Teaching: Creative Writing Warm-ups

Hello again – hope the term is treating you well.

If, like mine, your school has dedicated writing lessons, you may want to use these creative writing warm-up activities to avoid agonising ‘pulling teeth’ sessions where kids procrastinate before churning out unfocussed drivel.

Have a look through the list below and experiment with a few in the coming weeks. You’ll be surprised at how much good writing will come from your kids once they’re warmed up. Also, the activities make creative writing far less daunting – a blank page and no remit is terrifying for the best of us…

Enjoy (and thank me later)

Unseen Flirtations

Creative Writing Warm-up Activities

  • Write about yourself doing something scary in the future, in the 3rd person.
  • Choose two or three random words which the students have to link in a piece of free writing. This is more or less a creative game that ALWAYS yields hilarious (and inventive) results.
  • Write continuously for two minutes. It doesn’t matter if it’s gibberish or even ‘I don’t know what to write’. It’s just a warm-up.
  • Write as many words as you can beginning with a particular letter of the alphabet. Really good to instil confidence in unconfident writers.
  • Describe the teacher in as much detail as you can. For this, encourage a forensic level of detail. Let them inspect you – from a reasonable distance of course.
  • Write about someone else as though you were them, in the 1st person. This can be a good ‘well-being’/ PSHE activity too, as it encourages empathy.
  • Describe someone you know well as 1)a type of water (puddle, swimming pool, ocean, etc) 2)a type of glass (wine glass, mirror, window, glasses, etc) 3)a colour 4) an instrument, etc. After a writing a short piece on each, one can be chosen and expanded on. As above, can be great to analyse relationships.
  • Complete free writing (write ANYTHING). Very refreshing.
  • Write about an object that is very near. Write about the same object from very far away.
  • Describe the history of a piece of damage/ scuff mark.
  • Eavesdrop conversations and turn soundbites into a piece of writing. Difficult to do in a classroom, but can be set as a lunchtime activity.
  • Write statements that you know to be untrue. Share, swap and write a scenario in which your statement could be true.
  • Describe three journeys, short, medium, long in distance.
  • Pick two random words each and share. Use a selection of these words in a short piece of free writing.
  • Play a few rounds of Countdown online and use the words created in a piece of free writing.
  • List basic words and get students to think of synonyms (eg: hot – scorching, burning, warm, sweltering). Use these words in a short piece of free writing.
  • Play a piece of music and write something to accompany it.
  • Provide a ‘bland’ sentence and get students to embellish, develop it. Eg: ‘The man fell’ or ‘The car stopped’.
  • ‘Still life’ description. Object displayed, as in an art class, and students to write a descriptive piece on it. Compare, share, critique results.

Creative writing checklist (for students to self/ peer-assess):

  • A sentence beginning with a verb.
  • A sentence beginning with an adverb.
  • A sentence beginning with an adjective.
  • A sentence beginning with a connective.
  • Three noun phrases.
  • An example of personification.
  • A dramatic short sentence.
  • An extended description of one thing.
  • A listing sentence.
  • Unusual or extensive vocabulary.
  • A complex sentence with the subordinate clause at the beginning. Eg: After eating his dinner, Billy read his comics.
  • A complex sentence with the main clause interrupted by the subordinate clause. Eg: Billy, after eating his dinner, read his comics.

Right then. More later. Please use/ share and do let me know how you get on, either by commenting on this blog or seeking me out on Twitter (@unseenflirt).


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