Creative writing is a wide and diverse category stretching from futuristic fantasy short stories to sonnets and haikus. How a teacher incorporates creative writing activities into their ELA curriculum can be just as varied.
No matter how you teach it, creative writing can be a fun way for students to put pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and start composing. If you need more convincing, read my post, Why Teach Creative Writing, for more great benefits.
When To Use Creative Writing Activities
Today, let’s discuss five ways to use creative writing activities with your students.
As a Stand-Alone Creative Writing Unit
If you have time to dedicate to an entire creative writing unit, there are so many wonderful things you can do in it. For example, when I teach stand-alone writing units, I often begin by having students read, discuss, and analyze several pieces of the type of writing I will ask them to write.
If you are going to ask students to write science fiction, read several excellent sci-fi stories and discuss what elements appear in them; if students are going to write suspense, pull out some examples of great suspense writing and discuss how the writers kept their readers on the edge of their seats; if students are going to write free verse poetry, read some free verse and be sure students have a firm grasp on how poets incorporate substance and meaning into this open format.
Once students have seen several excellent models, turn them loose to find their own voices in their creative writing activities.
Do your students love pets? Try out this Pet Memes Narrative Writing Assignment, which will have your students create a pet meme and write a day-in-the-life narrative about their pets. Get this resource on Teachers Pay Teachers USD or on Shopify CAD.
When You Have a Sub
Sub plans can be difficult to write, especially when you don’t know who your sub will be and their capabilities. You don’t want to lose a day (or more) of class time by leaving fluff, but if you leave new material for the sub to teach, you risk spending even more time undoing incorrectly taught lessons.
Creative writing activities are a great compromise. Leaving direction for a writing topic and then giving students class time to work is a great way to keep the curriculum going when you are gone without risking poorly taught lessons.
Suppose you are going to be gone for a couple of days. In that case, you can even leave a couple of short stories or other types of creative writing for students to read, as well as analysis worksheets for them to do to help model and analyze good creative writing before they begin their own stories.
If you know you will be gone, you can use a few days leading up to your absence to do these modelling activities instead.
Emergency Lesson Plans
Emergency lesson plans present a unique challenge. How do you write quality plans when you have no idea when you will need them or what your students will be working on when they are pulled out?
Creative writing activities are a good choice here. Include several diverse writing prompts, maybe some fun composition paper (if students will be writing by hand), and directions for students to write for the class period, and you have a great set of plans that can be dropped in anywhere.
If you need more than one day’s plans, include a peer-editing worksheet and directions, and students can pair up or form small groups and give feedback to each other.
Daily Writing Time
Many ELA classrooms include daily journal time or grammar pages upon entry. Creative writing activities can be a great alternative or addition to this type of work. Instead of having a daily journal prompt, give students a weekly creative writing prompt and five to ten minutes to work on it at the beginning or end of each period.
Often, writing can be intimidating for students, which can show up as “writer’s block”—getting students in the habit of regularly putting pencil to paper can help them overcome these difficulties in a fun, non-threatening way.
Try these Creative Writing Prompts with your students. It will save you time from thinking up a new prompt each week.
When Your Students (And You) Need a Fun Break
Maybe it’s the day before spring break. Maybe it is standardized testing week. Maybe the school’s hockey team just had a tournament, half the school went along, and no one got home until at least 1 a.m. the night before.
Regardless of what happens, sometimes you need something fun for your students to do that is still curriculum-based but isn’t too difficult. Creative writing activities fit these criteria.
Students usually enjoy it, especially if you give the right prompts, and writing is an important part of ELA curriculums everywhere.
Looking for creative writing activities, including prompts and resources to use in your classroom?
Creative Writing Prompts and Activities
This Creative Writing Prompts and Activities resource excites your students about writing using these no-prep creative writing prompts and activities. Students will select their topic from 20 different creative writing activities and prompts. These prompts can be used as a stand-alone assignment, sub plans or enrichment task.
- Teacher Instructions
- Student Assignment Sheet (List or Choice Board Format)
- 6 Anchor Charts
- 20 different levelled writing prompts
- Google Classroom-ready PDFs
- Google Slides Format
- 2 Rubric Options (Standards-Based Rubric or Points-Based Rubric)
What Teachers Are Saying:
“Such an amazing product – my students loved the writing prompts and could not stop talking about them. They always wanted more time to work on their writing and were eager to make improvements due to the high-interest nature of each prompt.” – Amanda O.
“My students love these as our creative writing topics and time. It allows them to use what we have worked on in Language Arts and put their own creativity into work.” – The French Ms Frizzle
Creative Writing Full Year Bundle
If you’re looking for creative writing activities to last the entire year, this no-prep Creative Writing Full Year Bundle will keep your students engaged in their writing. This bundle provides holiday writing prompts (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter) and seasonal writing prompts (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Back to School) to support an inclusive classroom environment.
- Detailed Teacher Instructions
- 9 Different Creative Writing Assignments (with multiple background options)
- Standards-Based Grading Rubric (Level 1 – Level 4)
- Points-Based Grading Rubric (Provides a final percentage mark)
- 25 Exemplars
- Google Classroom-ready PDFs
- Google Slides format
What Teachers Are Saying:
“I was assigned to teach a Creative Writing elective class this year for 8th grade students and I had no idea where to start. Luckily, I found this resource! The students love it! Plus, it is so well put together and creative and, most importantly, easy to use! I love it!” – Chandler W.
“My students LOVED these writing assignments and would ask me for them constantly! The work they produced was always so much fun to read. I really love these too and can’t wait to continue using them in future years!” – Robyn V.
If you want to have even more fantastic ELA and creative writing activities to last the entire year, this Creative Writing Full Year Bundle is included in the Full Year Middle School English Language Arts Bundle 2. You can get this bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers USD or Shopify CAD.
I hope you found some fun ways to use creative writing activities in your classroom!