Writing From The Heart With Heart Maps

heart map

Have you ever heard of
heart maps? What are they all about? What do they look like?  A heart map is a visual representation of what a student likes or cares about. This heart-shaped picture uses drawings and words to show the things that "live" in a child's heart waiting for the chance to be revealed by a writing activity. The most important ideas go in the middle and the less important things go in the surrounding spaces. 

First mentioned by Georgia Heard in her book Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School, heart maps can help students attend to writing from a much deeper level than most prompts. Students express themselves more accurately and completely when they use this visual display.


Heart Map by Kristen Bonaguro

How To Create a Heart Map

Step 1: Give them a heart template.

Create your own heart template and print multiple copies. The heart must be large enough to allow students enough space to put their ideas down.

Step 2: Get them thinking!

Ask students these questions to organize their thoughts:
1. What has really affected your heart?
2. Who are the people that are important to you?
3. What are some of the experiences that you will never forget?
4. What are some of your happy or sad memories?
5. What are your secrets? (use a picture or word to show it but do not reveal it)
6. What small things are important to you?

Step 3: The Heart Revealed!

Students will then use words, pictures or a combination to make a composite picture of their heart.

You can also refer to a PDF link on how to make a heart map.

Here are some examples of heart maps.   



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