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22 Writing Activities To Help Kids Hone Their Writing Skills
Prodigy English is here! Get your students playing — and learning — today.
Fun writing activities
Creative writing activities, academic writing activities, at-home writing activities, daily writing activities, simple writing prompts for kids.
- How writing activities can bring reluctant writers out of their shells
Try some other educational activities
When kids start writing, they’re unlocking a whole new world of imagination to explore. It’s a great way for them to be creative, express themselves and practice key reading and writing skills.
But as most kids — and adults — will tell you, writing is hard! It can be intimidating to put pen to paper for the first time, and sometimes the challenge of a blank page seems like too much to overcome.
Writing shouldn’t be scary for kids. These 22 fun writing activities can help them:
- Use their imagination
- Think up new stories and ideas
- Share their writing with friends and family
Use them in your classroom or at home to get kids excited about writing!
Writing is supposed to be fun! Use these activities to help kids stretch their imagination and record their thoughts on paper in a fun, low-stress environment.
1. Try online ELA games like Prodigy English
Great for: Grades 1 to 6
Online games are a great way to engage students in the learning process — and Prodigy English is bringing the power of game-based learning to language and reading skill practice!
As students build and create, they’re always practicing key reading and language skills that help them write clearly and effectively. Every correct answer gives players more energy to gather resources, complete daily tasks and earn Wishcoins.
Plus, you can send questions about the topics you want them to practice and collect insights about their learning.
2. Poetry scavenger hunt
Great for: Middle and high school students
Words are all around us, so encourage your students to take inspiration from the real-life writing they see every day. Have students collect printed words and phrases from the world around them, including:
- Magazine ads
- Graphic novels
- Newspaper headlines
- Social media captions
Students can collect and arrange their words on a piece of paper to make a unique piece of poetry. Encourage them to find a key idea and expand on it in creative ways, then have students share their work with the class.
3. Create your own comic strip
Great for: Grades 4 to 10
Students learn in all sorts of ways. For visual learners, creating a comic strip to accompany their story can help them express themselves in a visual medium.
Give students a set number of panels and challenge them to come up with a quick story — just a few sentences. Then, they can illustrate their scene in the style of comic books.
Remind students the point isn’t to be the best artist — it’s to write a story that’s short and exciting.
4. Create your own Madlib
Great for: Elementary and middle school students
Give students vocabulary practice and help them write a silly story at the same time!
Fill a sheet with the outline of the story, then remove key words like:
For younger students, add a word bank to get them started. As students fill in words, they’ll craft a unique story filled with unexpected twists and turns.
Once students start getting in the habit of writing, these creative writing activities can pull new ideas out of their heads and encourage them to experiment with different genres.
Great for: Grades 3 to 8
Acrostic poems are a great way to introduce your students to poetry! Start with a meaningful word or name and use it as a theme for the poem.
Writing the word vertically, students can go down the letters and write a short word or phrase that starts with each letter. Acrostic poems help students write within a structure and theme, so it’s easier for them to get started.
6. A letter to your future self
Great for: Middle school and high school
Where do your students see themselves in a year? Five years? Ten years?
A letter to their future selves is a great way for students to explore their own story, and brainstorm what they want to achieve. Not only can students practice their letter-writing skills, they can use their imaginations to develop a growth mindset .
For extra nostalgia, store the letters for students and mail them out once the right amount of time has passed.
7. Write a “Choose your own adventure” story
Great for: Grades 5 and up
Whether it’s a fairy tale, detective story or drama, chances are you’ve had a student tell you they don’t know how their story is supposed to end.
A “Choose-your-own-adventure” story lets students brainstorm different storylines and endings. Once they’re done, encourage them to share their stories with the class so their peers can go on the adventure too.
8. Write a fake advertisement
Great for: Grades 6 and up
Good writing doesn’t just happen in books — it’s all around us!
Whether students are writing advertisements on their own or as part of a project-based learning assignment , this activity helps them build key media literacy skills and practice their snappy storytelling.
Have students make up a new product and advertisement, or encourage them to re-imagine an ad for something they love. It’s also a great way to bring media literacy and interdisciplinary learning to your classroom.
