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10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer

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  10 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 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.

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1. Poetry Scavenger Hunt

scavenger-hunt-writing-tasks.jpg

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 put their own spin on the language they encounter in the world around them, reinforcing the student’s grasp on poetic conventions.

2. Story Chains  

The Purpose: Writing is often thought of as a solitary pursuit. 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 fun, creative collaboration.

The Process: Each student starts with a blank 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.

Working collaboratively motivates 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 creative risks in their work.

3. Acrostic Associations

Writing Activities, fun writing | acrostic poems for teachers and students | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

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 have a particular interest in and write it 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

Writing Activities, fun writing | fun writing tasks 1 | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

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.

Example What If Questions

  • “What if you woke up one day and found out that you had the power to time travel?”
  • “What if you were the last person on Earth? How would you spend your time?”
  • “What if you were granted three wishes, but each one came with a terrible consequence?”
  • “What if you discovered a secret portal to another world? Where would you go, and what would you do?”
  • “What if you woke up one day with the ability to communicate with animals? How would your life change?”

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, please 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

Writing Activities, fun writing | disgusting sandwich writing task | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

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?

Example of a Most Disgusting Sandwich Text

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.

Daily Quick Writes For All Text Types

Daily Quick Write

Our FUN DAILY QUICK WRITE TASKS will teach your students the fundamentals of CREATIVE WRITING across all text types. Packed with 52 ENGAGING ACTIVITIES

6. Diary Entry of a Future Self

Writing Activities, fun writing | future self writing task | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

The Purpose: This activity allows students to practice personal writing within diary/journal writing conventions. 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.

Example of Message to Future Me Text

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 allow them to improve their writing too.

7. Comic Strip Script

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The Purpose: Give your students the chance to improve their dialogue writing skills and work on their understanding of character development in this fun activity which combines writing with 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 without 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 to form their 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.

8. Character Interviews

Writing Activities, fun writing | 610f9b34b762f2001e00b814 | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

The Purpose: Character interviews as writing activities are excellent for students because they encourage creative thinking, character development, and empathy. The purpose of this activity is to help students delve deeper into the minds of the characters they are creating in their stories or reading about in literature. By conducting interviews with these characters, students gain a better understanding of their personalities, motivations, and perspectives.

The Process of character interviews involves students imagining themselves as interviewers and their characters as interviewees. They can either write out the questions and answers in a script-like format or write a narrative where the character responds to the questions in their own voice.

The Prize: Through character interviews, students learn several valuable skills:

  • Character Development: By exploring various aspects of their characters’ lives, backgrounds, and experiences, students can develop more well-rounded and authentic characters in their stories. This helps make their fictional creations more relatable and engaging to readers.
  • Empathy and Perspective: Conducting interviews requires students to put themselves in their characters’ shoes, considering their thoughts, emotions, and struggles. This cultivates empathy and a deeper understanding of human behavior, which can be applied to real-life situations as well.
  • Voice and Dialogue: In crafting the character’s responses, students practice writing authentic dialogue and giving their characters unique voices. This skill is valuable for creating dynamic and believable interactions between characters in their stories.
  • Creative Expression: Character interviews provide a creative outlet for students to let their imaginations run wild. They can explore scenarios that may not appear in the main story and discover new aspects of their characters they might not have considered before.
  • Critical Thinking: Formulating questions for the interview requires students to think critically about their characters’ personalities and backgrounds. This exercise enhances their analytical skills and storytelling abilities.

Overall, character interviews are a dynamic and enjoyable way for students to delve deeper into the worlds they create or the literature they read. It nurtures creativity, empathy, and writing skills, empowering students to become more proficient and imaginative writers.

9. The Travel Journal

Writing Activities, fun writing | fun writing activities | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

The Purpose: Travel journal writing tasks are excellent for students as they offer a unique and immersive way to foster creativity, cultural awareness, and descriptive writing skills. The purpose of this activity is to allow students to embark on a fictional or real travel adventure, exploring new places, cultures, and experiences through the eyes of a traveller.

The process of a travel journal writing task involves students assuming the role of a traveler and writing about their journey in a journal format. They can describe the sights, sounds, tastes, and emotions they encounter during their travels. This activity encourages students to use vivid language, sensory details, and expressive writing to bring their travel experiences to life.

The Prize: Through travel journal writing tasks, students will learn several valuable skills:

  • Descriptive Writing: By describing their surroundings and experiences in detail, students enhance their descriptive writing skills, creating engaging and vivid narratives.
  • Cultural Awareness: Travel journals encourage students to explore different cultures, customs, and traditions. This helps broaden their understanding and appreciation of diversity.
  • Empathy and Perspective: Through writing from the perspective of a traveler, students develop empathy and gain insight into the lives of people from different backgrounds.
  • Research Skills: For fictional travel journals, students might research specific locations or historical periods to make their narratives more authentic and accurate.
  • Reflection and Self-Expression: Travel journals offer a space for students to reflect on their own emotions, thoughts, and personal growth as they encounter new experiences.
  • Creativity and Imagination: For fictional travel adventures, students get to unleash their creativity and imagination, envisioning fantastical places and scenarios.
  • Language and Vocabulary: Travel journal writing tasks allow students to expand their vocabulary and experiment with expressive language.

Overall, travel journal writing tasks inspire students to become more observant, empathetic, and skilled writers. They transport them to new worlds and foster a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them. Whether writing about real or imaginary journeys, students develop a deeper connection to the places they encounter, making this activity both educational and enjoyable.

10. The Fairy Tale Remix

Writing Activities, fun writing | Glass Slipper | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

The Purpose: A fairy tale remix writing activity is a fantastic creative exercise for students as it allows them to put a unique spin on classic fairy tales, fostering imagination, critical thinking, and storytelling skills. This activity encourages students to think outside the box, reinterpret well-known tales, and explore their creative potential by transforming traditional narratives into something entirely new and exciting.

The process of a fairy tale remix writing activity involves students selecting a familiar fairy tale and altering key elements such as characters, settings, plot twists, or outcomes. They can modernize the story, change the genre, or even mix different fairy tales together to create a wholly original piece.

The Prize: Through this activity, students will learn several valuable skills:

  • Creative Thinking: Students exercise their creativity by brainstorming unique concepts and ideas to remix the fairy tales, encouraging them to think imaginatively.
  • Critical Analysis: Analyzing the original fairy tale to identify essential elements to keep and areas to remix helps students develop critical thinking skills and understand storytelling structures.
  • Writing Techniques: Crafting a remix requires students to use descriptive language, engaging dialogue, and well-developed characters, helping them hone their writing techniques.
  • Perspective and Empathy: Remixing fairy tales allows students to explore different character perspectives, promoting empathy and understanding of diverse points of view.
  • Genre Exploration: Remixing fairy tales can introduce students to various genres like science fiction, fantasy, or mystery, expanding their literary horizons.
  • Originality: Creating their own narrative twists and unexpected plots encourages students to take ownership of their writing and develop a unique voice.
  • Storytelling: Students learn the art of compelling storytelling as they weave together familiar elements with innovative ideas, captivating their readers.

By remixing fairy tales, students embark on a creative journey that empowers them to reimagine well-loved stories while honing their writing skills and imaginative prowess. It’s an engaging and enjoyable way for students to connect with literature, explore new possibilities, and showcase their storytelling talents.

Top 5 Tips for Teaching Engaging Creative Writing Lessons

Teaching creative writing can be a thrilling discovery journey for students and educators alike. To foster a love for storytelling and unleash the imaginative prowess of your students, here are five engaging tips for your creative writing lessons:

1. Embrace Playfulness : Encourage a spirit of playfulness and experimentation in your classroom. Encourage students to explore unconventional ideas, characters, and settings. Use fun writing prompts like “What if animals could talk?” or “Imagine a world where gravity is reversed.”

2. Incorporate Visual Stimuli : Visual aids can be powerful creative catalysts. Show intriguing images or short videos to spark students’ imaginations. Ask them to describe what they see, then guide them to weave stories around these visuals. This approach can lead to unexpected and captivating narratives.

3. Encourage Peer Collaboration : Foster community and collaboration among your students. Organize group writing activities where students can brainstorm, share ideas, and build upon each other’s stories. This not only enhances creativity but also promotes teamwork and communication skills.

4. Explore Different Genres : Introduce students to various writing genres—fantasy and science fiction to mystery and historical fiction. Let them experiment with different styles and find what resonates most with their interests. Exposing students to diverse genres can broaden their horizons and inspire fresh ideas.

