power of heart mapping to encourage all writers, boys in particular, to use writing to communicate and organize their thoughts and feelings. “The feelings of my male students are just as strong as those of their female classmates,” she writes,”but guys don’t always have the language or the opportunity to express them” (p. 127).

Penny Kittle’s essay is about mapping music of the heart. “My students and I discover the gift of a heart map playlist: to soothe, to comfort, and to remind us of the beauty in our past and in our daily living” (p. 129).

Georgia Heard ends her book by saying, “My hope is that as you explore heart mapping with your writers, you will fall in love with the stories and poems, truths and courage that will unfold–both theirs and your own” (p. 131). The beauty of this work lies in the creativity of kids to take it in unexpected directions, and for you take the idea, run with it, and enjoy the journey.


GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

  • To win a copy of Heart Maps–Helping Student Create and Craft Authentic Writing please leave a comment on this post by Sunday, October 23rd 11:59 p.m. EST. A random number generator will be used to pick the winner.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid email address when you post your comment, so we can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win. Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the email field only. Heinemann will ship to winners in the United States only.
  • If you are the winner of the book, you will receive an email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – HEART MAPS. Please respond to the e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days.

BethMooreSchool View All

Literacy Coach, Consultant, Author, Graduate Course Instructor, and Mom. Passionate about fostering a love of reading and writing in learners of all ages.

156 thoughts on “Heart Maps: A Review and a Giveaway Leave a comment

  1. I just did a heart map this week with my class! I wish I would have known about all these fun versions. What fun lies ahead with this book! The excerpts you shared are inspiring.

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  2. Generating ideas and recognizing what students love to write about drives the writing workshop. This sounds like a great book, I am eager to read it!

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  3. I love Heart Maps- helping children to understand the power of writing, and the teaching and learning that comes from connecting writing in the classroom to things that are important to the individual child, cannot be done enough!

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  4. Heart mapping is one of my favorite tools to use with reluctant writers AND reluctant teachers of writing! So many teachers see their students go from, “I’m done!” after two sentences to the “Awww..we have to stop?!” when using heart maps. What a great way to expand this passion and revisit it when writing needs a reboot!

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  5. I used heart maps with students many years ago, but this book sounds like it broadens the idea and would stimulate lots of topics for writing. I’m thinking it would be fun to have this book to use with my grandkids.

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  6. Thanks for reviewing Georgia’s book and sharing a few glimpses from it. My third graders are creating their mindful moments maps to show thoughts and memories they hold in their minds and hearts. Can’t wait for the writing to follow!

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  7. I’ve been loving heart maps for many years and I am amazed that a whole book could be dedicated to it! So I can’t wait to check this one out! Thanks for sharing!

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  8. This combines two classes which I have sat in with my English-language learners. One was a social studies 2nd grade paragraph on My Favorite Place and the other was a 4th grade personal narrative visual organizer. It is motivating for students to write about what involves them emotionally. Hope to read book and put into practice.

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  9. This combines two classes which I have sat in with my English-language learners. One was a social studies 2nd grade paragraph on My Favorite Place and the other was a 4th grade personal narrative visual organizer. It is motivating for students to write about what involves them emotionally. Hope to try it!

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  10. A whole book dedicated to Heart Maps?! Yes please! My students and I were just discussing how the best writing is the kind that tugs at your heart.

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  11. I am a writing coach for my school and we’ve done a lot of work around Georgia Heard. In fact, one of our grade levels does heart maps every year as part of their first unit. I cannot wait to read this book and see how else we can incorporate them into our writing units.

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  12. I love the idea of heart maps and that it can appeal to all styles of learners. I’ve seen Georgia Heard speak once before and found her inspiring and full of usable ideas. This book is on my wish list!

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  13. I would love, love, love to have this book to compliment all the work I have done with my students while using Georgia’s Awakening the Heart and Climb inside a Poem books.

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  14. I’m a huge fan of Georgia Heard … had the pleasure of hosting her at UD many years ago! I’ve never been disappointed with her wonderful books and would love to add this latest title to my collection. Thanks for the great article and giveaway! 🙂

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  15. At a time when we (my district) have seemed to lose our way, this book comes along and with it, the promise of getting back on track. I have implemented Ms. Heard’s texts in my writing workshop in the past and look forward to using this most recent one to motivate my third grade writers.

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  16. This sounds like an amazing resource to share with my K-5 teachers. Would love to help them help their students tap in to writing on a more personal level to really up their engagement and their level of writing!

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  17. I am so excited about this book. I hope I win so that I can share this with my reluctant writers. If I don’t win, I am going to purchase a copy of this ASAP!!

