Skip Nav

30 Ideas for Teaching Writing

Questions & Answers

❶As the students draw objects from the box, a story unfolds.

Helpful Links

Writing assignment for high school students
Receive timely lesson ideas and PD tips
Getting the Paper Exactly the Way You Want It Done

For each letter of the alphabet, the students find an appropriately descriptive word for themselves. Students elaborate on the word by writing sentences and creating an illustration.

In the process, they make extensive use of the dictionary and thesaurus. One student describes her personality as sometimes "caustic," illustrating the word with a photograph of a burning car in a war zone.

Her caption explains that she understands the hurt her "burning" sarcastic remarks can generate. John Levine, a teacher-consultant with the Bay Area Writing Project California , helps his college freshmen integrate the ideas of several writers into a single analytical essay by asking them to create a dialogue among those writers. He tells his students, for instance, "imagine you are the moderator of a panel discussion on the topic these writers are discussing.

Levine tells students to format the dialogue as though it were a script. The essay follows from this preparation. Writing Dialogue in the College Composition Classroom. The following is a group poem created by second grade students of Michelle Fleer, a teacher-consultant with the Dakota Writing Project South Dakota.

Underwater Crabs crawl patiently along the ocean floor searching for prey. Fish soundlessly weave their way through slippery seaweed Whales whisper to others as they slide through the salty water. And silent waves wash into a dark cave where an octopus is sleeping. Fleer helped her students get started by finding a familiar topic. In this case her students had been studying sea life.

She asked them to brainstorm language related to the sea, allowing them time to list appropriate nouns, verbs, and adjectives. The students then used these words to create phrases and used the phrases to produce the poem itself. Douglas James Joyce, a teacher-consultant with the Denver Writing Project , makes use of what he calls "metawriting" in his college writing classes.

He sees metawriting writing about writing as a way to help students reduce errors in their academic prose. Joyce explains one metawriting strategy: He instructs the student to write a one page essay, comparing and contrasting three sources that provide guidance on the established use of that particular convention, making sure a variety of sources are available.

Glorianne Bradshaw, a teacher-consultant with the Red River Valley Writing Project North Dakota , decided to make use of experiences from her own life when teaching her first-graders how to write. For example, on an overhead transparency she shows a sketch of herself stirring cookie batter while on vacation. She writes the phrase "made cookies" under the sketch.

Then she asks students to help her write a sentence about this. She writes the words who , where , and when. Using these words as prompts, she and the students construct the sentence, "I made cookies in the kitchen in the morning. Then she asks them, "Tell me more.

Do the cookies have chocolate chips? Does the pizza have pepperoni? Rather than taking away creativity, Bradshaw believes this kind of structure gives students a helpful format for creativity. Stephanie Wilder found that the grades she gave her high school students were getting in the way of their progress.

The weaker students stopped trying. Other students relied on grades as the only standard by which they judged their own work. She continued to comment on papers, encourage revision, and urge students to meet with her for conferences. But she waited to grade the papers. It took a while for students to stop leafing to the ends of their papers in search of a grade, and there was some grumbling from students who had always received excellent grades.

But she believes that because she was less quick to judge their work, students were better able to evaluate their efforts themselves. Erin Pirnot Ciccone, teacher-consultant with the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project , found a way to make more productive the "Monday morning gab fest" she used as a warm-up with her fifth grade students. She conceived of "Headline News. After the headlines had been posted, students had a chance to guess the stories behind them.

The writers then told the stories behind their headlines. As each student had only three minutes to talk, they needed to make decisions about what was important and to clarify details as they proceeded. On Tuesday, students committed their stories to writing. Slagle, high school teacher and teacher-consultant with the Louisville Writing Project Kentucky , understands the difference between writing for a hypothetical purpose and writing to an audience for real purpose.

She illustrates the difference by contrasting two assignments. Write a review of an imaginary production of the play we have just finished studying in class. They must adapt to a voice that is not theirs and pretend to have knowledge they do not have. Slagle developed a more effective alternative: Authenticity in Writing Prompts. Mark Farrington, college instructor and teacher-consultant with the Northern Virginia Writing Project , believes teaching revision sometimes means practicing techniques of revision.

An exercise like "find a place other than the first sentence where this essay might begin" is valuable because it shows student writers the possibilities that exist in writing. In his college fiction writing class, Farrington asks students to choose a spot in the story where the main character does something that is crucial to the rest of the story.

At that moment, Farrington says, they must make the character do the exact opposite. Bernadette Lambert, teacher-consultant with the Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project Georgia , wondered what would happen if she had her sixth-grade students pair with an adult family member to read a book.

She asked the students about the kinds of books they wanted to read mysteries, adventure, ghost stories and the adults about the kinds of books they wanted to read with the young people character-building values, multiculturalism, no ghost stories.

Using these suggestions for direction, Lambert developed a list of 30 books. From this list, each student-adult pair chose one. They committed themselves to read and discuss the book and write separate reviews. Most of the students, says Lambert, were proud to share a piece of writing done by their adult reading buddy. Several admitted that they had never before had this level of intellectual conversation with an adult family member.

One day, in front of the class, she demonstrated tension with a rubber band. Looped over her finger, the rubber band merely dangled. Linebarger revised a generic writing prompt to add an element of tension. The initial prompt read, "Think of a friend who is special to you.

Write about something your friend has done for you, you have done for your friend, or you have done together. Students talked about times they had let their friends down or times their friends had let them down, and how they had managed to stay friends in spite of their problems.

In other words, we talked about some tense situations that found their way into their writing. Moving From Fluency to Flair. Ray Skjelbred, middle school teacher at Marin Country Day School, wants his seventh grade students to listen to language. He wants to begin to train their ears by asking them to make lists of wonderful sounding words.

