20 Creative Writing Activities
A resources book made for the eTwinning learning event on Creative Writing
Creative Writing Activities for all You can organize creative writing activities in your classroom about any topic and with students of all ages. Below, you can see some examples we have done in our classes or have gathered from different resources. Will you try them? 1. Create a story Preparation: Have students choose three numbers (from 1 to 10). Each number corresponds to an item on the list below. The first number is the character their stories are to focus on, the second number is the setting for their stories, and so forth. Assignment: Write a story with the character, setting, time period, and situation that you've chosen. The character that you've chosen should be the main character in the story, but isn't necessarily the ONLY character in the story. Likewise, most of the story will take place in the setting that you've chosen, but you can include other settings or elaborate on the setting that you have chosen (breaking it into several smaller settings, for example). The situation or challenge that you've chosen may involve the main character or your main character may observe someone else who must deal with the situation or challenge. In other words, you can combine these elements anyway that you desire, so long as all four are included in your story. Character a new mother a photographer a recent high school graduate a restaurant owner or manager an alien from outer space a homeless child a 93-year-old woman an environmentalist a teacher a jazz musician Setting near a National Forest a wedding reception a celebration party an expensive restaurant a shopping mall a city park the porch of an old farmhouse a polluted stream a school a concert hall Time during a forest fire after a fig\ht the night of high school graduation after a big meal sometime in December late at night after a big thunderstorm has passed in early spring first week of the school year during a concert Situation/Challenge an important decision needs to be made a secret needs to be confessed to someone else someone's pride has been injured a death has occurred someone has found or lost something someone has accused someone else of doing something wrong reminiscing on how things have changed someone feels like giving up something embarrassing has just happened someone has just reached an important goal 2. Random words Choose 15 words from a dictionary randomly. Then write these words in a list and try to create a poem using at least 10 of the words. When you have your poem, create a story that incorporates the themes and images that are included in the poem. 3. A story with a newspaper Choose 5 of the newspapers titles below and compose a creative story with all of them: *These are only examples, new will be added when the course runs. Usually, students will think it is very difficult. You just need to encourage them and the result will be wonderful and most of the times funny! 4. "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." Andy Warhol Discuss about the above quote, what it means to be famous? Who is famous? What reason for? Would you like to be famous? How would you feel in that case? Write a text where you will describe in what thing you would like to be famous! An example by Silvana Turchinovich Petercol, member of the Creative Classroom Group: l would like to be a Minister of Education and eliminate or change a lot of the unnecessary stuff that kids memorize at school and will never need in life... I would like to introduce a new subject that would teach little children in kindergartens, pupils in primary schools and students later on, how to love and accept themselves exactly as they are. To start appreciating the beautiful gift that life has given them, Italians head for beach as clouds gather My auntie Marilyn Monroe: niece reveals her childhood memories of the Hollywood legend Touching tribute: Judo star Gemma Gibbons has her Olympic flowers laid at her mother's grave Singapore wants creativity not cramming Safety fears hinder outdoor play, says survey Fishermen stunned by 15lbs trout caught at Bale Lake Paralyzed rats walk again, thanks to electricity, chemicals and chocolate Floating cities of the future Mystery of lost Roman city solved: Ancients greened the desert to really love themselves for being born and being alive, without feelings of sadness, or guilt, but only love and empathy... I would introduce a subject that would teach them how to read inside themselves and to be able to solve the things that their parents were not able to, to stand up again when life hits, and to share to the world the beauty of their uniqueness... a beautiful subject that would teach them how to cope with life...through the love for the others and for themselves... 5. Lets talk about a historical figure Pick up a historical figure that you know some things about him/her and complete the sentences below to write a short story. The phrases are: The thing I regret most about my life is.. If I could accomplish one more thing, I would The accomplishment that Im proud of is. If I could live anywhere in the world, I would choose.. The saddest moment in life was when.. My favourite childhood memory is. The thing that scares me the most is 6. Writing a story based on adverts In the back of many books, there are often adverts for other stories. Why not get the children to choose one of these adverts, and write a story based on the description of the story in the advert. They don't need to have read the book which is being advertised, and you can get them to compare their own story to the real version when they have finished. 