5. Celebrate Individuality : Encourage students to infuse unique experiences and perspectives into their writing. Provide opportunities for them to write about topics that are meaningful to them. Celebrate their voices and help them discover the power of their narratives.

Remember, the key to teaching creative writing is to create a supportive and inspiring environment where students feel empowered to take risks and explore the limitless possibilities of storytelling. By embracing these tips, you can transform your classroom into a vibrant imagination and literary exploration hub. Happy writing!

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Creative Tech Teacher

10-Minute Writing Games to Play with Your Students

Jen Schneider Blog , Writing writing 1

Want some quick games to share with your students during transitions or as attention-getters. Play these fun games independently or with groups! Here are a few of my favorites 10-minute writing games to play with your students. This post uses some affiliate links. Purchases from these links result in a small commission to help sustain this site.

sticky notes for writing games for students

Word Association Game

Word association games are perfect for 10-minute writing games! Start by giving students a random word and ask them to write down the first word that comes to their mind when they hear it. Then, have them pass their paper to the person next to them and repeat the process with the new word. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how far around the circle they can go, building off of each other’s words. This game is a blast for generating vocabulary words or words to use in future writing prompts or stories.

Writing Roulette

My students beg to play writing roulette! I give each student five different colored sticky notes (or use this FREE Jamboard template ).

Writing Roulette game for writing prompts using sticky notes

Each sticky note has a different topic. For example, here are the literary elements I use for my students. You can change these up depending on your grade level.

  • Yellow: character
  • Blue: quotation
  • Pink: setting
  • Green: conflict
  • Orange: theme

Have your students each generate one of the literary elements on each colored sticky note. Make sure they write only one idea per note. Mix up the sticky notes, then give the students five sticky notes (one on each topic) to generate their own story. We LOVE sharing these with the class. As a bonus, expand on the quick stories and create a published, polished piece.

Literary Jenga

Literally playing a game when writing is so much fun! Write creative writing prompts on the sides of Jenga blocks (such as “Write a story in which the main character is an animal” or “Describe a place you’ve never been”) and stack them up. Students take turns pulling a block and then writing for 2-3 minutes based on the prompt they see. The game continues until the tower falls, and then students can read aloud what they’ve written.

Finish the Story Writing Game

This game is also called story or paper pass. I remember playing this writing game in school. I loved it then as much as I love it as a teacher! First, give students the first line of a story and have them write for 2-3 minutes. Then, have them pass their paper to the person next to them and that person continues the story for 2-3 minutes. Continue this process until everyone has contributed, and see how the story turned out in the end.

Random Word Stories

Use this random word generator to pick a fun, unique word. Have your students write a story using that word as a focus. You can have each student select their own word or use a class word.

Descriptive Writing Game

Many ELA curriculums have descriptive writing as an assessment. Why not teach descriptive writing skills with a 10-minute writing game! First, ask students to close their eyes and imagine a scene you describe to them, such as a beach or a forest. Give them 10 minutes to write a detailed description of what they see in their mind’s eye. Encourage them to use sensory language and descriptive adjectives to really paint a picture with their words. Share the stories, and as a bonus, have students illustrate their writing. You can also adapt this and share a picture as a writing prompt starter. Show students a picture or image and give them 10 minutes to write a story or poem based on what they see. Encourage them to be creative and use their imagination to build a story around the picture.

Character Creation Game

Students love creating their own characters! Have students brainstorm a character by answering questions about them, such as their name, age, occupation, likes and dislikes, fears, etc. Then, set a timer for 10 minutes and have them write a short story or scene featuring that character. You can add to the fun by having two characters team up together to create a new story or have a conversation with one another based on their characters’ backgrounds.

Six-Word Stories

Challenge students to write a complete story in just six words, such as “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how many six-word stories they can create.

Mad Libs Game

The old Mad Libs games are so much fun! I remember having paper Mad Libs books that my siblings and I giggled over with delight. Online Mad Libs games let students work independently to create funny stories. I love using Mad Libs online !

Fan Fiction

My students absolutely love writing fan fiction. This gives them a chance to explore stories on a deeper level, and change the outcomes to what they really wanted to happen in the book! Have students choose a favorite book or movie character and write a short story featuring that character in a new adventure or scenario. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how well they can capture the voice and personality of the character in their writing.

Story Cubes

Use storytelling dice or story cubes with pictures on each side, and have students roll the dice to create a story. Set a timer for 10 minutes and challenge students to create a story that includes all of the pictures they rolled. Share the stories in small groups or with the full class.

Writing Prompts

Using writing prompts in the classroom is an effective way to encourage a love for writing in students. Here are five ways to inspire and engage middle school students:

Daily writing prompts

Start the day with a short 10-minute writing exercise that covers various genres and themes. Use this list of 25 daily prompts to get started.

Structured writing prompts

Use prompts as a starting point for more structured writing assignments such as essays or research papers. This encourages students to think critically and provides specific guidelines for the writing task. Use this list of 10 structured prompts to get started.

Group brainstorming

Encourage students to work together in small groups to generate their own writing prompts. This fosters collaboration and creativity.

Writing prompt dares

Students can create their own writing prompt dares or use these 15 writing prompt dare examples to get started. These are great for group brainstorming prompts.

Try out this 52 writing prompt workbook . You even get an editable Canva link to add your own unique prompts!

Creative Writing Prompts 52 on TpT

Get ready for 10-minute writing games to use in your classroom! These games can be scaffolded and differentiated for all grade levels. What writing games do you use in your classroom!

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Game-Based Learning

The eWriting for Kids! program is in the vanguard of a new era deploying game-based lessons to help teachers deliver highly engaging interactive writing lessons within the actual time available, and provide online lessons anytime, anywhere.

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Grades 2 - 3 lessons, support this non-profit organization by funding additional interactive learning games., what people are saying. . ..

Read real reviews and comments about eWriting For Kids!

This is an AMAZING Game! I love it (Win Them Over!) and so do the children I have tried it with. Stephen R. - United Kingdom
A fun 3D game (Win Them Over!) used to teach writing. The game is engaging and innovative. Strengths: Innovative, teaches writing (which is rare to find) Free, Instructor Resource/Support provided. Self-paced, can be used in formal and informal settings. I think it is great that while everyone is developing STEM teaching games, this game realizes the importance of writing. I have seen a decline in writing skills among students and I feel this game is a great way to tackle issues such as poor communication skills in our youth. Judge feedback, SIIA CODiE Awards 2017
The value is nearly immeasurable. I had a more than a few kids come up and say either ``Hey, that was (writing) actually fun!`` or ``I like writing when I can write about what I want.`` The best feature was allowing the children to discover their strengths and weaknesses regarding Descriptive Writing. It improves grammar, reading skills, and of course allows the kids to further expand on their imagination and creativity. * Comments after 16 Girls and Boys Tested ``Sharing Personal Experiences``. Sean W. - Youth Development Professional Boys and Girls Club
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5 Enjoyable English Writing Games That Turn Practise Into Playtime

english students playing writing games

Step into a world of fun while improving your English writing skills. Fun writing games let you practise and learn at your own pace, making studying an enjoyable experience. In this article, discover 5 English writing games that are suitable for all learning levels, so you can improve your English writing skills while having a blast !

How games can help you learn English

Games for learning English are a fun and effective way to improve your language skills. English creative writing games can help learners like you explore different writing styles and experiment with language, ultimately helping to build your confidence.

Games are a great way to help you remember what you learn in English. They are enjoyable, and when you have fun, it’s easier to remember things for a long time.

Game #1: Story Starters

Story Starters is an English creative writing game that works best with a group of players. This game involves taking turns to write a story with each player adding a sentence within a set time limit.

How to play

To play Story Starters, gather a group of friends, some paper, pens, and a timer.

You will start with a pre-written sentence (if you Google “Story Starter sentences” you can find plenty). You must add a sentence to this story within 2 minutes set on the timer. Once you have written your sentence, pass the paper to the next person and let them repeat the process by adding a new sentence of their own.

This is a great game for letting your imagination run wild and getting your creative juices flowing !

Game #2: Scategories

Scategories is a quick and creative game where you think of words that start with a given letter and that fit into specific categories to earn points for answers that are unique.

A group of players is given a list of prompts such as “things babies need”. Then, a letter from the alphabet is picked at random (using a lettered die or an online letter generator). Once the letter has been chosen, the timer is set, and each player must quickly come up with a word starting with the chosen letter to answer each of the prompts.

To make things a bit trickier, you only get a point for your answer if nobody else has put the same answer. Playing this game challenges you to think fast to find the most creative and unique answers.

