In that magical ideal world, our students would come to us, armed with sharpened pencils, eager to spend the period writing, writing, writing. They would come to class early, turn to a new page, bend their heads and begin.
We don’t live in that world, do we? The reality is that some of our students are reluctant writers. Some are lazy thinkers. Many have a confidence problem and are worried about someone judging their words. And most, like us, can’t always think on demand.
That’s why I love writing prompts, especially ones that are used for practice and exploration, not marks. They can take the pressure off and allow students to experiment without the fear that can come from having to pass in a polished piece of writing. Hopefully, though, the confidence they will gain from playing around with their words will lead to those polished pieces.
I’ve been collecting prompt ideas and sources on a Pinterest board. Here are some of my favourites:
I love the daily writing prompts published by Writer’s Write Creative Blog. They are creative and smart, and offer a broad range of activities that students can use to build their writing muscle.
Photo prompts are lots of fun, because students can take them in so many directions:
This Pinterest board puts a fun twist on the writing prompt. Interesting images are paired with a series of unrelated words. For example, the instructions for this one are: this photo, plus any or all of the following: linen / letterhead / mask.
The internet is a wonderful tool to help us engage our students in the writing process. Whether we inspire them with cool photography, art, inspirational quotes or creative prompts, the end result is the same: we give them a chance to spread their creative wings. That’s always a good thing.