9. Make a story map
Great for: Grades 2 to 8
Not every student is going to be comfortable putting pen to paper right away. Story maps can help students brainstorm details like plot, characters and setting in a way that makes sense for visual learners.
Have students use charts to set out the beginning, middle and end of their stories. Mind maps can also help them plot out details about their characters or setting.
Encourage students to present their story map as a finished product or use it to start writing!
Writing isn’t all fairy tales and short stories — it’s also an important part of learning in middle school, high school and college. Use these academic writing activities to help students understand proper essay structure, grammar and more.
10. Story chains
Great for: Grades 4 to 8
Stories are better when they’re enjoyed with friends and classmates. And story chains encourage every student to get involved!
Put students in small groups of three to six. Give each student a blank piece of paper and have them write the beginning of a story. Then, pass it to the next student in the group so they can write what happens next.
For extra educational value, have students work together to summarize a story from your lesson or an important historical event.
11. Persuasive essays
Sometimes writing is about more than just telling a story. It’s about convincing your readers of your point of view.
Have older students practice their debate skills with persuasive essays. Start with a prompt, then let students make their case. Some of our favorite prompts for this writing assignment include:
- Is it more important to be right or to not hurt someone else’s feelings?
- What important historical figure do you think belongs on the ten-dollar bill and why?
- Do you think you’re born with your personality traits, or do you gain them as you grow up?
Most importantly, make sure students back up their opinions with solid facts and arguments that convince readers to care.
12. Solve a real-world problem
Great for: Grade 6 and up
Climate change, litter, bullying, bad cafeteria food — no matter what students pick, there are lots of real-world problems for them to solve.
Challenge students with a writing assignment that addresses a problem they see in their world. How would they fix it? Whether it’s a short paragraph or a longer essay, encourage them to find something they’re passionate about. After all, that’s where good writing comes from!
13. Vocabulary challenge
Great for: Elementary school students
Vocabulary challenges combine vocabulary strategies with student writing to make your next language arts lesson plan even more engaging.
Give students a new word (or two or three). Once you’re done practicing it and they know what it means, challenge them to use it in a story as creatively as possible.
14. Teach citations
Great for: Grades 1 to 12
Footnotes, endnotes and bibliographies are the least exciting part of writing, but they’re essential skills. As students write more complex research papers, they need to know how to give credit where credit is due. Thankfully, there are lots of online resources to help!
The Purdue Online Writing Lab offers teachers and students resources for all stages of the writing process, including citations. To practice, students can write an annotated bibliography as part of a project-based learning assignment or the first step in writing a longer research paper.
Writing isn’t just something happening in the classroom. These at-home writing ideas can help you support your child as they experiment with prose and poetry.
15. Write letters to a pen pal
Great for: Grades 3 and up
Everyone likes getting mail! Got a friend with kids in a different part of the country, or far-away family members? A pen pal can be a great way for kids to build friendships and practice their writing skills at the same time.
16. Bring a home object to life
“It’s as big as a mountain!”
“That’s the fluffiest thing I’ve ever felt!”
The ways kids describe things can crack us up sometimes. Full of wonder and hyperbole, it’s the perfect spark for creative writing, too.
Encourage kids to practice their figurative language skills with a description of something in your home. Let them pack as much alliteration and exaggeration into the description as they can, then do a dramatic reading out loud.
17. Write reading reactions
If you want to boost reading comprehension and writing skills at the same time, this is the perfect activity. After your child is done reading, encourage them to write a few sentences about what they just read.
Did they like it? What do they think happens next? Which character was their favorite and why? Learning how to express opinions in writing is a valuable skill.
18. Document family stories
Great for: Grades 4 and up
Every family has a unique story, including yours. Make memories with your child when you share stories about important family events or your childhood.
Kids can even interview grandparents, aunts and uncles to record their memories. When you’re done, store them in a shared space so everyone can go back and reminisce.
Writing is a muscle, and you have to flex it every day to get stronger. Use these daily writing activities to make writing part of your everyday routine.
Great for: Everyone
Sometimes, you’ve just gotta write it out.
Whether you’re trying to make sense of life or just need a place to organize your thoughts, journaling is a great way to unwind, practice mindfulness and build social emotional skills .
