Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Encouraging your Students to Write Creatively

I used to spend hours cutting pictures out of magazines to do this activity, but with the Internet, it's gotten so much easier to find funny, thought-provoking pictures to get your students' creative juices running!  Great for teaching/ practicing writing descriptive essays. 

The following two activities can be done either on Google Classroom (in which case, create a new "Assignment" with the instructions, and set it to  "Make a copy for each student"):

..... or, if you do not have Google Classroom, make a Googledoc that you share with each student on the sharing level of "Can view". Each of them make their own copy, give their Googledoc their name, save it in their Googledocs file and share it with you:

Activity One: Story Sparker for Creative Writing

Stage One:

Teach students the Hamburger Method of organizing a paragraph. There are lots of sites that show this. Here is one as an example. 

Stage Two:
Share the following instructions on Google Classroom (or Googledocs, as explained above):

Choose ONE of these pictures to describe a scene. Copy it to your Googledoc


Find your own picture! Paste it in your Googledoc!

YOU are here! Who are you with? Why are you all here? What are you all doing? Describe the scene, write your story from YOUR point of view.

Use adjectives prolifically.

Use adverbs wisely.

Include as many senses as you can (sight/sound/smell/feel/taste)

Stage Three: 

Students have to paste their chosen picture (either from a batch I share with them, being careful to only use pictures that are not limited by copyrights, or they can choose their own and get my approval), and start writing!  (80-100 words  ...or whatever you decide.)

Make it a process-based writing activity, where you add comments, students make corrections and submit again. This is a great opportunity for one-on-one  help, to each student according to their need. 

Activity Two: Collaborative Creative Writing

To be done in a computer room or in a classroom where all students have their own device.

Another use for these pictures is to have each student start their composition, and then after a few minutes ring a bell (you can use and online time app). Each time the bell rings, students all need to stand up and move one computer to their right. They look at the picture on their new computer, read what had been written before, and continue the story. (You can have them add a comment with their name on the section they wrote, if you wish.) 

Continue until each student gets back to their original station. 

July 2017 addition: Another option is to have students share their googledocs with other students. In that way, they don't need to physically move- but I like the idea of physical movement, personally.  

If there is time (or for homework) each student corrects mistakes, and tries to make the final product as cohesive as possible.  Take this opportunity to teach students how to use an online thesaurus  to make their writing more interesting! (Sharing this lesson idea for teaching thesaurus use.)

Do you have any ideas for doing creative writing with your students, using digital pedagogy? Share it here in the comments! 

Want to learn more about using Google Classroom? Come watch the playlist I have put together for this topic on my YouTube channel! (And please subscribe to my blog AND YouTube channel! I wouldn't want you to miss anything! ;-)

Digitally yours,


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