Luring their creative side


It’s not always easy for teachers to come up with fresh ideas to keep students interested in writing. Most students do not want to write about how their summer vacation went or write a poem about a specific season. These ideas are old and boring to them. Try some of the following creative writing ideas with your students to expand their writing skills.

Picture it

For this exercise, your students will need a picture. You could take one to distribute to the entire class, or you could take different ones so that each student has a different picture. You could also ask students to bring their own pictures and exchange them with others. Then ask students to write a story describing what is taking place in the picture as well as what happened before and after the picture was taken. Allow at least one class period for students to finish their story, it would work best if done overnight or over the course of a week of classes. Ask students to volunteer to read their stories once the assignment is completed. As far as grading is concerned, of course critique grammar and spelling, but play close attention to the details of story telling.


For this exercise, provide students with a piece of poetry that you would like them to imitate. Try to pick a style that your students may have had trouble with in class, as imitating a style can help them understand it by working through it. It is important that the students imitate the style and not the subject. For example, if you chose the poem The road not taken by Robert Frost, you would want your students to replicate the style, rhyme scheme, and perhaps tone, but you would not want them to repeat the subject of the two roads. Students should be given at least one night to work on their imitation piece.

Free writing

Ask students to write for at least 20 minutes straight as many thoughts as they can as fast as they can. These thoughts don’t need to be coherent or grammatically correct. Students might enjoy reading their free writing examples afterward just to see how many thoughts went through their heads in such a short amount of time. While this assignment should not be graded for spelling or grammar, you could always use it as a starting point for another creative writing exercise. You could ask students to take one thought from their free writing exercise and turn it into a poem or use it as the first line in a short story.

What to avoid

Create a list of at least 15 words that students are not allowed to use while writing a short story or poem. Use a wide variety of words. You could eliminate certain pronouns, articles or adverbs. As an overnight assignment, let your students write their piece without using any of the words on the list. It’s fun to watch students come up with new ideas to replace the words they cannot use.

Hopefully these ideas will be helpful in your classroom. Feel free to improvise or elaborate on some of the ideas to make them your own or to help them suit the feel of your classroom.