Game #3: Picture Prompts

Picture Prompts is a fun writing game that involves using pictures to create imaginative stories or descriptions. This game can be played by yourself or with a group of people.

Each player is given a picture or an image. Next, a timer is set for a specific amount of time – 5 to 10 minutes usually works well. The players must then write a creative story or description based on their picture. The goal is to be as imaginative as possible. Once the time is up, players take turns reading their descriptions or stories to the rest of the group.

Game #4: Consequences

In the game of Consequences, players take turns writing words or phrases on a piece of paper, then hiding what they have written to collaboratively create a funny and often silly story.

Each player takes a turn writing a word or phrase on a piece of paper, then folding the paper after each turn to hide what they’ve written. Then, it’s passed on to the next player, who adds their part before folding the paper and passing it on again. This continues until all players have contributed. Finally, unfold the paper and read out the funny story you created together.

Game #5: Rewrite The Ending

In this English writing game, players are encouraged to choose a favourite film or book and then rewrite the ending.

Rewrite The Ending is a game that does what it says on the tin . Quite simply, you get to rewrite the ending of your favourite book or film. You can change the story, add new characters, or create exciting twists. It’s a creative way to practise writing and using your imagination while having fun with stories that are already familiar to you.

Ready to take your English writing skills to the next level?

While games offer a fun and interactive way to practise and improve your writing skills, combining them with structured learning is even more powerful.

If you’re serious about mastering English, check out our English Online courses. Choose between group classes or private, one-to-one tutoring and experience expert-led learning and personalised guidance to help you perfect your English writing skills in no time at all.

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22 Writing Activities To Help Kids Hone Their Writing Skills

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Written by Maria Kampen

Prodigy English is here! Get your students playing — and learning — today.

  • Prodigy English

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!

Three students complete fun writing activities at school.

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.

Young student sits at a table with pencil and paper during 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! 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!

Students works with a textbook, pencil and paper in the classroom.

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. 

Young girls works with her father on writing activities on their couch.

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.

A person sits at a desk with a notebook, paper, pen and coffee cup.

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. 

19. Journaling

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. 

Teacher and child sit in the classroom and work on writing activities together.

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:

  • 37 Quick & Easy Brain Breaks for Kids
  • 30 Virtual School Activities Students & Educators Love  
  • 27 Best Educational Games for Kids to Play Sorted by Subject  
  • 15 Geometry Activities to Engage Students Across Grade Levels
  • 36 Fun Word Games for Kids To Help with Vocabulary & Literacy
  • 15 Fun, Free & Effective Multiplication Games For Your Classroom
  • 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.

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Teaching Narrative Writing: 14 Activities to Help Your Students Learn to Love It

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Written by Alison Smith

When it comes down to it, narrative writing is basically the art of telling a story. And if there’s one thing that little kids are fond of doing, it’s telling stories … especially the “big fish” kind! But if you’re teaching narrative writing to your class, you know there’s a lot more to it than just being able to spin a wild tale.

Helping your students to develop their narrative writing strategies will take them from story spinners with a lot to say out loud to storytellers who can craft a beautifully written story on the page.

But how do you actually do that? Let’s dig in!

How Do You Teach Narrative Writing?

Narrative writing is one of the four major types of writing we expect from our students — along with argumentative (or opinion) writing, expository, and informative writing.

Perhaps the most important aspect of teaching narrative writing is nurturing a love of storytelling, along with helping your students to understand narrative writing structure and organization, and how to develop the story by adding details.

Naturally, teaching narrative writing differs by grade level with the kindergarten through second-grade learning largely through read-alouds and exposure to narrative writing examples, while older elementary schoolers will spend more time putting pencil to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) writing their stories. We’ll break down a few ways to teach each age and stage!

But before we do that, a quick reminder:

What Are the Five Rules of Narrative Writing?

Eventually, your students will get to a stage where the rules of writing will be a little less important, but we have to start somewhere! So call these the rules of narrative writing or the five elements of narrative writing. Either way — every story should have a:

  • Character(s)

Activities for Teaching Narrative Writing

Sowing the seeds for successful narrative story writing starts as early as pre-k or kindergarten.

Read Mentor Texts

Sure, your students may not be ready to write out their full thoughts, but the read-alouds you do in the classroom are an important part of introducing narrative story writing examples they can build off in their future education.

Here are some of our favorite children’s books to introduce the concept:

  • Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon
  • Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
  • My Dog Mouse by Eva Lindstrom

Use Story Prompt Handwriting Worksheets

Help your kindergarten and first-grade students develop their handwriting skills by recounting a story based on prompts they can trace and then add to! Bonus: This resource is free!

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Teach the 5Ws (and 1H)

Help your students build out the structure of their storytelling with the basics — the 5ws (and that pesky 1 H ):

  • What happened?
  • Who is it about?
  • Where did it take place?
  • When did it take place?
  • Why did it happen?
  • How did it happen?

Scaffold with Storybooks

After teaching your students the vocabulary of narrative writing, use storybooks as narrative writing examples they can use to identify the different elements of the story. To make it easier, provide a template like this cute story spine porcupine so they can identify the process that the author used to build out a story, sequencing the events one by one.

porcupine narrative writing template printable with student writing

You can also use the template as a scaffold when students write their own story — with 8 steps accompanied by easy-to-follow sentence starters, your students will have planned their writing in full before they know it!

Try Guided Writing Activities

Guided writing is a brilliant narrative writing activity. Working in a small group with teacher guidance helps students to build confidence and to be active participants in discussions about writing.

Guided writing is very similar to guided reading in the classroom. Students work in small differentiated groups and work towards a similar writing goal. Guided writing sessions are usually 20-25 minutes long and are generally broken down into the following framework:

  • Direct instruction, where the teacher reminds the students of their writing goals and provides them with some form of writing stimulus (approximately 5 minutes).
  • Shared experience, where the students and teacher have a rich conversation about the writing topic and/or writing stimulus, key vocabulary, and the possible text types that could be written (approximately 5 minutes).
  • Independent writing and sharing, where students write as much as they can in the allocated time. The teacher provides timely feedback and scaffolds key writing skills. Students then share what they have written with the small group or the rest of the class (approximately 10 minutes).

Direct Instruction

Research shows that students need direct instruction that includes the I do (teacher modeling), we do ( guided practice), and you do (independent practice). Teaching narrative writing is no exception to this rule, and it’s critical to include a balance of modeled, guided, and independent writing.

A big part of direct teaching instruction is making the lesson objectives clear. Narrative writing is a complex task and so it is important to focus on one thing at a time and to make the success criteria clear. For example, if your lesson focus is narrative structure, don’t stress about the spelling.

Set Up a Writing Station

Take the fear out of writing, and set up a free writing station. Provide students with paper, blank comic strips, blank postcards, greeting cards, pictures cut out of magazines, pens, pencils, sticky notes, or whatever else inspires your students to put pencil to paper.

To make the writing station effective as a skill-building activity:

  • Acknowledge and praise all writing as a masterpiece
  • Avoid correcting the spelling, punctuation, and grammar used in free writing tasks
  • Make time for your students to use the writing station
  • Avoid making it a fast finisher activity, as the students who need it most are likely to miss out

Use a Writer’s Notebook

Encourage your students to keep a Writer’s Notebook to jot down new ideas for narrative writing.

How to Set Up a Writer’s Notebook Daily Routine

Each student needs their own notebook. Allow students to create a cover for their notebook, or you can provide them with this  Writer’s Notebook Cover Page  which they can decorate. Introduce the concept to your class, ensuring they understand the notebook will not be graded, but will instead be used daily as a place for them to play with ideas and words. This  Writer’s Notebook Poem   by Ralph Fletcher is great to stick in the front of their notebooks as a reminder of the book’s purpose. Provide students with  Writer’s Notebook Writing Prompt Cards (these are optional) Dedicate at least 5 minutes every day to your students’ Writer’s Notebooks, providing specific activities or allowing free writing time.

Create a Writer’s Prop Table

Picture a small table in your classroom, scattered with a collection of objects such as a key, a padlock, a candle, a map, or a train ticket, and your imagination will be popping with ideas for a narrative. Before you know it, your students will be looking for objects to add to the collection and planting seeds for their next narrative.

Slow Down and Break It Up!

For incredible writing outcomes, break down the main parts of a narrative text type. Spend a significant amount of time on each structural element. Think of it as laying one brick at a time. Ask your students to write a complete narrative only when they have secure knowledge, understanding, and experience of writing an orientation, complication, resolution, and ending.