All kids need to get started is a notebook and a pen. Let them know you’re not going to read it, but they’re welcome to come to you if there’s something they want to talk about.
20. Blog about your interests
Great for: High school and up
Everyone’s passionate about something. Whatever your students love, encourage them to share it with the world! Blogging is an accessible and fun way to express themselves, nerd out about the things that bring them joy and share their opinions with the world.
Sites like WordPress and Wix offer free website builders to help students get started. This is a great way for kids to build computer skills and digital literacy .
21. Free writing
Write, write, write and don’t stop. That’s the premise behind free writing, a writing practice that can help unlock creativity, discover new ideas and take the pressure out of a blank page.
Give students a five-minute timer and challenge them to write continuously, without worrying about formatting, spelling or grammar. They can write about whatever they want, but there’s only one rule: don’t stop.
22. Answer daily writing prompts
Make time to exercise your brain with daily writing prompts! At the start of the day or as a quick brain break , set aside time for students to respond to a quick daily writing prompt.
Students should have a dedicated journal or binder to make it a seamless part of your lessons. Whether or not you choose to read their writing is up to you, but it’s important to build good daily habits.
A blank page can be a scary sight for a student who doesn’t know what to write about.
Use writing prompts to:
- Kickstart a student’s imagination
- Start your lesson with a fun writing activity
- Give students a topic to debate in writing
Some of our favorite simple writing prompts include:
- Write a story about a wooden door, a can of soda and a blue shoe.
- If you met a monster looking for new friends, what would you do?
- What’s your favorite season? What makes it the best?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
- Describe your dream birthday cake.
- Write a story about being cold without using the word “cold.”
- If you could decorate your bedroom any way you wanted, what would it look like?
- Is it better to have lots of friends or just a few really good friends?
- Write a story in 10 words or less.
- Write a story about the best surprise you’ve ever received.
For more writing prompts you can use in and out of the classroom, check out our full list of 225 writing prompts for kids .
Writing activities can bring reluctant writers out of their shells
Writing is hard and can be intimidating for a lot of students.
But even the quietest and most reluctant students have lots of stories to tell! You just have to encourage them to get their words out.
Writing activities help remove some of the pressure and give students:
- A fun way to approach writing
- A starting point for their stories
- Chances to share their writing with students
No two stories are the same, just like your students. Every story can start in a different way, and that’s the beauty of writing prompts.
Whether it’s writing activities or math problems, there are lots of ways to get reluctant learners excited about your lessons with educational activities.
Here are some of our favorites:
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- 20 Exciting Math Games for Kids to Skyrocket New Math Skills On-The-Go
- 21 Classroom Games to Boost Teacher Effectiveness and Student Learning
- 25 Social Emotional Learning Activities & How They Promote Student Well-Being
Which ones can you use in your next lesson?
Prodigy English is a brand-new game-based learning platform helping students build key math skills. As students explore and build a world of their very own, they’ll answer curriculum-aligned reading and language questions that help build essential skills and encourage a love of learning.
Sign up for your free teacher account and get access to teacher tools that help you differentiate learning and track student progress as they play.
Activity: Story mountain
Complete the story mountain to plan your story with a beginning, middle, and end.
Activity: Perform a poem
Read a poem, talk about what it means, and perform it to an audience.
5. Find story inspiration
You can find fun story ideas anywhere! Why not raid your kitchen cupboards or hunt through the attic to find lost treasures? Anything from an old hat to a telescope will do the trick. What could the object be used for? Who might be looking for it? What secrets could it hold? Suggest different genres such as mystery or science fiction and discuss how the item might be used in this kind of story.
Real-world facts can also be a great source of inspiration. For example, did you know a jumping flea can accelerate faster than a space rocket taking off into orbit? What crazy story can your child make out of this fact? Newspapers and news websites can be great for finding these sorts of ideas.
For more storytelling ideas, download our free Story idea generator or our Character profile activity sheet .
Activity: Story idea generator
Activity: Character profile
6. Draw your ideas first
If your child isn’t sure where to start with a story or even a piece of non-fiction, it can sometimes be helpful to sketch out their ideas first. For instance, can they draw a picture of a dastardly villain or a brave hero? How about a scary woodland or an enchanted castle?
