Creative Writing Tasks: Six Top Ways to Use Creative Writing in the Classroom — It’s never too early to get kids started on creative writing! Whether your students are just beginning or have been crafting their own creative works since they first learned to write, now is the perfect time to make daily writing a part of your classroom routine.
Here are six top reasons to prioritize creative writing with your students—and six all-new creative writing tasks to help them begin!
1. Boost Their Imaginations Through the Power of Fiction
There’s no doubt about it—creative writing is one of the best ways to boost imagination in young students. When kids write their own stories, poems, and journals, they get to explore new worlds and possibilities that fall outside the bounds of their regular assignments. Creative writing tasks are a freeing and empowering exercise for elementary school kids.
Creative Writing Task #1: To begin stretching those creative muscles, ask each of your students to write a short, totally fictional story.
Though many great stories are based on truth, for the purpose of this assignment, encourage them to make things as zany and creative as they can! From imagining a world run by animals to what life would be like if we all lived on Mars, there are no limits as to what can make a piece of fiction fun, engaging, and full of life.
2. Improve Writing Skills by Writing Frequently and Trying New Things
Practice makes perfect, and creative writing is a fun and easy way to get students writing regularly. Best of all, you can vary your classroom’s creative writing tasks so that kids get exposure to different types of writing—and so that each student can practice working in different genres.
Creative Writing Task #2: All successful writers are in the habit of writing regularly—so it’s important to instill creative writing as a normal part of your students’ days. For this task, it’s time to have your students begin keeping regular journals.
First, set aside a block of time each day that is dedicated solely to journaling. Then, use tools like journal prompts and story starters to make sure they have something new to write about each day.
If you want to truly diversify the writing in your classroom, try making a schedule like: Reflective Writing Mondays, Short Story Tuesdays, Poetry Wednesdays, Aspirational Writing Thursdays, and Free Thought Fridays. It’s a surefire way to make sure your kids are getting practice with a wide variety of writing each week!
3. Promote Empathy by Writing from Someone Else’s Perspective
In addition to improving imagination and overall writing skills, creative writing is also a powerful way to promote enhanced empathy in young students. Many creative writing exercises ask kids to put themselves in someone else’s shoes—either as they reflect on someone’s experiences in journal prompts or imagine how a character may act in a fictional story.
Creative Writing Task #3: Ask your students to write about a memory they share with someone else from the other person’s perspective. As they write, encourage them to answer questions like, “Why did the other person say that?”, “What might have influenced him or her to act that way?”, or “How might the other person have felt that day?”.
They say that we judge other people based on their actions and judge ourselves based on our intent—so the key here is to help students get better at imagining what someone else’s intent may have been.
4. Provide a Safe Space with Daily Reflective Journal Writing
For kids who aren’t always so confident in expressing their thoughts and feelings, creative writing also offers a powerful opportunity to take new risks and explore new ideas—all while operating within the boundaries of a safe (and generally confidential) space.
Encourage your students to reflect on their daily lives, thoughts, and feelings by reminding them that the blank page is a totally non-judgmental and encouraging listener. Over time, they’ll become more comfortable expressing the things they have to say!
Creative Writing Task #4: Daily creative writing practice like your students did in Task #2 is a good way to improve their writing skills—but it’s just as important to improve their emotional skills, too.
At the end of each day, give students some time to write specifically about something that’s currently happening in their lives. It can be about an interesting thing they learned that day, a fun memory they made with a friend on the playground, or a fight they had with a sibling at home. There are no rules to this assignment—just that each student spends time thinking and writing about something meaningful to them.
5. Build Critical Thinking with Writing That Seeks to Answer “Why?”
Naturally, creative writing tasks are also fertile ground for critical thinking skills to grow. Whether you prefer to assign reflective journal entries, problem-solving essays, or imaginative short stories, your grade school class will learn how to think more critically and intelligently about the topics they encounter when they synthesize the information through writing.
Creative Writing Task #5: There are a lot of skills kids must learn in order to develop their critical thinking, but one of the most important ones is a sense of innate curiosity that makes you ask, “Why?”. Kids are born with this (as anyone who’s ever dealt with a never-ending stream of “Why?” questions from a toddler knows!)—but as they get older, they tend to lose it (or in some cases, have it shut down and discouraged by the adults in their lives).
That’s why this creative writing task is all about asking “Why?”. The specific topics kids write about don’t matter as long as they’re thinking and writing about the why behind that topic.
“Why do people own pets?”
“Why do we say the Pledge of Allegiance?”
“Why do we have homework after spending all day working at school?”
It’s all fair game—just get kids asking WHY, and they’ll become more adept at critically examining the world they are presented with each day.
6. Create a Sense of Accomplishment by Compiling Each Student’s Writing
Though students may see each daily creative writing exercise as a simple homework assignment, something magical happens after they’ve been writing for a while: each student ends up with a large volume of written work that is wholly his or her own.
This incredible sense of accomplishment can be very powerful for a young student—and most importantly, it is a great motivator to keep on writing.
Creative Writing Task #6: As your students write throughout the year, make sure that each of them is holding on to all of their work (we recommend having students use dedicated notebooks each day that are solely for journaling and creative writing). Then, at the end of the semester, help students digitize, bind, and print their work into their very own volumes of creative writing!
Creative Writing Prompts & Links
Until next time, write on…
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