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A great activity to teach the structure of narrative writing is to deconstruct a text by cutting it up and sticking it back together! Given that it’s not ideal to cut up books, we have created a sorting task to reinforce the structural features of a narrative text. Your students can play surgeon, dissecting the text and putting it all back together again!

Sizzling Starts

Do your students fall into the trap of writing orientations that begin with One day…, On Monday, Once upon a time…?

If your mission is to change this, believe me when I say that students need to see it to believe it.

Read amazing story openings, the more the better. I love the sizzling start to How to Bee by Bren MacDibble…

Today! It’s here! Bright and real and waiting. The knowing of it bursts into my head so big and sudden, like a crack of morning sun bursting through the gap at the top of the door…

Teaching narrative teaching ideas

Once you’ve given your students the opportunity to read, watch and experience the impact of amazing sizzling starts, show your students a  Narrative Plot Structure Diagram to demonstrate how a great narrative often starts with action!

Sentence Starter Roll Call

Select a Narrative Sentence Starter Card , and display or write it on the whiteboard. Ask your students to think of an imaginative way to finish the sentence, (the sillier the better).

Provide your students with a little thinking time. Ask each student to share their response when you call their name. This is sure to get a few giggles!

TEACHER: Jonah, I found a strange package at the door… JONAH: …it turned into a robot who helped me to fly to the moon

Round Robin Storytelling

Have you ever tried a round-robin story with your class? It’s great fun and a perfect warm-up at the beginning of a writing lesson and is a brilliant way to develop speaking and listening skills.

  • Arrange your students in a circle. The teacher joins the circle.
  • Start the round-robin by reading aloud one of the Narrative Sentence Starter Cards.
  • Moving in a clockwise direction, ask the next person to continue the story.
  • The teacher finishes off the story when it returns to the starting point.

Be mindful of less confident learners and the support that they need during this activity.

Shared Writing

Shared writing is a crucial part of teaching narrative writing. This effective teaching strategy (whereby the teacher models writing while being given ideas and direction from the students), is ideal to use with the whole class or in a small group.

Try our  Picture Writing Prompts Widget as a stimulus for shared writing. Each image comes with writing prompts ideas,  Five Ws and One H questions and suggested activities.

Tips for leading shared writing sessions

  • Focus your shared writing session on one or two elements of narrative writing. For example, focus on text structure, ideas, characters. and setting or vocabulary.
  • Keep it short. This will depend on the year level of your class. 10 -15 minutes is an awesome effort. As a general rule, as soon as you notice that your students are disengaged, call it a day, until tomorrow!
  • Model how to write a narrative using a plan. In fact, model how to write a plan! Show your students the art of referring to the plan on a regular basis.
  • Use Think, Pair, Share and Elbow Partners , to encourage ideas and discussion.
  • Inspire your students and stimulate ideas through the use of visual prompts, props, and feely bags.
  • Make it fun and do it often.

For more useful ideas on how to use writing prompts in the classroom, don’t miss our blog   5 Ways to Spark Imagination in the Classroom Using Writing Prompts .

What are your favorite ways to teach narrative writing? Try our extensive collection of narrative writing resources !

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8 activities for making writing fun in the upper elementary classroom

8 Ideas and Activities for Making Writing Fun in Upper Elementary

8 activities / ideas for making writing fun in upper elementary (3rd, 4th, 5th grade)

Making Writing Fun Activities Written by Guest Blogger Jessica Thompson, 4th Grade Teacher

Writing. The minute the word is mentioned there is an audible, in-sync sigh from the students. Of course, there are a few super excited students who cannot get their ideas down quick enough. For every handful of excited writers, there is a large portion of the class that “has nothing to write about.”

The struggle is real, y’all. For both teachers and students.

The big question for teachers is not only how to make writing fun and engaging, but how do we get students excited about writing?

Fun Writing Activities To Try

Here are 8 Activities to try with third, fourth, and fifth grade students. These activities are to get our young writers excited about writing which will make formal writing tasks less daunting.

1. Think-Write-Pass:

This is always a favorite that gets lots of laughs. 

Put students in groups of four.  Give each student a piece of paper and have them write their name on the top. 

Have students write for 2-3 minutes.  You can give them a topic, or simply have them write about whatever they want.   

When the time is up, students pass their paper to another student in their group.   Each student in the group will have to read, continue the writing, and pass the paper again 2-3 minutes later.

When each student gets their own paper back they get a few minutes to complete the story. If time allows: let the groups choose their favorite one to share. 

2.  Sticky Note Stories:

Students want to share stories with us. There are so many stories - from their weekend, the ball game, recess, at their Aunt Barb’s birthday party 5 years ago - they have so much that they want to tell us!

It’s usually the same students ones who are constantly trying to tell us stories that, come writing time, same they have nothing to write about.   Sticky Note Stories are an easy solution.

A sticky post it note is not nearly as intimidating as a piece of notebook paper.

When a student has a story to share, tell them how much you want to hear it - but they have to write it down on the sticky note.

A holiday weekend? A school event?  A birthday party?  A football game?  Write it on a sticky note.

Introduce probability to your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students with these low prep activities.

The end of year is a great time to introduce and review probability - the hands on activities are fun and engaging for students. This Low Prep Probability Resource makes it easy on you. It includes:

  • no prep worksheets
  • an introduction to probability vocabulary - certain, likely, equally likely, unlikely, and impossible
  • hands on probability games and graphing with spinners, dice, and a coin toss
  • 32 task cards

3.  Found Poetry

Make copies of text from a book you are reading and have them find words or groups of words throughout the text to create a poem.

They can circle these words and draw pictures or designs around everything else to make the poem pop.  See some examples of found poetry here.   

Or, check out these other ways to help students enjoy writing poetry. 

4.  Go Outside!

A change of scenery makes everything more fun.  Take the notebooks and pencils to the outdoors for 10-15 minutes. Have students sit and use their 5 senses to write observations.

You can stop there, or take this activity a little further and have students write some poetry!

Give them free rein, or add some guidelines for structure.

This free cinquain writing template is perfect for an activity like this!

Or, have students write a short haiku!  This no prep resource gives students a chance to read and write haiku, as well as answer comprehension questions!

You might also like some of these other outdoor lesson ideas.

5.  This or That

Sometimes all students need is a little bit of choice and control.  Give them that control with This or That.  

This is easy - simply provide them with 2 writing prompts and let them choose!

It can be time consuming to create choice boards with 9 options, but with This or That you only need to create two.  You can use these example discussion questions as writing prompts if you need help coming up with options!   

6.  Silly Pictures

This is an easy way to make writing fun!

There are millions of funny pictures without captions on the internet. The key is to find appropriate ones and save them for later use.

Put the picture up on a projector, mirror it to a screen, or print it out. Have students write about what is happening in that picture.

This is great to practice skills such as predicting, inferring, cause and effect, and problem and solution.

Or, inspire even more creativity by having students create their own silly drawings to write about using these Squiggle Drawing Story Starters! 

Image

7.  Persuasive Letters or Opinion Writing

Two birds, one writing piece.  The key to making this writing activity fun is choosing a topic that is sure to of interest of students.  

What student wouldn't love to try to convince their teacher that recess should be longer?  Or that they should be able to skip homework one night?  Or that they should have a pizza party?

The list of ideas is endless.  They could write to their parents on why they should have a later bedtime or get a dog. They could write to the principal on why donuts should be served with breakfast. They could write to an author on why they should write another book in their favorite series.  You could also let students choose the topic. 

3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students have fun arguing their point and they will learn quickly the importance of supporting their claim. 

Use these ideas and paragraph writing frames to help students with their opinion writing. 

8.  Quick Writes

Quick Writes are a timed writing. The idea is not to scare the students, but for them to get their ideas on paper as quickly as possibly and to be writing or thinking the entire time.

Give students a prompt, and then tell them to write down whatever comes to mind over the next 5 - 10 minutes.  Make sure students aren't worried about spelling or a grade - the goal is to just spend some time writing.

If you are looking for a more polished piece, you can have students do this daily for 3-5 days.  Then, have them choose their favorite quick write to revise, edit, and turn in.

9.  BONUS - Secret Descriptive Writing Activity

Make writing a descriptive paper fun!  Have your students secretly draw a picture and use describe with vivid descriptive language.  Then, students read their descriptions aloud while their classmates try and figure out which drawing is theirs!

