Creative Writing--The LOVE, the TIME, and AMAZING PROMPTS to Inspire Your Students

Hi Everyone!

I hope everyone is well, school is smooth, and things are well, quiet :).  For many of us, things never slow down, especially if you have kids, your children's homework, sports, and all the rest. Do you believe it is 9 Fridays until Christmas?!?!?!? Every year, I say the same thing: "Where the heck does time go?!?!".

How do I deal with creative writing and the use of time?

I LOVE creative writing, and so do my students.  I love creative writing to be part of my classroom.  It is a time to break away from all the "musts", and let the students use their imagination and creative spirit to write.

As Halloween is upon us, and it is one of my favorite times for my students to creatively write, I wanted to write a post about how much I love creative writing and teaching my students to creatively write; however, we all run into our arch nemesis called TIME.   In addition, where do you find engaging, interesting, exciting creative writing materials?  I may have a few answers for you.

First, you probably wonder how do I fit creative writing into my already hectic English schedule?  Let's face it.  We don't have time to spend a few days on a creative writing assignment, right?  Between novels, literary terms, close reading, non-fiction reading, grammar, how do I fit it in? Well, I tackle this by assigning the writing prompt as a bell ringer.  As the students come into my class, they know that the bell ringer is their first task of the day, every day.  Normally bell ringers consist of grammar, quotation analysis, idioms, and editing, but on the occasion, I post a prompt.

On my Smart Board, I display the prompt. On a normal day I give them a few minutes for regular bell ringers, but with the creative writing tasks, I give them anywhere from 5-10 minutes to get started.  This is a decent start for them, and then I ask them to finish the creative writing at home.  This way, the students are still able to enjoy the creative writing aspects of English class without breaking the clock.

I also try to do more creative assignments around holidays. Take Halloween for example.  Because my school shortens the periods for the day because of our Halloween parade, this is a perfect time to lets students use their creative outlet and energy (!!!), and put it down on paper.

Awesome & Engaging Writing Prompts

Are you sick of the cliche, boring writing prompts? Want to engage your students into mind-blowing, exciting prompts?  Check out these Tumblr prompts.

Tumblr Creative Writing Prompts

You can easy copy and paste these onto your Smart Board templates and enlarge them to display them on the board.  Tumblr has a fabulous selection of these visual prompts, and they all have the Common Core Standards listed on the prompt! Score!

Here are two of my creative writing products that I do with my students each year.  As I said, creative writing is so much fun to do around different holidays. Click on the pictures to go right to my store!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and you can some of the information to help engage your students!
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"You Never Know Someone Until You Walk in His/Her Shoes"-An Empathy Lesson

Hi Everyone!

It has been ages, I mean weeks (!!!), since I have blogged! It has been a hectic start to the school year. Not only did I go back to teaching, my son started second grade and football (3x a week!). Homework, planning, and limited family time have taken precedence over my second love-my store, my brand, and my blog. Trying to balance everything is quite a feat!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful and successful start to the school year.  Just so you know, I am still participating in the Secondary Scope Series on Periscope.  You can see me, along with some other amazing teachers discussing ingenious lessons, technology, and ideas on a weekly basis.  For the month of October, we are going to be discussing best lessons and best practices.  If you are interested, check out our Facebook page right here!

I wanted to share a really awesome lesson and activity that I did with my 8th graders.  Our entire English Language Arts theme for my 8th graders is empathy.  Our main novels and literature (To Kill a Mockingbird, "Flowers for Algernon", and The Diary of Anne Frank) are all linked to the theme of empathy, and we constantly tie in the theme, short stories and articles that tie into the theme.

One of the first activities I do with my students in order to introduce the theme is, "Walking in My Shoes."  I introduce the infamous Atticus quotation from To Kill a Mockingbird, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."  Here, I teach "Perspective-Taking Empathy", which is the ability to put oneself into a person's "shoes" and see things from his/her perspective.

From there, I introduce my shoe activity.  On the front side of the shoe, my student write down ten things that people would not know about them unless they told you.  This ranges from sports, passions, interests, favorite movies, broken bones, and other interesting facts.  On the back of the shoe, I have my students choose a line from a song that best represents him/her (I assign this as a homework assignment, and students are instructed to bring in the song lyrics to school, so they are able to write.)  You would be amazed at the lyrics the students use to represent themselves.  They range from popular pop songs to 70's rock!

In addition to them choosing a line, the students have to explain why they chose the line.  The students have to give a detailed and thorough analysis of the line and relate it to their life.  I am usually blown away by the amount of perseverance and strength many of the students have and how much they are willing to share with me regarding some of their struggles, obstacles and future goals.

For the final presentation of the two-part activity, the students get to choose their shoe template on which they want to complete their final piece.  On one side of the shoe, the students write their ten things about themselves, and on the other side of the shoe, they write their song lyric paragraph.  The students love coloring in the shoe, and they are usually very creative with them.  As you can see from above, the shoes come out a-mazzzzzzing! After I grade the shoes, I hang them up in my room in a "walking" pattern.  

I absolutely love this activity, and I hope you do too!  The students really enjoy this activity, and they are always awfully proud of their shoes.

If you are interested in the full lesson and activity, here is a link to the product in my store!

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me!  

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