7. Name Characters This is using art and creative writing. Fold a piece of paper in half and on the fold line write your name. Cut around the outside shape of your name. Open your name and you will have a shape based on your letters. Colour and design your shape into a character. Glue your finished character to a piece of construction paper. Write a descriptive paragraph about your character as if it is an alien arriving here on earth for the first time. Give it a name, place of origin, reason for being here, etc. 8. Who are they? Cut photographs of people from magazines and ask the children to pick two or three of them. Write about who the people are, what their lives are like, and how they might know each other. It would also be fun to place the pictures of people in a geographic location and ask the children to write about what they are doing there. A variation on this theme would be to go out to a park or cafe and do some people watching. Pick some people and make quick notes about them - how did they look, what were they wearing. Then write a story about them when you get home. 9. Make an ideas jar Cut out slips of paper and write a word or two on each - blue/smooth/frosty/loved. Get the children to pick three to five words and make up a story using them 10. Do a scavenger hunt Make a bag filled with items you find either on a nature walk or around the house. You could set a theme such as ten blue items, or items that weigh less than a certain amount. Gather the items together and try to weave them all into a story. 11. Acrostic Poems Acrostic poems are a great way to get kids started on writing poetry. In this poem form, the letters that make up a word are used as the first letter of each line of the poem. Each line should relate to the acrostic word. Begin by showing your kids examples of acrostic poems, and then have them write their own. To choose a word to begin your poems, look to the seasons, holidays or nature for inspiration. For younger students, keep the word fairly short; four or five letters is plenty. 12. Art Stories Find photographs of famous works of art. Allow your students to choose a painting and write a story based on what they see in the picture. Ask them to think about what may have happened just before what they see in the picture, and what they think may have happened just after. It is interesting to have several students write about the same picture, as you will likely get several very different stories. (use a comic software) 13. A Message in a Bottle In this activity, each student will create an imaginary tale of travel and adventure. You need: maps of the world, atlases plastic bottles with caps (one for each child writing a tale) water table, fish tank, or large basin (optional) 1. Tell children that each of them is going to write a tale about an imaginary adventure or trip that has left him or her stranded on a desert island. Explain that the only chance for rescue is to write a message, put it in a bottle, and put the bottle in the water, with the hope that someone will find it. 2. Brainstorm with children the kind of information they should include in their tales. For example, they might want to explain who they are, where they were going when they got stranded, where they came from, and how they were travelling. They should also include information about where they are, such as the climate, what the island is like, what plants and animals they have seen, and how they are surviving. Record their suggestions on the board or on chart paper. 3. When children are ready to begin writing, make maps and/or atlases available to them. They can refer to the maps if they need help planning their trips or spelling the names of places they might want to include in their tales. 4. When students have finished, have them place the tales in the bottles and set the bottles afloat in a water table (or whatever container of water you have available). 5. Then have each student fish a bottle (not his or her own) out of the water and read aloud the tale within. After each tale is read, students can rescue the author by using maps and story details to find approximately where he or she is stranded. If your class is studying a certain area of the world in social studies, you may want to have the students write about being stranded on desert islands off the coasts of countries within that region. You may want to make arrangements to have your tales sent there. Then the students in that class can try to locate the writer of each tale. Your class could do the same with tales from the students in the other class. 14. Make Family Comic Strips Children will make comic strips about funny events that have taken place in their families. You need: Examples of newspaper comic strips (especially those about families) Coloured pencils and markers, crayons Rulers Display some examples of newspaper comic strips. Explain that each strip tells a funny story in a series of boxes, or panels. You may want to work through one or more of the comic strips to be sure children understand the different components (a title, the cartoonists name, a series of sequenced panels containing humorous drawings of characters in action, the characters speech balloons). Ask each child to think of an especially funny incident or event that happened in his or her family, and then to make a comic strip about it. Suggest that children follow these steps: Decide how many panels you will need. Use a ruler to draw the panel boxes on construction paper. Add your illustrations and speech balloons. Give your comic strip a title. Write your name next to the title. Collect the childrens comic strips and hang them around the classroom for everyone to enjoy. 