This works best if students are all drawing something similar.  This is an easy activity to create on your own, but you could also try out one of these secret descriptive writing activities for a no prep way to walk your students through the entire writing process:

  • Alien Descriptive Writing Activity
  • Snowman Descriptive Writing Activity
  • Monster Descriptive Writing Activity

An Extra Tip for Making Writing Fun

A personalized writing notebook can be an easy way to motivate students to write. This is something that is theirs and they have more ownership over.

Composition books can easily be decorated with pictures, stickers, photographs, etc. and covered with contact paper.  Letting them take the time to decorate a notebook with things that are important to them can give them more ownership over their writing - as well as help stir up ideas for writing!

Bonus: Writing will not get lost easily! Make one yourself as a teacher and use it! Let the students see you write. Read your writing to them and make time for students to share too. 

Sometimes it's not about making writing fun - it's about your mindset as the teacher.  Check out these 7 tips for rethinking your writing instruction. 

Or, you might find these other writing tips and ideas helpful.   

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Teaching Argumentation and Persuasion: 6 Engaging Activities Beyond the Argumentative Essay

how to teach argumentation and persuasion

There are many engaging activities to use when teaching argumentation and persuasion beyond the classic essay. While the argumentative essay can certainly be effective, try something new with one of these 6 engaging activities. Your students will be excited and eager to apply argumentation and persuasion in the classroom and beyond.

When it comes to teaching argumentation and persuasion, I’m like a kid on Christmas morning. I’m eager, excited, and full of energy. Yet, over the years, I’ve found that my students don’t always meet me with the same enthusiasm. Instead, they roll their figurative eyes at the thought of writing yet another essay.

I had to do something to save my favorite holiday– I mean unit– of the year.

I’ve spent more hours than I’d like to admit, wracking my brain for activities that would make teaching argumentation and persuasion, dare I say, fun! But the time and effort paid off. When I started implementing activities beyond the argumentative essays, my students were engaged and active participants. It was a win-win.

Lucky for you, I’ve done the work (and put in the time) so you don’t have to. Instead, simply keep reading to uncover some of my secret weapons for teaching argumentation and persuasion. The following activities can be used instead of or in conjunction with the classic argumentative essay. It’s totally up to you and what will best suit your students’ needs. Regardless, you don’t have to spend the hours brainstorming from square one. You can thank me later. In the meantime, read on, my teacher friends!

Laying the Foundation for Teaching Argumentation and Persuasion

Before jumping into one of the activities below, you need to set your students up for success. Therefore, be sure to teach the essential concepts for effective argumentation and persuasion. Afterall, both argumentation and persuasion are cornerstone communication skills in the 21st century.

So, not only do you want to do these topics justice for the sake of your classroom. But, they’re also some of the most transferable skills your students will use in the real world.

Note: if you’re just looking for the activities, no problem! Keep scrolling– I promise they’re there.

Understanding the Difference Between Argumentation and Persuasion

While these two topics are often taught together, it’s important for students to know that they aren’t exactly synonyms. Instead, you could argue (see what I did there) these two concepts act as compliments to one another. In many cases, persuasion can strengthen an argument, and vice versa. But again, they’re not exactly the same when it comes to speaking or writing. (However, I find it useful to remind students of one of the most important aspects they do share: there has to be at least two sides.) You can clarify the major differences between the two by looking at the main goal for each type of writing or speech:

  • The goal of argumentative writing is to get the audience to acknowledge your stance on a topic. Moreover, a strong argument shows the reader your viewpoint is valid and deserves consideration. Therefore, argumentative writing is heavily rooted in logic and facts and addressed counterclaims.
  • Goal of persuasive writing is to get the audience to agree with you and your stance on a particular topic or viewpoint. While logic most certainly strengthens persuasion, there is also a heavy emphasis on emotional elements as well.

The truth is, the two are often used hand in hand in the real world with everything from marketing and public service campaigns to politics and law. And, in most cases, persuasive writing is more personal and passionate for students. Therefore, I strive to teach the two together to increase student engagement and real word application. Talk about a dream duo for students and teachers alike!

Rhetoric and Rhetorical Appeals

I absolutely love comparing persuasion and argumentation to art. Why? Because it’s a true craft. Do I explain it that way to my students? Abso-freakin-lutely. Why? Because they need to understand that presenting a sound and persuasive argument is a skill. That these writing and speaking skills take time and effort to develop.

Enter: Rhetoric. I always begin this unit by defining argumentation, persuasion, and rhetoric, explaining how the latter literally means the art of persuasion. Then, I introduce the three main rhetorical appeals (shout out Aristotle). Rather than simply giving the students the definitions of ethos, pathos, and logos, I begin by asking questions to help reveal the definitions. Here are some of the questions I use– and that you can most certainly steal for your own classroom:

  • To introduce ethos , I ask, “Who would you trust to give advice about toothpaste? Why?”
  • To introduce logos , I might ask, “If you wanted to learn how to build a successful business, what is the benefit of a successful entrepreneur giving you step-by-step guidance?”
  • To introduce pathos , I ask, “Think about a time where you got emotional during a commercial, song, or movie. What was it that made you so emotional?”

The Power of Words

Once students have an understanding of these essential definitions, it’s time to move on to a more abstract, yet highly significant, concept: the power of words. This is where I introduce the importance (and power) of diction. This is the perfect time to explain how words impact reader/audience experience.

One of the simplest examples to make a case for this claim is asking students to analyze the difference between the terms house and home. I’ve never had a class not come to the conclusion that a house is a structure and place of living, where a home is a place filled with love.

To round out the discussion on why and how words have an impact on the audience, introduce connotation and denotation. Spending a handful of minutes explaining the emotional meaning behind words (connotation) can be a game changer. It reminds students that there is, in fact, emotional power in the words we use. To drive the point home, you can ask them to compare times when they were upset vs. angry vs. furious.

A Fun and Engaging Warm-Up Activity for Teaching Argumentation and Persuasion

What tween or teen doesn’t like arguing with adults? (Trust me. They’re far and few between.) In other words, students will eat this activity up. Rather than focusing on deep and heavy topics that require a great deal of research and unpacking, this activity is a lighthearted warm-up. The goal is to get students to start thinking about what goes into a sound and persuasive argument.

  • Arguing with “Adults”

Working independently or in small groups, students will pick a “silly” or lighthearted topic. Encourage them to think of things they’d like to convince their parents, teachers, or other adults. Since these topics are light hearted and often come from a place of passion, students will have no problem coming up with reasons why their curfew should be extended by an hour or two or why homework should be abolished. They’re excited to argue why their parents should buy them a car or why a puppy is a must-have addition to their family.

Next, allow students five minutes to choose a topic and brainstorm their argument. Then, give them 10-20 minutes to write their argument. (The timing of this activity is flexible, so you can adjust it based on the structure of your class.) After they write out their argument, it’s time to share– and let the discussion unfold. As each student (or group) shares their argument, have fun playing devil’s advocate. Challenge them to push their arguments and reasoning further.

While you might want to guide the students through the discussion, let them really come to terms with the idea of what makes a sound and persuasive argument. And if you really want to play up the fun? Challenge the other students to play that role! Have your students in the audience play the role of the adults to whom the argument is targeted. This will challenge students to find holes in the arguments, brainstorming ways to make an argument even stronger. Additionally, it challenges them to think about the importance of audience perspective , looking beyond their own interests, blind spots, and biases. The end result? Develop a list of student generated “check-points” for an argument that is both powerful and persuasive.

Engaging Activities for Teaching Argumentation and Persuasion

Watching TV. Driving down the highway. Scrolling through social media. The art of argumentation and persuasion are everywhere . So, why not bring some of those real-life examples to your classroom? Because the truth is, persuasion and argumentation comes in all shapes and sizes. Therefore, it might be time to look beyond the traditional argumentative essay. And with these activities, you can.

An oldie but a goodie. In fact, discussing teaching argumentation and persuasion wouldn’t feel right without some sort of debate. So, to begin this student-centered activity, select (or have students choose) a topic to argue. This can be a murder or crime– and you can even have fun with historical topics like the Salem witch trials if it’s around Halloween or you’re reading The Crucible . Alternatively, you can root your debate in an ethical dilemma or an essential question. Generally speaking, you can look toward real life events or literature for inspiration. You can even head to your state bar association website for mock trial resources and cases– like these from the state of NH . As long as there is evidence to be found and a case to make, you should be good to go.

