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Kids– even middle schoolers– love to write about themselves. Not convinced? Simply look at social media. Young teens spend hours “writing” about themselves through texts, Facebook, Twitter and the myriad of other technologies they interact with daily.
But, when faced with writing in the classroom, many of these same students shut down. Why? They anticipate boredom and don’t see the skills as relevant to their lives. The antidote? Creative writing. Here are some great ideas for middle school creative writing activities that are guaranteed to get them writing with a smile (or at least without as much eye-rolling).
A journal is the first tool for fostering a love for writing. Kids can use the journal to explore writing in an informal way without all the pressure of a formal writing assignment. Set aside 10 to 15 minutes for journal writing before any other activities. Routine journaling gets those words on the paper which is so important. You may choose to provide or prompt, or students can free write. Journals are a fun place for even the most insecure writers to learn to love writing–especially when no “grades” are attached to the writing.
Becoming a TV star
Another fun way to get kids writing is to have them write a new, original episode for their favorite TV show, starring themselves. Kids choose how they can fit into the existing cast of characters and write about how they would all interact. Once finished, the script can be read aloud or the students can work in groups to act out the episode. This activity is so fun, it won’t even register as writing!
Discovering my Name
Middle school kids are at an age where they are discovering who they are. A great way to do that and stimulate writing skills at the same time is to have them write a story about their name. The story could be based on their family history of their name. Who in your family named you and why? What are some memories they have associated with their name? Do they share their name with a celebrity? Once the ball gets rolling with this assignment, there will be no stopping it.
Becoming a Character
Writing in context with literature is an excellent way for kids to increase reading comprehension and jog their creativity. Using a book that the student is already reading, have them become a character from that book. There are several options for this activity:
- First, with a partner, write an interview with the character. One person is the interviewer and the other person uses what they know about the book character to answer the questions.
- Second, write a journal entry as the character.
- Third, write a letter to someone as the character.
All of these activities are opportunities for kids to use their creative writing skills in an entertaining way. It may be hard to compete with Facebook, but we can at least get close!
For great journaling ideas and prompts, click here.