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  18. “Boys in particular” catches my eye on this review. Currently, I am facilitating an after school Writers Workshop for a small group of writers in grades 3-5.
    I am hopeful that “just one more” professional book this fall will lead us to uncover the heart within our boys’ recurring (but not improving) sports stories. I have Georgia in my heart and mind from her previous books, leaving me ready to dig into her most recent.

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  19. I am always excited to read anything by Georgia Heard and would love to add her newest work to my collection. She is an inspiring author who knows how to capture the spirit of our young writers in a way that lets their memories flow from their hearts.

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  20. I’ve used Georgia Heard’s poetry to introduce my ESL students to reading and writing poetry. There’s no question she has a big heart, one that she shares with all of us to inspire our writing. Thank you TWT for this post, and thank you, Ms. Heard, for this lovely book!

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  21. This book made me break my resolve to not buy any more professional books. (I’m a retired teacher.) But I’m so glad I bought this! I can’t wait to explore some new heart mapping opportunities with my after school book club.

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  22. Thank you Elizabeth Moore, and Two Writing Teachers, for honoring my book Heart Maps with such a beautiful heartfelt review. I’m so grateful for this community of writers and teachers, thank you all for your wonderfully enthusiastic comments! If you have student heart maps you want to share I’ve started a Heart Maps Facebook Group for posting and sharing children’s heart maps.

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  23. Can’t wait to read this book. We create Heart Maps in Grade 3 to help store ideas that are ‘near & dear to our heart’. Not having ideas to write about is discouraging.

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  24. Heart mapping is an engaging way to encourage writers to look into themselves! I can’t wait to dive into this book! Thanks for sharing!

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  25. Heart Maps would be a wonderful book to add to our professional library! Many teachers on my campus are using heart maps and I think this book would be a valuable resource for them!

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  26. I need to have this book. I have started a year long study of poetry with our elementary students. In addition we have started poetry clubs!

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  27. I LOVE this! As a brand new Reading Coach, I struggle with finding ways to get teachers to instill a love of writing (and reading) in their students! Once the students find value in literacy, once they find their heart in it, then (and only then) will we be able to teach the craft and technique, skills and strategies of writing because the students will have a NEED to know!

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  28. Thank you for introducing me to this wonderful sounding book. I am a big fan of Georgia Heard and look forward to checking out her latest! I love doing heart maps with my class and I am excited to explore the variety of maps in this book. Coming up with ideas of what to write is often the hardest part of writing for my First Graders. I love the examples of wishes and special places. Separating the maps into different categories seems like a great way to get our kids thinking more closely about “seed” moments.

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  29. One of my earliest memories of workshop instruction started with heart mapping. I can’t wait to dive into this book for awesome generating strategies.

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  30. This is one of the first things I do with my 7th graders. They enjoy it and it helps me when they are stuck and “don’t know what to write about.”

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  31. Beth, I was recently in a 6th grade classroom working with some very reluctant writer’s on idea generation. I hadn’t read Georgia Heard’s book, but I’d seen the front cover images in a few blog ads. The strategies I was trying just weren’t working for one student in particular (who happened to know me as the mom of one of his friends). When I drew a heart and showed him how to fill it with people and places that were important to me (and that he knew to be true) he actually chimed in with a moment that I could write about. It was like reciprocal idea generation. After that he hastily drew his own map (this kid doesn’t do anything in writing hastily) and started filling it up. Heart Mapping Success story #1. I would love to read the book to get even more than I have from just the front cover!

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  32. Heart maps are so much more visual that just generating a list of ideas. A great way to start the writing process creatively. I would love to read this book.

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  33. What a great way to help students see that they DO have something to write about. So often I hear I don’t know what to write, now I can tell them write What’s in your heart and they will have a conceptual map of what is there to write about.

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  34. I talk about how important creating Heart Maps is in writing workshop, and also with students on the autism spectrum, to more smoothly facilitate writing. But I do not have a copy of the book to really be able to share. It would be wonderful to read!

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  35. Georgia Heard has inspired me for years. I am excited to read this book. I so want our students to know what they want to write about.

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  36. I owe and have read Awaking the Heart multiple times. I definitely need this new edition! Fingers cross that I’m picked. But either way, I WILL read it and use it to help my writers find that next topic to write about. Thanks for the inspiring review.

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  37. Our district is implementing Calkins UofS this year and already very pleased with the students ‘ writing!
    I am in the process of prioritizing the best professional resources, and this book is on my list. My fingers are crossed that I am the lucky winner!

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  38. This sounds like another winner from Georgia Heard. My copy of Awakening the Heart is full of sticky notes! I can’t wait to see this one!

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  39. Having used Awakening the Heart with success in the past, I am excited about Georgia Heard’s new book. I am sure it will spark creative thinking and will allow students opportunities to write about things that really matter to them. Thanks for the review!

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