Writing is an important skill for any student to develop and will help them in their education, career, and adult life. With the help of writing exercises, you can better work to improve the writing skills of your students and maybe even have fun doing it!
Get major writing impact in a short amount of time with these exercises.
- Add details: Encourage students to think about the details, asking them to write quick pieces that describe things like how your feet feel and how perfume smells.
- Avoidance: Create a list of words that students can’t use when writing.
- Restrictive: Place restrictions like words, word counts, and letters that can’t be used.
- Start a list: Select random, obscure words and make a list from them.
- Write a letter: Ask students to write a letter-to anyone, like an actor, family member, or public figure.
- Color exercise: Choose a color and write about everything that reminds you of that color.
- 15 Minute Writing: Set a timer and have each student come up with a story in 15 minutes.
- Start with a single word: Choose a word at random from a dictionary to start writing.
- Expand stories: Take a short clip from a newspaper and expand its story.
Encourage group writing work using these exercises.
- Pair students with adult buddies: Arrange for students to have an adult mentor who can teach them about writing.
- Assign stories to each other: Gather in a circle and have each person write an assignment for the person next to them.
- Casually talk about students’ lives: Get writing started with casual talk about what students are currently doing.
- Free write: Use free writing to produce writing ideas for at least twenty minutes straight without worrying about coherence or grammar.
- Use revision: Take time to look over old work regularly and revise effectively.
- Write about shared events: Have a discussion on a current event in students’ lives, and then write about it.
- Writers’ tennis: Pair up and ask students to take turns writing paragraphs of a story.
- Create a character: Work together as a class to come up with about 15 character attributes.
- Trade places: Write as if you’re trading places with someone else.
- Mythological mad libs: Turn old mythology into a mad lib game.
- Write a sentence at a time: Gather in a circle and have each student write a sentence, then pass it along.
- Require written reports: When doing critique work, have students create written responses.
- Write from different perspectives: Create characters and a plot as a group, then have each group member write from a different character’s point of view.
- Start a classroom newspaper: Interview school staff members for a classroom newspaper.
- Write suggestions: Pick categories, collect suggestions, and draw suggestions from each category that students will write stories from.
- Start a classroom cookbook: Ask students for their favorite recipes to create a classroom cookbook.
Use these exercises to ease students in to writing.
- Brainstorm: Ask kids to come up with ideas for writing about a certain subject.
- Have them write a self description: Ask students to write a description of themselves, like appearance, likes, and family.
- Keep a journal: Have students write a daily journal.
- Make a list: Make a big list together as a class.
These writing exercises will help develop the imagination of your students.
- Create a character: Work together as a class to make up a character.
- Isolate key ideas: Find out what story ideas are really about.
- Finish the conversations of people around you: Sit in a crowded area, write down snippets of conversation, and write your version of what comes next.
- Start with the last line: Write your last line first and write backwards.
- Change the ending: Rewrite the ending of a movie or book that you didn’t like the end of.
- Cut-ups: With the cutup technique, students will cut a long paragraph into short phrases, then rearrange the strips.
- Write stories about art: Visit a gallery and make up short stories about art pieces.
Help your students focus on the details of writing with these exercises.
- Revise old works to add detail: Have students go back to revise one of their old works by adding detail and color.
- Pick 10 people: Pick ten people you know and write a description of each of them.
- Describe an inanimate object: Take time to write about an inanimate object as descriptively as possible.
- Take a walk: Take a walk and ask students to write a description of the walk.
- What you see in music: Write about what you see as you listen to a piece of music.
- Replace nondescript words: Take a look at old writing and add details instead of nondescript words.
- Describe your bedroom: Write a short description of your bedroom.
- Rewrite from a different perspective: Change a piece of writing from first person to third person.
- Describe a scene: Take time to describe scenes.
- Match up nouns: Make a list of tangible nouns, then a list of intangible ones to match them up with and make phrases with.
- Write a review: Get students to write a review about their favorite product.
- Write about one word: Choose a word and write about it for 10 minutes nonstop.
- Pick a person to describe: Have everyone write detailed descriptions of a person.
- Describe a magazine picture: Pick out a picture in a magazine to write about for 10 minutes.