Your child might also find it useful to draw maps or diagrams. What are all the different areas of their fantasy landscape called? How is the baddie’s base organised?
Some children might enjoy taking this idea a step further and drawing their own comics. This is great practice – it stretches your child’s creativity, gets them thinking about plot, character, and dialogue, and is a big confidence boost once they’ve finished and have an amazing story to look back on.
What your child will learn
In Year 4 (age 8–9), your child will be aiming to build upon the goals and expectations they were first set in Year 3. They will be expected to:
- Discussing writing similar to that which they are planning to write in order to understand and learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar
- Discussing and recording their ideas.
- Composing and rehearsing sentences orally (including dialogue), progressively building a varied and rich vocabulary and an increasing range of sentence structures
- Organising paragraphs around a theme
- In narratives, creating settings, characters and plot
- In non-narrative material, using simple organisational devices (for example, headings and sub-headings).
- Assessing the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing and suggesting improvements
- Proposing changes to grammar and vocabulary to improve consistency, including the accurate use of pronouns in sentences .
- Proof-read for spelling and punctuation errors.
Handwriting, spelling, grammar, and punctuation are all important aspects of writing too. You can find out more about them on our dedicated pages:
Handwriting in Year 4 (age 8-9)
Find out more about handwriting in Year 4 at Primary School.
Find out more
Spelling in Year 4 (age 8-9)
Find out more about spelling in Year 4 at Primary School.
Grammar and punctuation in Year 4 (age 8-9)
Find out more about grammar and punctuation in Year 4 at Primary School.
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7 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer
7 FUN WRITING ACTIVITIES FOR THE RELUCTANT WRITER
No doubt about it – writing isn’t easy. It is no wonder that many of our students could be described as ‘reluctant writers’ at best. It has been estimated by the National Association of Educational Progress that only about 27% of 8th and 12th Grade students can write proficiently.
As educators, we know that regular practice would go a long way to helping our students correct this underachievement, and sometimes, writing prompts just aren’t enough to light the fire.
But how do we get students, who have long since been turned off writing, to put pen to paper and log in the requisite time to develop their writing chops?
The answer is to make writing fun! In this article, we will look at some creative writing activities where we can inject a little enjoyment into the writing game.
1. Poetry Scavenger Hunt
The Purpose: This activity encourages students to see the poetry in the everyday language around them while helpfully reinforcing their understanding of some of the conventions of the genre.
The Process: Encourage students to ‘scavenge’ their school, home, and outside the community for snippets of language they can compile into a piece of poetry or a poetic collage. They may copy down or photograph words, phrases, and sentences from signs, magazines, leaflets or even snippets of conversations they overhear while out and about.
Examples of language they collect may range from the Keep Out sign on private property to the destination on the front of a local bus.
Once students have gathered their language together, they can work to build a poem out of the scraps, usually choosing a central theme to give the piece cohesion. They can even include corresponding artwork to enhance the visual appeal of their work, too, if they wish.
The Prize: If poetry serves one purpose, it is to encourage us to look at the world anew with the fresh eyes of a young child. This activity challenges our students to read new meanings into familiar things and to put their own spin on the language they encounter in the world around them, all while reinforcing the student’s grasp on poetic conventions.
2. Story Chains
The Purpose: Writing is often thought of as a solitary pursuit, and for this reason alone, it can be seen as a particularly unattractive activity by many of our more gregarious students. This fun activity exercises students’ understanding of writing structures and engages them in some fun, creative collaboration.
The Process: Each student starts with a blank piece of paper and pen. The teacher writes a story prompt on the whiteboard. You’ll find some excellent narrative writing prompts here . For example, each student spends two minutes using the writing prompt to kick start their writing.
When they have completed this part of the task, they will then pass their piece of paper to the student next to them. Students then continue the story from where the previous student left off for a given number of words, paragraphs, or length of time.
If organized correctly, you can ensure students receive their own initial story back at the end for the writing of the story’s conclusion .
The Prize: This fun writing activity can be used effectively to reinforce student understanding of narrative writing structures, but it can also be fun to try with other writing genres too.
Working collaboratively can really motivate students to engage with the task as no one wants to be the ‘weak link’ in the finished piece. But, more than that, this activity encourages students to see writing as a communicative and creative task where there needn’t be a ‘right’ answer. This encourages students to be more willing to take on creative risks in their work.