Before really diving into the mock trial, spend time reviewing the basics of the justice system and trials. Then, once you choose your topic, divide students into teams of prosecution and defense. Once the teams are determined, students can dive into researching and crafting their arguments. However, be sure to emphasize the need for evidence based claims while also discussing the power of persuasion in the courtroom. (There are plenty of video clips you can show and analyze to see these two elements in action.) Each group, both the prosecution and defense, are responsible for crafting an opening statement, a claim, a rebuttal, and a closing statement. For smaller classes, you can serve as the judge and jury. For larger classes, you can run several trials, letting the other groups act as the jury if they’re not presenting. Either way, students will be far more eager to win the jury over with their evidence than they are to write a paper.

There’s no better way for students to show off their new persuasive skills and knowledge of ethos, logos, and pathos than to craft their own arguments. And a mock trial allows them to do so in a way other than the classic essay. But with a verdict on the line, there’s a lot at stake. Therefore, this activity amps up eager participation.

Mock Trial Teacher Tip. Mock trials make debating more exciting– especially if you really play up the trial theme. (Have an old graduation gown? Use it as the judge’s robe! A wig? Yes please! A gavel? A must.)  So, grab your gavel and give this engaging activity a try!

  • Students Do Shark Tank

This activity brings the worlds of business, marketing, and advertisements into the conversation. Talk about real world connection! Most older students will be familiar with this show. However, it’s always fun to show a clip for an episode or two just in case. Plus. Who doesn’t love watching videos in class? (Teachers and students alike.) Shark Tank is all about the pitch. So, have fun replicating this idea in your classroom! And instead of presenting to the likes of Mark Cuban, students will present to you . If you’re able, try getting a few other guest sharks on the “show”.

Before diving into the project, in addition to watching a few clips of the show, take some time to analyze the world of advertising. Encourage students to find connections between argumentative and persuasive writing and real-life commercials, social media campaigns, and print advertisements. Then, put students in small groups and together they will create their own product. Alternatively, you can have them pick an existing product they’re passionate about. Then, the fun begins.

Using their new knowledge of persuasive language techniques and argumentation, students must convince the sharks to invest in their product! For a fun twist that gets everyone involved, let the audience in on the investments. Print out a set amount of “money” for each student. After all the presentations, allow them to “invest” in their favorite products. As for the presentations themselves, I like to require a visual advertisement– like a poster– and a written component– like an elevator pitch. Students can then display their visuals as they give their speech. Later, students can view all of the visuals as they decide where to “invest” their money.

Shark Tank Teacher Tip. Looking to beef up the argumentative writing side of things? You can have students submit a short research-based argumentative paper that supports the need for their product. Regardless of the specifics, students will be eager to dive into this activity with such real world application.

  • Speech Remix

From Abraham Lincoln’s  “The Gettysburg Address” and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream,” history has its fair share of powerful speeches. And they’re great examples of argumentation and persuasion as well. So, begin this activity by analyzing a mentor text as a class. Then, turn it over to the students to showcase their knowledge on their own.

Have students choose a historical speech (you can refer to this bank of speeches here ) to analyze. They can turn in annotations or a short response analyzing the rhetoric of their chosen speech. Here’s the twist. After analyzing the speech, they then use it as a mentor text, implementing its sentence structure, tone and rhetorical techniques as they write their own speech. This is where student choice really kicks up a notch. Allow students to choose a topic, cause, or issue they feel passionate about. However, I always recommend having a list of potential topics on hand for students who need a little more guidance.

Additionally, it might be useful to encourage a backwards design approach. Have students select their topic first, and then find a speech that is a good match. For example, a social justice issue might pair well with Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. However, be sure students choosing unique and more modern topics are not dissuaded if they can’t find the perfect match. Regardless, in the end, this activity pays homage to great speeches of the past while allowing students to take ownership as they apply the argumentative and persuasive techniques to modern day.

Speech Remix Teacher Tip. Why limit yourself to the four walls of your classroom? This activity is a perfect opportunity for cross-curricular collaboration. Consider reaching out to the history teachers and focus your class study on a speech that lines up with the social studies curriculum. This will allow students to have a more in depth background knowledge, giving them more context for the speaker’s rhetorical approach. Similarly, a speech of this caliber might be less intimidating if they understand the context, allowing them to really focus on the rhetorical approach.

  • #Influencer

In the age of social media, companies make a pretty penny using influencer campaigns. And it’s really quite fitting. Afterall, argumentation and persuasion is all about influence . So, to kick off this activity, spend some time looking at social media ads and influencer accounts. Be sure to analyze everything from photos to captions to hashtags.

After looking at real word examples, it’s time for students to take on the role of an “influencer” – they can be themselves or create an influencer persona. The next step is for them to choose which product of service they are “fit” to promote and, ideally, sell. Students should pick something they have experience with or knowledge about, from video games to make-up. Then, have students write a letter to the “company” (aka you) to convince them that they are capable of being an influencer. This is where they really need to tap into ethos. They should clearly explain why they are a reputable source and should be trusted to sell “your” product. If they’ve convinced you, then they can sign a “contract” (aka the assignment requirements) that outlines the agreement.

Here’s where the fun and creativity happens. While you can determine the specific requirements, students should create a portfolio of campaign materials to promote their chosen product. This is where you can determine how in depth or brief you want the assignment to be. The portfolio can include artifacts like a series of social media posts, youtube videos or scripts, an email funnel, or even blog posts– or a portfolio combining various types of artifacts.

#Influencer Teacher Tip. If you’re looking to amp up the requirements and turn this into a unit-long assignment or a full blown summative assessment, you totally can. Consider adjusting the assignment to be a multigenre project of sorts. Present students with a list and overview of various genres they can include as part of their project. Then, let them select the ones they wish to include in their multigenre portfolio.

  • PSA – The Passion Project

The name alone screams engagement, right? Even better, this activity is engaging.  Instead of assigning a list of overused (and sometimes outdated) argumentative prompts, let students take the reins by choosing a topic that matters to them . So, after teaching your students about rhetorical appeals, the appropriate use of persuasion, and the basics of argumentative writing, let students showcase their newfound skills with the PSA Passion Project. In this project, rather than simply writing an essay for the sake of getting grades, students are diving into an issue of their choice in hopes of raising awareness.

Begin by having students select a social or environmental issue that is important to them. These can range from animal testing in the beauty industry to the impact of social media on mental health. In other words, there’s a wide variety of topics out there, so your students are bound to find something that matters to them. Then, they must plan, develop, and create a public service announcement campaign around the issue. This is where you can really drive home the idea of call to action with persuasion. The challenge with the PSA assignment is crafting an argument that is applicable and persuasive for a mass audience. Afterall, when it comes to wide-spread change, there is power in numbers. (This activity can serve as its own unit or work in conjunction with the study of classic essays like “On The Duty of Civil Disobedience” by Thoreau or “A Letter From Birmingham County Jail” by MLK Jr..

This activity has plenty of room for creativity and student choice. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up a writing component. Instead, require students to complete a minimum of two items: a written piece and a visual or media element. The writing pieces can range from a more traditional argumentative essay to back up their media component. Alternatively, they can write a speech, persuasive letter, or educational blog post. Then, for the media components, they can create a poster, a video, a social media post, or an infographic– just to name a few. Now, if you’re really looking to diversify the elements of this project, consider turning the PSA Passion Project into a full blown multigenre project!

PSA Passion Project Teacher Tip. Despite your best efforts, some students will claim they can’t find a topic they’re passionate about. (Teenagers.) That’s why I always come prepared with a list of topics students can choose from. Even students eager to choose their own topic might like to see a list for inspiration. Save yourself some time by giving them ideas from this list of engaging argumentative writing prompts!

A Final Note on the Art of Teaching Argumentation and Persuasion

Remember, I’m not saying traditional essays are bad. But I think it’s worth looking beyond the traditions and asking ourselves, how can we make this better ? Better for the students. More reflective of and applicable to the world we live in. If there’s some fun to be had along the way, so be it! (In fact, I encourage it!)

So, as you go one to try any one (or all!) of these activities in your classroom, feel free to make adjustments as needed. And If you’re still looking for a more traditional essay to be your summative assessment, that’s A-OK too! In fact, the activities above can be shortened and adjusted to serve as a mini-lesson or formative assignments before writing a more traditional argumentative essay.

The bottom line is this…

Ever since I changed my approach to teaching argumentation and persuasion, it’s become something my students and I enjoy together . Imagine that!

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awesome advice and ideas. My semester just got a lot better!!!

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Paragraph Punch: An Interactive Online Paragraph Writing Activity

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Gaming as a Tool for Narrative Writing

Teachers are leveraging the power of gaming to turn even reluctant student writers into enthusiastic storytellers.

