I made my "backpack" on the chart paper and modeled what topics I find myself writing about over and over again. I modeled thinking aloud why I am passionate about the topics as I created my backpack.
For active engagement, students turned and talked with their partner to list the topics inside their own backpack's and then wrote them down in their notebooks. Throughout the week, I modeled using the list strategy to generate ideas and we took one topic from our backpack and made bulleted lists of small moments for the topic. Then students starred one moment to write an entry about in their writer's notebook. By the end of the week, students knew which topics they love to write about and had a variety of entries written about them.
By having students identify their "Writer's Backpack" or "Territory" of topics they love to write about, it minimizes the amount of writer's block comments we hear from students such as, "I have nothing to write about!" I'd love to hear how you help students identify and use their "Backpack" or "Territory" of topics and what you call them so please share your ideas and thoughts.
Happy Writing! :)