Classroom Practices

Teachers: 11 Sources to Find Awesome Writing Activities

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For teachers who need to continually find great writing prompts and activities for their students, the Internet provides a huge array of options. This article presents some of the best sources for writing activities, carefully selected from hundreds of potential ideas.

30 Ideas for Teaching Writing

The National Writing Project (NWP) is a US-based group whose mission is to focus “…the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of our nation’s educators on sustained efforts to improve writing and learning for all learners.” Their materials are nothing short of brilliant, which is why the 30 Ideas for Teaching Writing won the Association of Education Publishers 2005 Distinguished Achievement Award for Instructional Materials. Each of the 30 ideas listed on the page link to a full article about the idea and how to make the most of it with your students.

Teaching Writing: Activities and Ideas

Put together by EFL Classroom 2.0, this collection is geared towards those who teach English as a foreign language, which means the activities will be appropriate for a wide range of ages from children to adults depending on their mastery of the language. With nearly 40 different activities listed, you’re sure to find several that will work well with your students.

180 Journal Writing Prompts

If you use journaling as a writing activity in the classroom, then you already know how often students complain that they don’t have any ideas on what to write about. That excuse will never be a problem again with these 180 journal writing prompts from Daily Teaching Tools. They cover a range of topics and styles, and many are incredibly creative. Examples include “Write a thank you note to a friend who gave you onion and garlic-flavored chewing gum” or “What would you do if you woke up one morning to find yourself invisible?” With ideas like that, you students’ journal writing should never be boring!

Quotation Prompts for Journal Writing

Another great way to spur journal writing among your students is to have them write about a specific quotation. The website offers 180 different quotations that are sure to get your students’ creative writing juices flowing. With a variety of proverbs, insightful sayings, and witty quotes, students can write about whether or not they agree with the quote, give an example of the quote in action in their own lives, or how they’ve seen it in others. The possibilities are endless with this robust listing.

Informal In-Class Writing Activities

Put together by Pamela Flash for the University of Minnesota’s Center for Writing, these activities center around the concept of freewriting, which is “…a form of automatic writing or brainstorming trumpeted by writing theorist Peter Elbow, requires students to outrun their editorial anxieties by writing without stopping to edit, daydream, or even ponder.” For it to be effective, the stakes must be relatively low (meaning ungraded) and the students must be given the freedom to be “personal and messy.” The results, however, can be profound.

Classroom Activities for Novel Writing Month

Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? It stand for National Novel Writing Month in the US, which is the month of November. Those who accept the challenge attempt to write a 50,000-word novel during that single month. It’s a big challenge, but it’s surprising how many people, including students, give it a try. This article by Jordan Catapano on gives you some great ideas on how to bring NaNoWriMo into your classroom.

Get Students Writing Right: Tips for the Content Area Classroom

What if you’re a teacher of a subject other than language or writing? “Content teachers” should also incorporate writing into their classrooms, but without the pressure of feeling like they have to “teach” writing, which they may not feel like they are qualified to do. That’s why Debbie Shults put together this page on the Visual Thesaurus website – to help content teachers figure out how to go about incorporating writing into their classrooms.

Poetry Exercises

If you want to get your students writing poetry, the Albany Poetry Workshop has put together a variety of different exercises that “…over the years, have produced striking and surprising results.” There are exercises geared towards beginners as well as both intermediate and advance writers, so you’ll be able to find ideas appropriate for your students by ability. The page also provides guidelines for how to critique one another’s work.

The Greatest Creative Writing Activity Ever

That’s a very big claim, so you’ll have to judge for yourself whether or not it lives up to it, but this writing activity did win the British Council’s Teaching English blog award for February, 2013. Intrigued? Give it a try in your classroom and see what you think!

The Exquisite Prompt: Classroom Writing Resources

This is one of the most interesting pages I’ve come across yet. These writing challenges were developed by real authors who all participated in a progressive story writing game back in 2009. The prompts are organized by grade level, genre, and author. Each one contains information about the author who developed it as well as links to resources related to the prompt.

Picture This: Classroom Activities for Show, Don’t Tell Writing

If you’ve been trying to teach students how to write better for any amount of time, then you know that one of most important concepts to get across to them is the idea of show, don’t tell. This 8-page PDF file walks you through examples that clearly convey how showing instead of telling is more fun to read and more fun to write. It then goes on to share three great classroom activities to help your students learn how to do it.

As you can see, there are some clear advantages to being a teacher in the 21st century digital age, where vast quantities of information and ideas to enhance your classroom teaching are all just a click away. Enjoy using them, and watching your students’ writing abilities improve by leaps and bounds!

Check student works for originality with the Unicheck plagiarism checker.