I love finding ideas for teachers that are the type that I could have assembled quickly for my own students, as the impulse struck. In a classroom ocean of variety, sometimes you just gotta be the waves!
Here are some easy “I Love to Write” Day (Nov. 15) strategies to either pepper into your already-full day or a chance to “clean out your pantry” of ideas and create your own writing casserole. Heat up the oven, we’re ready to cook!
1. NO RULES WRITING– This is an effective tool for priming the pump. Use as an introductory or transition activity, or easily expand to suit your time frame. The title tells the story: THERE ARE NO RULES. Students are given either a word count or time frame to fill, and are truly set free. Provide markers, crayons, pencils, chalk, or laptops and let them go.
Tell them about it the day before so that they can bring in song lyrics to imitate, a favorite book to learn from, or a photo to caption. Bring your own assortment of photos, paintings, quotes, magazines, or whatever else you can think of for inspiration.
2. FTFY (Fixed That For You)– Give students the chance to “fix” something they’ve read. For younger students, this could be a book they’d like to change (maybe add themselves to the story) or create a new ending to an old favorite. For older students this could be “fixing” a news story, online article, or even social media rant. Again, even one day as a heads-up helps students to think about it before they walk in the door. Any way you can encourage free-thinking and creativity will be a bonus!
3. Group Writing Casserole- Allow students to choose their groups and then give them 10 seconds choose 4 or 5 items from the classroom. Tell them that they can write whatever they’d like (a song, poem, news report, fairy tale, etc), but that they all need to contribute and that the items they chose must show up in the piece of writing. Share when the time is up, and provide a price to the fan favorite.
**Extensions/Alternatives: Students choose characters from stories you’ve read together instead of items, students read or perform the writing for another class, instructor provides genres for each group (musical, drama, etc.)
4. 100 Things I love– This is a great one to hang up, as an introductory activity or just for writing fun. use the following image as a guide and have students fill papers with things that they love. Adjust the number (5 things, 20 things, 15 things, etc.) as it suits your age level and time frame.
This is very easily expanded to a character study (make one for a character you’ve read about!), a research idea (pick one of your ‘things’ and learn more about it!), or a “guess who” game (either among the students themselves or to hang in the classroom for parents to investigate at conferences!).
Or, see what else you have left in your “pantry” and cook up something of your own! Whatever you do, remind students that I Love to Write Day is whatever gets their fingers and ideas moving.