COMPLETE DIGITAL AND PRINT FUN WRITING UNIT
25 FUN and ENGAGING writing tasks your students can complete INDEPENDENTLY with NO PREP REQUIRED that they will absolutely love.
Fully EDITABLE and works as with all DIGITAL PLATFORMS such as Google Classroom, or you can PRINT them for traditional writing tasks.
3. Acrostic Associations
The Purpose: This is another great way to get students to try writing poetry – a genre that many students find the most daunting.
The Process: Acrostics are simple poems whereby each letter of a word or phrase begins a new line in the poem. Younger students can start off with something very simple, like their own name or their favorite pet and write this vertically down the page.
Older students can take a word or phrase related to a topic they have been working on or that they have a particular interest in and write this down on the page before beginning to write.
The Prize: This activity has much in common with the old psychiatrist’s word association technique. Students should be encouraged to riff on ideas and themes generated by the focus word or phrase. They needn’t worry about rhyme and meter and such here, but the preset letter for each line will give them some structure to their meanderings and require them to impose some discipline on their wordsmithery, albeit in a fun and loose manner.
4. The What If Challenge
The Purpose: This challenge helps encourage students to see the link between posing interesting hypothetical questions and creating an entertaining piece of writing.
The Process: To begin this exercise, have the students come up with a single What If question, which they can then write down on a piece of paper. The more off-the-wall, the better!
For example, ‘What if everyone in the world knew what you were thinking?’ or ‘What if your pet dog could talk?’ Students fold up their questions and drop them into a hat. Each student picks one out of the hat before writing on that question for a suitable set amount of time.
The Prize: Students are most likely to face the terror of the dreaded Writer’s Block when they are faced with open-ended creative writing tasks.
This activity encourages the students to see the usefulness of posing hypothetical What If questions, even random off-the-wall ones, for kick-starting their writing motors.
Though students begin by answering the questions set for them by others, encourage them to see how they can set these questions for themselves the next time they suffer from a stalled writing engine.
5. The Most Disgusting Sandwich in the World
The Purpose: Up until now, we have looked at activities encouraging our students to have fun with genres such as fiction and poetry. These genres being imaginative in nature, more easily lend themselves to being enjoyable than some of the nonfiction genres.
But what about descriptive writing activities? In this activity, we endeavor to bring that same level of enjoyment to instruction writing while also cleverly reinforcing the criteria of this genre.
The Process: Undoubtedly, when teaching instruction writing, you will at some point cover the specific criteria of the genre with your students.
These will include things like the use of a title, numbered or bulleted points, time connectives, imperatives, diagrams with captions etc. You will then want the students to produce their own piece of instruction writing or procedural text to display their understanding of how the genre works.
But, why not try a fun topic such as How to Make the Most Disgusting Sandwich in the World rather than more obvious (and drier!) topics such as How to Tie Your Shoelaces or How to Make a Paper Airplane when choosing a topic for your students to practice their instruction writing chops?
The Prize: As mentioned, with nonfiction genres, in particular, we tend to suggest more banal topics for our students to work on while internalizing the genre’s criteria. Enjoyment and acquiring practical writing skills need not be mutually exclusive.
Our students can just as quickly, if not more easily, absorb and internalize the necessary writing conventions while engaged in writing about whimsical and even nonsensical topics.
if your sandwich is entering the realm of horror, be sure to check our complete guide to writing a scary story here as well.
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These EDITABLE Journals are purpose-built for DIGITAL DEVICES on platforms such as Google Classroom, SeeSaw and Office 365. Alternatively, you can print them out and use them as a traditional writing activity.
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6. Diary Entry of a Future Self
The Purpose: This activity allows students to practice personal writing within the conventions of diary/journal writing. It also challenges them to consider what their world will be like in the future, perhaps stepping a foot into the realm of science fiction.
The Process: Straightforwardly, after working through some examples of diary or journal writing, and reviewing the various criteria of the genre, challenge the students to write an entry at a given milestone in the future.
This may be when they leave school, begin work, go to university, get married, have kids, retire etc. You may even wish to get the students to write an entry for a series of future milestones as part of a more extended project.
