Creative Writing Ideas

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Bored with the same old creative writing ideas?  These prompts are perfect for the primary classroom.

Just like reading, kids need to be writing a lot. We need to saturate them with quality pieces as mentor texts and provide them with real reasons to write.

Even our youngest students should be creating meaningful and authentic pieces.

creative writing journals

Often teachers think that creative writing is only about fictional narratives. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Writing in a creative way means that we can tell a story that rings of our voice. We can present topics, stories and poems using figurative language and sensory images.

Creative Teaching Ideas

This isn't simply functional writing - it is showing kids how to turn a bland piece of writing into a "movie in their minds."

1. Word Play

Young writers in particular need to play with words. If they cannot write "short stuff," how will they ever be able to write the "long stuff?" These creative writing ideas focus on word play and will strengthen the foundation of their writing.

  • Build word lists together and put them into a class book for reference. Ideas: odd words, grumpy words, slippery words, wet words and silly words. Great for ESL vocabulary lessons when including realia.
  • Create Word Wheels to hang from the ceiling: think of it as a rotating thesaurus.
  • Crazy Phrases: Take your word lists and combine 4-5 words into phrases: "Slinking enchiladas drooping at sunset."
  • Conversation Stoppers: Sentences that would be guaranteed to halt all conversation: "Dad, did you ever catch that snake after you hit Mom's car?"
  • Do It Yourself Dictionary: Write original words - "superflubulous" isn't real, but it's a great word and could mean loads of different things.
  • Alphabet Adventures: For each letter, write a word that fits a particular category, such as "Words That Describe Smells."
  • Big Word Books: Give your students a list of big words as a prompt and let them write sentences and stories with them - but don't tell them what the words mean until after they have written!
  • Spoonerisms: Mixed-up phrases: "I want cananas and bream in my oatmeal."

2. Experiencing Ideas (Great for teaching ESL writing)

To be able to write, children must have something to draw upon. Most of your kids will write without any "romance," but it won't be the creative writing topics you were hoping for.

  • Music Without Words: Melodies can inspire lists, phrases, thoughts, images and descriptions of feelings. Have students change the words, add a verse, create a new title, stories set to the theme.
  • Art: Create poems based on the colors present in art (Picasso's blue period could inspire a poem about feeling blue, the ocean or blueberries!).
  • Taste: Eat an apple together and write word lists about an apple (crunchy, sweet, juicy, dribbling, shiny). Use these to create restaurant menus.
  • Movement: Move like a tiger then write phrases that express that movement.
  • Science Experiments: write a class newspaper based on results from an experiment. For example, "Students Served Mexican Jumping Beans: Cafeteria Erupts in Chaos!"

3. Instead of a Story...use topics that won't seem overwhelming

These are especially good for 3-5 writers. Intermediate students get the humor in them and I can tell you from teaching third and fifth grade writing that they LOVE these creative writing ideas.

  • Visit a graveyard then write humorous epithets
  • Sentence stretching: Start with a short sentence then pass it around the class/small group. Each student adds a word or two to make it more interesting. Click here for a PDF of starter sentences.
  • Write an invitation to a fairy tale ball.
  • A new explanation for a hurricane, tsunami, earthquake - get creative!
  • A complaint about having too much homework.
  • Write questions about things your students really want to know.
  • Interview questions for a celebrity (then maybe switch and write secret responses?).
  • A persuasive letter from you as a turkey at Thanksgiving, and convince your mom not to cook you.
  • A persuasive letter to Santa from the elf union about their working conditions.
  • Warning labels: Don't eat brussel sprouts - they cause massive gastrical blow-outs!
  • Wanted Posters for historical figures (Wanted: Genghis Khan for marauding, pillaging and total destruction of property)
  • Thank you notes for something you never wanted in the first place
  • Do You Want to Know a Secret? - write a silly secret on notepaper and let your students pass them around.

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