Kathy-jo Wargin
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About Writing Wonders

Natural writing prompts


Be a Story Maker.

Writing Wonders are writing and thinking prompts that specifically incorporate nature into their themes.

From Kathy-jo:

“Nature plays the main role in all of my titles. There's a particular process that I go through as a writer when seeking out story ideas and putting them into their first form. To me, the most important part is the origin stage. In this stage, there's an unfolding of ideas that happens through curiosity, introspection, thought-tinkering, exploration, rumination, and peer brainstorming, which is then commonly followed by a closer look for the material clues and details that help bring tone and story-mapping into focus.

For students/children, I simply call this stage the Story-Making Stage. Here, students and writers are makers, building their own stories from their unique creative insights. I've developed three simple terms that are useful in this Story-Making Stage. 

You will see these terms used in the Writing Wonders Prompts.”



To Cloud-Think is to allow students/children the chance to think in broad, sweeping fashion, to ruminate on a question or topic, while free-flow responding with more than one answer. 

This can be done as a group Cloud-Think Aloud, whereupon students/children engage with peer responses


this can be done as a Cloud-Think Quiet, which suggests that the student/child ruminate and brainstorm solely, either with or without paper.


Key words:

  • ruminate

  • ponder

  • contemplate

  • consider

art think.png


To Tight-Think is to look closer at the source of inspiration, literally inspecting evidence (photo, statement, painting, sculpture, etc.) with a tight view, ie., seeking out details that may be helpful for further rumination or story-crafting.

Example: In the photo prompt Four Feathers, students can Cloud-Think about where the feathers came from (big picture.) Then, students can Tight-Think (visual detail inspection of the photograph) to discover nuances in the image that may help them to craft a more complete story. 

Key Words:

  • Inspection

  • evidence

  • details

  • visual




Dash-Write is a good term to describe how many authors approach the first step of getting the words onto the paper.

Dash-Write is a more positive term than "sloppy copy," and Dash-Write is the type of writing and note-taking energy that comes before a first draft.

To Dash-Write is to make a direct connection between the writer and the paper. It's the opportunity to get thoughts and ideas out of the body and mind and onto the page without the mental roadblocks of:

  • spelling

  • grammar

  • complete sentences

  • structure

  • Dash-Write drafts can have all sorts of words, thoughts, concepts, and details. It need not make sense to anyone but the writer.

Students will use their Dash-Write papers as framework material when assembling their first draft of a story that will ultimately contain a beginning, middle and end. 


Writing Wonders 

Natural Writing Prompts

Think Big.     +     Add Details.    +    Write it Down.



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