10 Creative Writing Activities That Help Students Find Their Voice
I don’t have a story to tell. My life is not intriguing. Any resemblance? No teacher that I am aware of hasn’t heard pupils say this. Our kids struggle when we ask them to write about themselves. We know how crucial it is for them to share their narratives. It’s how we discover our identities and preserve our cultures and history. When we don’t share our tales, it can even be deadly. Every subject benefits from storytelling, not only English Language Arts; when students consider how their own stories connect to historical events, civic involvement, and the practical applications of STEM, they engage more deeply and learn more. Any subject you teach can benefit from these 10 creative writing exercises:
Here are 10 of our top story-telling exercises for motivating students:
- Compose a poem titled “I Am From”
Students read George Ella Lyon’s poem “I Am From.” They then write a poem on their own identities using Lyon’s structure. To publicize their poems, pupils then make a video. We adore this work since it provides pupils with a clear structure and sample that they may imitate. But much like their story, the outcome is original.
- Create a social media post to share a memorable experience.
How can you tell a tale using your point of view? We want our pupils to realize how special they are and how their tales are the only ones that others would want to hear, could relate to, or could learn from. Students watch two Pixar-in-a-Box movies at Khan Academy as part of this exercise to learn about viewpoint and narrative. Then, they choose a memorable, engaging, moving experience and create a social media post.
- Draw a line to represent an emotional story in a picture.
How can emotion be conveyed in a single line? To learn how lines convey character, emotion, and tension, students in this assignment watch a Pixar in a Box video on Khan Academy. As they create their story, they then experiment with these elements. This is a great tool for pre-writing and for assisting kids in discovering their story arc. Additionally, this can assist children who enjoy drawing or learning visually in expressing their tale and demonstrate the variety of methods in which a story can be told.
- What is the origin of your name?
To communicate a tale about who we are, our culture, and our family history, we should share the origin of our name. And if there’s no backstory, we can discuss our feelings and describe the sound. In this project, students introduce themselves to their classmates through video while explaining the meaning behind their names. Students are tasked with connecting their names (and identities), their personal and family history, and more general historical forces. Try Sandra Cisneros’ “My Name” if you’re seeking a mentor text that works nicely with this one.
- Create a personality sketch in pictures
Allocate enough time for students to develop a character portrait of themselves. This will enable them to better understand their place in the narrative. Students in this session develop a visual personality sketch. They’ll begin to view themselves objectively and treat themselves as a person.
- Construct a website outlining the plot of your film.
A fantastic technique to teach children how to arrange the elements of their tale in a logical order is by having them build a narrative spine. Making decisions regarding the structure is practiced here. This practice is one of our favorites since it allows students to observe several narrative structures in action. They then reflect on the issue of how to employ structure to make your story successful.
- Answer writing prompts.
Because they lack inspiration or require a different starting point for telling their story, our students occasionally become stuck. Give them a wide variety of writing prompts to pick from. Distribute paper and pencils. Set a fifteen-minute timer. The board with three to four writing prompts. Encourage pupils to write for fun without worrying about whether or not their ideas are sound. I don’t know why I remember… is one of our favorite prompts to entice children to share their tales.
- Which location is your favorite and why?
- What possessions help to describe your life’s story?
- What information about you would surprise someone?
- Construct a portrait of yourself that explores identity and self-expression.
Because they are still developing their identities, kids often find it challenging to write their own stories. Students investigate how they and others define their identities in this project. What part does one’s identity have in how others view and handle them? What is revealed to the public, and what is kept private?
- To convey a key occasion in your life, make a video.
Motivate learners to choose the best way to describe a time when they overcame their worries. Students to reflect on the issue: How can you express your tale using several shot types? To understand more about various camera angles and how they may be used in the narrative, they watch a video from Pixar in a Box on Khan Academy. They then select three scenes from their story to turn into photographs using Photoshop or Adobe Spark Post. We use this great tool to get kids to consider perspective and tempo. Sometimes, the things we leave out of our stories are just as significant as the things we do.
- Examine wild writing.
You read a poem and choose two lines from it using Laurie Powers’ approach. With one of those phrases, students begin their essays. They repeat their jump-off line whenever they become stuck. Any poem can be used for this single exercise or as a regular writing warm-up. We adore how it brings down the bar. Lacking any ideas for writing, Restart after repeating the jump-off line. Some of our preferred jump-off points are listed below:
- The reality is
- Some people claim…
- Here’s what I neglected to mention to you….
- Some questions are unanswerable…
- What I’m reluctant to write about is as follows…