Fostering Creative Writing

There are many interesting ways to help students develop their creative writing skills through writing prompts and games.

By Dawn Dodson


Creative Writing

Creative writing” is one of those skills that comes easy to some students, but is difficult for others. In my experience, creative writing can be particularly frustrating for reluctant writers. They struggle to find an idea to write about; we’ve all been there. I like students to think of creative writing as an open exercise that can involve any topic they can transform into a story. A poem, play, or fictional story are examples of creative writing. How do I encourage students to foster this skill? By using journal prompts and games to help students defeat their block. Furthermore, it’s the daily incorporation of writing that creates a comfortable environment for students to experiment with different genres and formats of writing—creative or not. The following are some ideas to wet students’ creative writing appetites.

A writing tool I like to use is the writer’s notebook, or journal. My students are given a prompt two times a week at the beginning of class. Although I like to allow time for students to write about whatever they wish, some students have a difficult time coming up with writing ideas, and prompts can help direct their thinking and writing during that time period. There is an endless number of journal/writing prompts available online and in print. There is one Internet resource I like. The Can Teach website has a list of prompts covering various topics and genres. I like to make the list available for students. They enjoy the freedom of choice and appreciate the topic suggestions.

In addition to journaling and providing prompts, playing games with students is an enjoyable way to inspire them to write creatively. One game I like to play involves having two paper bags, one labeled “What” and the other labeled “Where.” Students are given two sticky notes where they write a verb (what) and a place (where). Students place their sticky notes into the corresponding bag and one blind-folded person chooses one sticky note from each bag. Each note is read aloud, and students have to make up a short story using the “what” and the “where.” I only give students three minutes to write their story, and at the end volunteers share. Students like to play this game, and it’s a great way to infuse humor into writing! Games like this help to break the monotony of writer’s workshop and refresh motivation for creating something new—quickly!

The addition of writing strategies such as journaling and playing writing games can help reluctant writers, as well as those who can’t think of anything to write, compose a piece of creative writing worthy of praise! Here are some more creative writing lesson ideas.

Creative Writing Ideas and Activities:

Creative Writing

Students work in groups to construct and compose a story. Each member of the group is responsible for a portion of the story. Groups present their completed work to the class.

Creative Writing Lesson Plan

This lesson uses both whole class and small group instruction. Students study the elements of creative writing, identify them in their own writing, and work in a small group to create a new piece of creative writing that includes each element studied.

Creative Writing

This lesson helps students begin their own piece of creative writing, but after fifteen minutes they switch papers with a classmate and add to the other student’s story. Like a game, students switch papers every fifteen minutes with another person.

Creative Writing—Getting Ideas

Students look at ways authors collect and use ideas as well as explore the importance of the revising process.   

Language Arts Guide

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Dawn Dodson