A classroom of students writing with pen and paper, using laptops and tablets, and interacting with each other

When ninth graders arrived for their language arts class earlier this year, they were in for a surprise. With only a brief introduction, teacher Philip Bird and student teacher Evan Manconi invited the students into a futuristic, magical world called Cataclysm where they would spend the next several weeks in a role-playing game.

“Students took to it almost immediately,” Manconi says, using creativity and collaboration to develop characters, generate dialogue, and negotiate plot twists.

Six weeks later, the students had written some 729,500 words—nearly the equivalent of the first six books of the Harry Potter series. “They have written and written and written,” Bird says, “and all the chatter in the classroom has been focused on what their characters are doing. If writing is a muscle, I’ve gotten some incredibly muscular students out of this experience.”

Leveling Up Writing

Using a variety of approaches and tools, teachers are leveraging the power of gaming to turn even reluctant student writers into enthusiastic storytellers. Using the popular multiplayer game World of Warcraft, for example, writing teachers send students on quests and immerse them in the hero’s journey . Minecraft has attracted its own community of teachers who share language arts lessons. Dungeons and Dragons, the classic role-playing game, is enjoying a renaissance as a literacy tool .

Bird, who teaches at Monsignor J.J. O’Brien School in Calgary, Alberta, and Manconi used a gaming platform called StoriumEdu to develop their creative writing unit. The platform, designed with input from members of the National Writing Project, has students write in pairs or small groups. They take turns writing, taking into account their strengths and flaws as unique characters in the same story. Digital playing cards provide visuals and writing prompts, keeping the action moving through a three-act structure.

Game elements “align closely to the curriculum I need to teach students,” Bird adds, mentioning setting, complex character traits, and conflicts—“most of that we would teach inside novel study or narrative writing.” By introducing these concepts within a game instead of through more traditional lessons, he adds, “you bring in the sense of play. You begin to engage students. As soon as it’s not entirely about assessment or homework, you can get a surprising amount from students—including those you wouldn’t expect.”

Of course, assessment was still on Bird’s mind. His students were due to sit for a mandatory writing assessment at the end of ninth grade. They could choose to write an essay or a narrative. The intense practice that happens through the game “develops stronger writers,” the teacher says, regardless of genre. “We’ve really dug into description. We’ve focused on the difference between telling and showing, and we’re seeing that come through.”

Getting Unstuck

The game-based approach to writing helps some students get off to a faster start, says Sara Tavernise, middle school teacher at the Mulberry School in Los Gatos, California. “Students can get stuck at the beginning. They can get overwhelmed thinking about character and plot,” she says, especially if previous writing instruction has focused primarily on the nonfiction essay. The structure of a game—already familiar to most students—“gives them a place to hook their thinking,” she says. “They can jump right in.”

Tavernise collaborated with Andrea Katz, a student support specialist, to design a game-based approach to dystopian literature. In language arts, students were reading and analyzing the futuristic novel The Giver , using a curriculum guide from Facing History and Ourselves . Meanwhile, during writing classes, students used StoriumEdu to create their own characters and actions in a dystopian world.

“Students were hungry for the chance to create their own stories,” Tavernise says. “They wanted the opportunity to write fiction. That’s what they read.”

The role-playing structure fostered collaboration within writing teams “and encouraged students to go further,” says Katz, especially when it came to writing with a strong voice. Tavernise recalls overhearing a particularly intense student conversation about killing off a character. “They gave story justifications,” she says, “but wanted to make sure the other characters were OK with that.”

Main Goal: Improve Writing

Not surprisingly, many teachers who are comfortable with gamified writing instruction are avid gamers themselves. “I’ve been playing role-playing games my whole life,” says Tavernise. She and Katz played their own round of digital writing before introducing Storium to their students. “Once we’d been through the process, we could better support our students as writers,” adds Katz. For example, they decided to move from the gaming platform to Google Docs when it was time for editing and revision.

Bird and Manconi went even further. They created a unique story world that reflected students’ interests as readers. “We first surveyed students about their interests in fiction. It ran the gamut from dystopia to high fantasy to noir to romance novels,” says Manconi. With that input, the teaching team tapped their own creativity to build the story world of Cataclysm on top of the game mechanics of Storium. “We’re big nerds,” Manconi adds.

Once the project launched, teachers were satisfied that their effort had been well spent. “Students could run with whatever stories they wanted to tell,” Manconi says.

“What I want for my students,” adds Bird, “is for them to have the capacity to write good narrative, good description, to tackle and deliver great dialogue. I want them to be better writers.”

GAMES, BRRRAAAINS & A HEAD-BANGING LIFE

GAMES, BRRRAAAINS & A HEAD-BANGING LIFE

games to teach essay writing

10 Quick Writing Games for Students and Teachers

Academic writing expert Lauren Bradshaw recently researched quick writing games for university or college students and teachers. These games do not require plenty of energy to set up and can be applied to students of all ages. Figuring them out is as easy as ordering answers for mymathlab .

The main goal is to improve the writing skills of students and according to Bradshaw, she said: “Substitute teachers who want to establish a connection with students or bring something fresh to the table can use writing games”. With the help of a professional essay writing service like  CustomWritings .

1.   Stretching sentences game

In this game, academic writing services or tutors can give students a group of words to work with or some short sentences. These can be passed around to a group of between 6 – 8 students and the rule is each person has to add or remove a word to make the sentence make sense or more appealing.

games to teach essay writing

2.   Rebus writing game

The second quick writing game that tutors and students can play together is called the rebus writing game. It is known by many names like picture riddles or picture puzzles because of its concept of incorporating pictures and words to convey meaning. To emerge victorious in this game according to essay services, students have to take their time and look at everything carefully. Things like color, word placement, and size all play an important role in getting it right while playing this game. With rebus writing, there is no limitation on what types of sentences can be made; all that matters is that each picture is used appropriately to make a complete thought. Rebus writing offers players endless possibilities for creative wordplay and strengthens their understanding of types of sentences in the same enjoyable format.

3.   In the bag

This game is very much self-explanatory and is one of those that have been around for many years. It is played all across the world and to successfully implement it, objects are placed in a bag out of the view of the students. Once that is done, the tutors will ask their students to feel the objects in the bag with their hands and explain what it feels like. It is as simple as that plus it’s a very good way to teach students about adjectives according to professional writing services.

4.   Touch and tell

This game is similar in concept to the one above, the only difference is the object is not in a bag. To play this, college or university tutors will give their students an object that they will pass around to each other. When that is done, the students will be asked to write adjectives that perfectly describe the object being passed around.

Another very easy game to play, and the object could be anything the tutor wants as long as it is safe. The last thing any tutor wants is to bring something that causes injuries to the students. Careful consideration is needed when it comes to picking the object but for the most part, many tutors are wise and always pick objects they know are safe to be around students as no college or university wants lawsuits on their hands.

5.   Verb draw

This quick little writing game involves pictures being placed in a box by the college or university tutors. The idea of this game is for the students to pick a picture at random from the box and come up with action verbs for what they have picked. This picture could be of a particular object, a person, or even an animal. To spice things up a bit or make the game more exciting and challenging, on top of verbs, students can be asked to come up with adverbs and adjectives too.

6.   Hot seat

This game is a bit complicated to play but very fun nevertheless as long as it is explained to students properly. In the hot seat, tutors will read a phrase, which can be from a story, and ask students to listen attentively. They will stop reading the story at a certain point and then ask students to pick a character from the story that was being read to them and write about what the character was feeling, thinking, or doing. This game teaches students how to grasp information quickly which is a good quality to have when they eventually start working.

7.   Change one word – change the meaning

In this game, students will be asked to locate a word in a sentence and then alter it to see if it changes the meaning of the overall text. Once a word is changed, they will share their versions of the sentence with their tutors to see which part of the text was crucial when it comes to changing the overall meaning.

8.   Locate and classify

In the located and classifying game, tutors will read a paragraph to their students and give them red and blue cards. They can write nouns on the red cards and adjectives on the blue ones or vice versa whichever way a student prefers.  Students can also be asked to locate verbs and adverbs which they can also write down on cards of different colors like green and yellow. It is a great way to teach students about adjectives, adverbs, verbs, and nouns at the same time.

9.   Grammar toss and sentence making

To play this game, one student needs to toss a ball and then write down a sentence they want with the correct punctuation. The game will carry on until a particular group of students creates up to 20 sentences on their paper. After that, the students will run and sit down because the group that gets their work done the quickest and has twenty correct sentences written down is declared the winner.