These prompts will help get writing off to a good start.
- A sentence for each word: Write down words on a page, which students will use to write a sentence.
- Write a 500-word biography: Limit students to 500 words to write a biography for their life.
- I remember…: Start with "I remember" and write for 15 minutes.
- Start stories from one word: Write about the first word that comes to your mind.
- First line/last line: Ask students to write the first line of a story, and the last line at the bottom, then fill in the rest.
- Mix and match stories: Provide a variety of selections for three criteria to start stories.
- Write your own obituary: List your life’s accomplishments as if you died today, or in the future.
- Turn around: Turn around and write for several minutes about the first thing you see.
- Weave a Word Challenge: Choose ten words and ask students to use them all in a piece of fiction or non-fiction.
- What would happen if?: Pose the question of what would happen if (x) happened, and ask students to write about it.
- Identify your earliest childhood memory: Write down everything you can remember from your earliest childhood memory.
- What if you had 365 days to live?: Describe what you’d do if you only had a year left to live.
- Picture prompts: Ask students to write a story about a picture that you’ve printed out.
- 10 things about…: Assign students this prompt that asks them to write 10 things about a given topic.
- Invent your own country: Have students describe an invented country in detail.
- Write about a song: Play a song for students to listen to, and have them write about the song’s meaning.
- Write an argument with another person: Remember an argument you had with another person from their point of view.
- A question for each answer: Give students a sheet of answers that they’ll need to write questions for.
- Draw and write a picture: Ask young writers to draw a simple image and write about it.
- Another time: Choose a date in the future and have students write about that time.
- Finish the sentence prompts: Start a sentence, then ask students to finish it with a story.
- Discuss a place: Write a short description of a place using all senses except for sight.
These exercises will help students develop a sense of writing style.
- Rewrite a passage: Take a passage from a book and rewrite it in a different style.
- Imitation: Get students to imitate the style of a piece of poetry they’d like.
- Record a talk radio show: Record a radio show and write down the dialog as if you were writing a scene.
- Write what you like about an author’s work: Explore style elements that you appreciate in an author’s work.
- Argue for a grade: Ask students to write an argument in support of a final grade.
With these exercises, you can teach creative writing in a fun, effective way.
- Open up a book: Use the last sentence of a book passage as the beginning of a piece.
- Write for a play: Have students write for a purpose-performing arts.
- Write as an animal: Select an animal and write about the world from its perspective.
- Keep a diary for a fictional character: Write a diary for a fictional character.
- Sing: Pick lines from a song and use them as the title of your next piece.
- Character interviews: Practice character interviews to better develop characters and the story.
- Do character studies: Write descriptions of the action in a novel from the perspective of characters.
- Encourage descriptive writing: Focus on the sounds of words to work on descriptive writing.
Share the art of business writing with students using these exercises.
- Write a business letter: Write a business letter and carefully evaluate it.
- Judge business writing: Gather examples of business writing and examine them for what could be done to improve them.
- Unjumble English: Find winners of the Bad Writing Contest and ask students to rewrite them so they make sense.
- Keep a journal: Write a daily journal and evaluate whether their writing has improved.
Interviews & Other People
Involve people outside of the classroom in these writing exercises.
- Contact 5 people: Ask students to get in contact with 5 people who haven’t heard from them and write about their responses.
- Find pen pals: Locate pen pals for your students around the world to share letters with.
- Write a thank you note: Your students can write short thank you notes for birthdays, holidays, and more.
- Write about servicemen/women: Help students find a serviceman or servicewoman to contact, thank, and interview.
- Write a fictional interview: Pretend you’ve interviewed an acquaintance of famous figure.
- Adopt a nursing home: Have students write notes for nursing home residents.
- Why you wrote the song: Select a song, imagine you are the musician, and pretend you’re being interviewed about the song.
- Design a card: As a class, design and write a card for a class friend who is absent or in the hospital.
- Imperfections: Choose an imperfection you’ve noticed in a close friend or family member and write about why it’s endearing.
- Have a career day: Set up a career day where your class writes letters to ask personalities to come and share their careers.
- Write letters for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day: Ask the class to write special letters to their parents for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.