15. Be an Incredible Songwriter! Each student will write a song about something incredible and then perform the song for the class. You Need: Writing paper and pencils A pretend microphone (perhaps a chalkboard eraser) Small, portable musical instruments of the students choice (optional) 1. Tell students that you would like them to become songwriters and stage singers for a day. First, have them think of something incredible that they have experienced or know about. This might be an event, a feeling, an idea, a dream, or an amazing animal. 2. Next, ask the students to write the lyrics, or words, to a song about their chosen incredible subjects. Give them the option of writing the words to fit a familiar tune or mentally composing a new tune. Encourage students who have small musical instruments (e.g., flutes, maracas, harmonicas) to plan to play those instruments during their performances. 3. Finally, have students take turns performing their songs for the class. Prompt them to make their singing performances as exciting as possible by including dance steps, arm gestures, and exaggerated facial expressions. 16. Color Coded Ask students to write a short story that begins with the word "blue," and in which the first word of every paragraph is a color. Use the "color word" only once in each paragraph, but suggest the color in as many ways as possible. For example: The world had turned grey. Nothing but mud and asphalt surrounded the unpainted house, little more than a box made of concrete blocks. Charlie, dressed in faded work pants, rubber boots, and a thick wool sweater, steadied himself with a hand on the top rail of a weathered cedar fence. Behind him, nothing but ash-coloured sky, bare trees, and plumes of smoke belching from the factory in the distance. A lone sparrow rested on a branch, one beady eye watching. 17. Turn a poem into a short story A poem uses tight language to convey emotional or intellectual ideas in an imaginative and new way. A single poem can provide a rich source of creative writing ideas for students, who can use specifics in the poem as a starting point for a narrative. Using the poem of their choice for inspiration, have students create a character, a setting, a situation, and a character goal, from the poem and write a short story. 18. Alphabetical Sentence To spark new and unusual ideas, have students work alone or in small groups to write a sentence where each subsequent word begins with the next letter of the alphabet. For instance: "Acids, bases, compounds" Dorothy explains, "for group homework." Instantly jaded, knowing long monosyllabic nonsense oozes, pupils quickly revolt. Have students go on for as long as they are able (X,Y, Z can get a little tricky), and then if you like, have them work in the reverse direction. Or ask them to use the idea, setting, or character that resulted to write a short piece of fiction. Such limited constraints will sometimes yield fresh and surprising concepts or descriptions. 19. Writing Traditional Stories from a Different Point of View Read "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" (by Jon Scieszka) with the children. This tells the "Three Little Pigs" story from the wolf's point of view. Ask the children to think of a story that they know well, and to write another version from another point of view. e.g. Write "Cinderella" from the point of view of one of the ugly sisters. 20. Missing Person The following activity is great fun, and usually produces great results, but must be used with caution. Only try it with a class you are comfortable with, and who you think will cope with the situation. Also try to add a little humour where possible, ensuring that the children are aware that it's not real - you're just pretending! Choose a name for a missing person (e.g. "Paul"), making sure that this is not the name of someone in the class. Before the lesson, put a chair in an empty space in the classroom. For the purposes of the lesson, pretend that this space is where "Paul" normally sits. Ask the children where "Paul" is. They will probably look at you as though you are mad, but continually ask them where "Paul" is today. Tell them that he normally sits in his space (point to the empty chair) and that he was there yesterday, but he isn't there today. Insist that they tell you where he is. Hopefully someone will make up a reason why "Paul" isn't in today. Argue with them, saying that you have heard differently. Ask if anyone knows anything else. Ask who the last person to see him was. Continue like this for a while, with the children explaining where he is. Finally, say that as Paul is missing, we will have to make some missing person posters, explaining who Paul is (with a picture so others can identify him!), where he was last seen and who to contact if he is found. When these are made, you could post them around the school.