The Prize: Students will get a chance here to exercise their understanding of this type of writing , but, more than that, they will also get an opportunity to exercise their imaginative muscles too. They will get to consider what shape their future world will take in this engaging thought experiment that will afford opportunities for them to improve their writing too.
7. Comic Strip Script
The Purpose: Give your students the chance to improve their dialogue writing skills and to work on their understanding of character development in this fun activity which combines writing with the use of a series of visual elements.
The Process: There are two ways to do this activity. The first requires you to source, or create, a comic strip minus the dialogue the characters are speaking. This may be as straightforward as using whiteout to erase the words in speech bubbles and making copies for your students to complete.
Alternatively, provide the students with photographs/pictures and strips of cards for them to form their own action sequences . When students have their ‘mute’ strips, they can begin to write the dialogue/script to link the panels together.
The Prize: When it comes to writing, comic strips are probably one of the easier sells to reluctant students! This activity also allows students to write for speech. This will stand to them later when they come to produce sections of dialogue in their narrative writing or when producing play or film scripts.
They will also develop their visual literacy skills as they scan the pictures for clues of tone and context before they begin their writing.
Keep It Fun
Just as we should encourage our students to read for fun and wider educational benefits, we should also work to instil similar attitudes towards writing. To do this means we must work to avoid always framing writing in the context of a chore, that bitter pill that must be swallowed for the good of our health.
There is no getting away from the fact that writing can, at times, be laborious. It is time-consuming and, for most of us, difficult at the best of times. There is a certain, inescapable amount of work involved in becoming a competent writer.
That said, as we have seen in the activities above, with a bit of creative thought, we can inject fun into even the most practical of writing activities . All that is required is a dash of imagination and a sprinkling of effort.
MORE FUN WRITING ACTIVITIES FOR YOU
7 Fun Writing Sub Plans for Substitute Teachers
25 Fun Christmas Writing Tasks for Students
5 Fun Seasonal Writing Activities Students and Teachers Love
10 Fun Classroom Writing Games to Improve Literacy Skills
The Writing Process
7 Evergreen Writing Activities for Elementary Students
9 Fun First Day at School Writing Activities
Short Story Writing for Students and Teachers
The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh. A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here. Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.
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Primary English: Creative writing
Australia and new zealand, primary english, tes resources team.
Let young learners' imaginations run wild with help from these creative writing resources
Creative writing can be one of the most rewarding aspects of literacy, however the terror of a blank page can panic even the most willing writers in your class. So, to make sure every pupil has the confidence to put pen to paper, we've selected some lessons, activities and help sheets, all created by the Tes community.
Fourth Grade Creative Writing Worksheets CREATED BY: TeacherVision Staff LAST UPDATED: January 21, 2023 Encourage your fourth-grade students to show their creative sides, with our most popular creative writing printables. They'll be inspired by these poetry and story-writing activities and lessons.
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Creative writing activities Once students start getting in the habit of writing, these creative writing activities can pull new ideas out of their heads and encourage them to experiment with different genres. 5. Acrostics Great for: Grades 3 to 8 Acrostic poems are a great way to introduce your students to poetry!
Writing in Year 4 (age 8–9) In Year 4, your child will continue to develop across the different strands of writing: imagination and ideas, audience and purpose, handwriting or typing, spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Read on to discover the National Curriculum expectations for writing in Year 4, and to find out how you can support your ...
Here, you’ll find our amazing collection of Year 4 creative writing worksheets, activity packs, PowerPoints and other resources that have been designed and curated by real teachers. No matter whether your child is already a confident writer or if they need a little extra encouragement, you’re sure to find something in this section that will ...
In this article, we will look at some creative writing activities where we can inject a little enjoyment into the writing game. 1. Poetry Scavenger Hunt The Purpose: This activity encourages students to see the poetry in the everyday language around them while helpfully reinforcing their understanding of some of the conventions of the genre.
Primary English: Creative writing Top lesson ideas, worksheets, presentations and prompt cards to help primary pupils develop their creative writing skills Australia and New Zealand GB US Primary Primary English Tes Resources Team 18th January 2023 Let young learners' imaginations run wild with help from these creative writing resources
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