They may use their own words, borrow from other contributors, add other words as necessary, and change word forms. Grammar, Poetry, and Creative Language. Students attach their comments to a piece of writing under consideration. While I was reading your piece, I felt like I was riding a roller coaster. It started out kinda slow, but you could tell there was something exciting coming up.

But then it moved real fast and stopped all of a sudden. I almost needed to read it again the way you ride a roller coaster over again because it goes too fast. Anna Collins Trest, director of the South Mississippi Writing Project , finds she can lead upper elementary school students to better understand the concept of "reflection" if she anchors the discussion in the concrete and helps students establish categories for their reflective responses.

She decided to use mirrors to teach the reflective process. Each student had one. As the students gazed at their own reflections, she asked this question: Trest talked with students about the categories and invited them to give personal examples of each. Then she asked them to look in the mirrors again, reflect on their images, and write. One of his strategies has been to take his seventh-graders on a "preposition walk" around the school campus.

Walking in pairs, they tell each other what they are doing:. I walk among my students prompting answers," Ireland explains. Kim Stafford, director of the Oregon Writing Project at Lewis and Clark College , wants his students to discard old notions that sentences should be a certain length. He describes the exercise he uses to help students experiment with sentence length.

Stafford compares the first style of sentence construction to a river and the second to a drum. Joni Chancer, teacher-consultant of the South Coast Writing Project California , has paid a lot of attention to the type of questions she wants her upper elementary students to consider as they re-examine their writing, reflecting on pieces they may make part of their portfolios. Here are some of the questions:. Why did I write this piece? Where did I get my ideas? Who is the audience and how did it affect this piece?

Then, George confesses that the person he has feelings for is actually Dan. To make it even more fun and challenging, give your students requirements they have to fulfill every time they collaborate on a new scene. For example, there has to be a fight and somebody has to spill coffee all over their favorite outfit. Or, an element of fantasy has to be included. Pick whatever you like, and see what your class comes up with.

Split your class into teams of students and assign them a writing prompt. Begin with one student from each group writing on their own. After 5 minutes, have them stop wherever they are mid-sentence, whatever and pass off the paper to the next member of the group.

Continue with this drill either for a set period of time or until the groups are all finished writing their scenes. This is a great exercise for encouraging students to broaden their skill set as writers. Ask them to bring in a poem, short story, or novel from a writer they admire.

Next, ask them to write their own poem or paragraph about whatever they want. Does the author use unusual imagery, or perhaps excel at realistic dialogue?

What is it that makes their characters so realistic, or their descriptions so vivid? Do some art writing. Bring a collection of random snapshots, posters, and photos of famous artwork to class with you.

Have students choose randomly from your pile and ask them to write a scene based off what they see. Give them a mix to make it diverse and interesting.

For example, one photo might include a group of friends sitting around a campfire. Another might be a photo of a building, or painting of a flower with no people in it at all. Maybe their character painted the flower, or maybe their character is the flower.

After twenty minutes or so, switch and have each student choose a new image to write from. Ask your students to spend some time drawing out a part of their story. It can be a character, a room, an important object, or an entire scene. This can help students with adding important and engaging details to their writing. Once they see what someone or some place from inside their mind looks like, they will be much better at describing it.

Give your students a famous story and have them rewrite a portion of the tale. You can do this with fairy tales, classic literature, or even pop fiction. Have your students change an event that occurs in the middle, or even in the very beginning. How does that affect the outcome? For example, what would have happened if Belle had refused to live with the Beast after her father had promised her to him in order to save his life?

Would her father have been killed? Would she and the Beast still have met? This is a good exercise for stretching the imagination and for examining the nuances of plot. Sign your class up for National Novel Writing Month. November has just ended, and all over the world aspiring authors are heaving huge sighs of relief after completing the ultimate writing challenge: In fact, the organization that runs National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo has resources for teachers of all age groups to help them take their students through the challenge for younger students, the word count goal is lower.

You can spend the earlier months of fall prepping for the event with writing exercises, character sketches, and plot outlines. Once November begins, turn your classes into writing sessions for your students. Offer small prizes for every five or ten thousand words, and encourage students to openly discuss their writing and help each other with challenges along the way.

Give them a break at the end of the month, and then you can start working on revision techniques! Your students will be churning out words in no time. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. These are all lesson plans I came up with for my own classes. Of course, some of them are inspired by lessons I remember from way back when, when I was a student myself.

And, of course, the NaNoWriMo plan comes from the organization, not from me see link at the bottom of the article. Thank you for your interest! Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners.

HubPages and Hubbers authors may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.

To provide a better website experience, owlcation. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

Post navigation

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

The student can specify a page number, content, formatting design, the arguments, and evidence, the due date, and the high school student gets a bit of stress relief knowing the assignment is being completed.

Privacy FAQs

Writing Prompts for High School and College Students Looking for interesting writing prompt ideas for your Creative Writing or Language Arts class? Below are just a few of the previous teen essay writing prompts used in ebookconcept5h6.tk's monthly, national student writing contest.

About Our Ads

Writing assignment for high school students. Check out this essay on the social effects of wwii. (well, so far, i'm taking the kids to the science museum.) 5 paragraph essay on church. 30 Ideas for Teaching Writing. Summary: Few sources available today offer writing teachers such succinct, practice-based help—which is one reason why 30 Ideas for Teaching Writing was the winner of the Association of Education Publishers Distinguished Achievement Award for Instructional Materials.

Cookie Info

Students in some Albany High School English classes were asked this week as part of a persuasive writing assignment to make an abhorrent argument: "You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid. Writing Prompts for High School NEW High School Cause and Effect Prompt 1. At a recent conference at the University of Chicago, David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family presented a paper titled “ Video Game Violence and Public Policy.”.