It’s World Creative Writing month, so why not try some creative writing activities with your students? Creative writing allows students to use their imaginations and creativity, and practise essential writing skills. It’s a way to keep students engaged, encourage collaborative learning and allow test-taking students to use their written English skills in a different way from a typical test task type.
Here are four creative writing exercises to use in class with your teen and adult students.
Creative writing activity ideas
1. Group stories
This creative writing activity encourages learners to work together and use their imaginations to come up with unique and creative stories.
- Put students into small groups of 4 or 5 and have them arrange themselves into a circle. They each need a pen and a piece of paper.
- Have students write a famous person at the top of their page, then fold it over so the name can’t be seen. They then pass the piece of paper to the person to their right.
- Next, they write the name of someone in the class. They fold the paper and pass to the right.
- Repeat the steps, using different topics for each stage of the game. For example, a place, an action, what they said, what they responded, and what they did after that.
- Once students have passed the piece of paper for the final time, they open it up to reveal the outline of a story.
- Have students come up with creative stories for the information on their piece of paper, by working together or individually for homework. They then share their stories with the class.
2. Tweet me
This engaging activity shows that creative writing for English language learners doesn’t have to be long! Creative written language can be short, yet a lot can be expressed.
- Show students an image of a tweet you’ve found online before the class. It should be something that provokes discussion, asks for an opinion or allows for the conversation to be developed.
- Put students into small groups of 3 or 4. Tell them they are going to write a creative response to the tweet. They can be as funny or as unique as they like.
- Once they have finished, they pass their tweet on to the next group, who continue the Twitter discussion.
- Repeat the steps, until you have a ‘thread’ of tweets. Then, choose groups to read out the threads and choose the best or funniest one.
This activity also works well in online classes, where students work in breakout rooms to come up with their tweets and share them as a whole class.
3. Finish my story
This creative writing lesson idea encourages students to share ideas and learn from each other. It works well in both face-to-face and online classrooms.
- Write a short introduction to a story before the lesson. It can be in any genre, e.g. scary, mysterious or funny.
- Read the paragraph aloud to the class, and elicit ideas about where they think the story might be going. You can skip this step if you feel your students are already good at using their creativity and imagination.
- Put students into pairs and give them a copy of the opening paragraph. Have them write the middle and the ending of the story.
- You could help them develop the story by telling them certain things they need to include, e.g. specific objects, people or places.
- Have a storytelling lesson where students share their stories. You could also stick them on the wall and have a ‘story exhibition’ where students walk around and choose their favourite stories.
4. A letter for the future
This creative writing activity allows students to put different grammatical structures into practice. It also allows the opportunity for reflection on their learning and themselves.
There are a variety of ways you could do this activity with your students.
- Have them work individually to write a letter to their future selves about what they’d like to achieve or do professionally and personally.
- Students could write letters to their future selves about something that happened in the past or present time that they don’t want to forget.
- Have students work individually or in pairs to write a letter to people in the future, about what life is like in the present. Encourage them to talk about fashion, pop culture, and what’s happening in their lives and in the world.
- If you’re going to teach your students for an extended period of time, e.g. a year, you could do a ‘time capsule’ where they put pictures or notes about the present into a box, which you’ll open with them a year later. This provides a good opportunity for students to set goals and reflect on their achievements next year.
Do you do creative writing activities with your English language learners?
What activities have worked well?
Share your ideas below!
If you want to read more about creative writing activities in the classroom, you can read this blog.