10.  Toss and write

Before beginning this game, tutors and students need to prepare a cube. On each face of the cube, tasks need to be written which will require grammar knowledge from the students. For example, the task can be, to provide an adverb and a noun, provide two verbs, make a question, construct a sentence, provide two adjectives, and more. Students will then select a subject from the tin and throw the cube. Whichever side the cubes land on or face, they will have to do that task.

Final thoughts

There are so many quick writing games out there that can be played during the semester or term but these 10 in this article are some of the most popular. The whole idea of playing these games is not just to educate students, but to make writing fun while they still improve. During the holidays, students can get in touch with various online writing services. As long as an online essay service is reliable, they will be more than happy to play some games above with students so that they can polish up their writing skills to produce better essays. Writing is a skill that goes under the radar, but it is a very important skill that makes students attractive candidates for many employers once they graduate.

Carl Fisher

Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

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How to Teach Essay Writing

Last Updated: June 26, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 90,062 times.

Teaching students how to write an essay is a big undertaking, but this is a crucial process for any high school or college student to learn. Start by assigning essays to read and then encourage students to choose an essay topic of their own. Spend class time helping students understand what makes a good essay. Then, use your assignments to guide students through writing their essays.

Choosing Genres and Topics

Step 1 Choose an essay genre to assign to your students.

  • Narrative, which is a non-fiction account of a personal experience. This is a good option if you want your students to share a story about something they did, such as a challenge they overcame or a favorite vacation they took. [2] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
  • Expository, which is when you investigate an idea, discuss it at length, and make an argument about it. This might be a good option if you want students to explore a specific concept or a controversial subject. [3] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
  • Descriptive , which is when you describe a person, place, object, emotion, experience, or situation. This can be a good way to allow your students to express themselves creatively through writing. [4] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
  • Argumentative or persuasive essays require students to take a stance on a topic and make an argument to support that stance. This is different from an expository essay in that students won't be discussing a concept at length and then taking a position. The goal of an argumentative essay is to take a position right away and defend it with evidence. [5] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source

Step 2 Provide models of the type of essay you want your students to write.

  • Make sure to select essays that are well-structured and interesting so that your students can model their own essays after these examples. Include essays written by former students, if you can, as well as professionally written essays.

Tip : Readers come in many forms. You can find readers that focus on a specific topic, such as food or pop culture. You can also find reader/handbook combos that will provide general information on writing along with the model essays.

Step 3 Divide students into small groups to discuss model essays.

  • For example, for each of the essays you assign your students, you could ask them to identify the author's main point or focus, the structure of the essay, the author's use of sources, and the effect of the introduction and conclusion.
  • Ask the students to create a reverse outline of the essay to help them understand how to construct a well-written essay. They'll identify the thesis, the main points of the body paragraphs, the supporting evidence, and the concluding statement. Then, they'll present this information in an outline. [8] X Research source

Step 4 Encourage students to choose a topic that matters to them.

  • For example, if you have assigned your students a narrative essay, then encourage them to choose a story that they love to tell or a story they have always wanted to tell but never have.
  • If your students are writing argumentative essays, encourage them to select a topic that they feel strongly about or that they'd like to learn more about so that they can voice their opinion.

Explaining the Parts of an Essay

Step 1 Provide examples of...

  • For example, if you read an essay that begins with an interesting anecdote, highlight that in your class discussion of the essay. Ask students how they could integrate something like that into their own essays and have them write an anecdotal intro in class.
  • Or, if you read an essay that starts with a shocking fact or statistic that grabs readers' attention, point this out to your students. Ask them to identify the most shocking fact or statistic related to their essay topic.

Step 2 Explain how to...

  • For example, you could provide a few model thesis statements that students can use as templates and then ask them to write a thesis for their topic as an in-class activity or have them post it on an online discussion board.

Tip : Even though the thesis statement is only 1 sentence, this can be the most challenging part of writing an essay for some students. Plan to spend a full class session on writing thesis statements and review the information multiple times as well.

Step 3 Show students how to introduce and support their claims.

  • For example, you could spend a class session going over topic sentences, and then look at how the authors of model essays have used topic sentences to introduce their claims. Then, identify where the author provides support for a claim and how they expand on the source.

Step 4 Give students examples...

  • For example, you might direct students to a conclusion in a narrative essay that reflects on the significance of an author's experience. Ask students to write a paragraph where they reflect on the experience they are writing about and turn it in as homework or share it on class discussion board.
  • For an expository or argumentative essay, you might show students conclusions that restate the most important aspect of a topic or that offer solutions for the future. Have students write their own conclusions that restate the most important parts of their subject or that outline some possible solutions to the problem.

Guiding Students Through the Writing Process

Step 1 Explain the writing process so students will know to start early.

  • Try giving students a sample timeline for how to work on their essays. For example, they might start brainstorming a topic, gathering sources (if required), and taking notes 4 weeks before the paper is due.
  • Then, students might begin drafting 2 weeks before the paper is due with a goal of having a full draft 1 week before the essay's due date.
  • Students could then plan to start revising their drafts 5 days before the essay is due. This will provide students with ample time to read through their papers a few times and make changes as needed.

Step 2 Discuss the importance of brainstorming to generate ideas.

  • Freewriting, which is when you write freely about anything that comes to mind for a set amount of time, such as 10, 15, or 20 minutes.
  • Clustering, which is when you write your topic or topic idea on a piece of paper and then use lines to connect that idea to others.
  • Listing, which is when you make a list of any and all ideas related to a topic and ten read through it to find helpful information for your paper.
  • Questioning, such as by answering the who, what, when, where, why, and how of their topic.
  • Defining terms, such as identifying all of the key terms related to their topic and writing out definitions for each one.

Step 3 Instruct students on different ways to organize their thoughts.

  • For example, if your students are writing narrative essays, then it might make the most sense for them to describe the events of a story chronologically.
  • If students are writing expository or argumentative essays, then they might need to start by answering the most important questions about their topic and providing background information.
  • For a descriptive essay, students might use spatial reasoning to describe something from top to bottom, or organize the descriptive paragraphs into categories for each of the 5 senses, such as sight, sound, smell, taste, and feel.

Step 4 Use in-class writing exercises to help students develop ideas.

  • For example, if you have just gone over different types of brainstorming strategies, you might ask students to choose 1 that they like and spend 10 minutes developing ideas for their essay.

Step 5 Create a discussion board and require students to post regularly.

  • Try having students post a weekly response to a writing prompt or question that you assign.
  • You may also want to create a separate discussion board where students can post ideas about their essay and get feedback from you and their classmates.

Step 6 Give students homework to help them develop their essays.

  • You could also assign specific parts of the writing process as homework, such as requiring students to hand in a first draft as a homework assignment.

Step 7 Schedule in-class revision sessions.

  • For example, you might suggest reading the paper backward 1 sentence at a time or reading the paper out loud as a way to identify issues with organization and to weed out minor errors. [21] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
  • Try peer-review workshops that ask students to review each others' work. Students can work in pairs or groups during the workshop. Provide them with a worksheet, graphic organizer, or copy of the assignment rubric to guide their peer-review.

Tip : Emphasize the importance of giving yourself at least a few hours away from the essay before you revise it. If possible, it is even better to wait a few days. After this time passes, it is often easier to spot errors and work out better ways of describing things.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Students often need to write essays as part of college applications, for assignments in other courses, and when applying for scholarships. Remind your students of all the ways that improving their essay writing skills can benefit them. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

games to teach essay writing

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Write an Essay

  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/index.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/narrative_essays.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/expository_essays.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/descriptive_essays.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html
  • ↑ https://wac.colostate.edu/jbw/v1n2/petrie.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.uww.edu/learn/restiptool/improve-student-writing
  • ↑ https://twp.duke.edu/sites/twp.duke.edu/files/file-attachments/reverse-outline.original.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.niu.edu/citl/resources/guides/instructional-guide/brainstorming.shtml
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/faculty-resources/tips-on-teaching-writing/situating-student-writers/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/faculty-resources/tips-on-teaching-writing/in-class-writing-exercises/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/revising-drafts/

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The Best Writing Apps for at Home and in the Classroom

Writer’s block, you’ve met your match!

games to teach essay writing

Some kids love to pour out their thoughts, feelings, and souls on paper. For others, it’s a challenge from the first time they pick up a pencil. Fortunately, these writing apps for kids can help—from the first shaky crayon-written “A” to polished college entrance essays and creative writing.

Some writing apps help kids form their letters or work to perfect their handwriting. Then there are writing apps for kids and teens who need help organizing their thoughts. Other apps give a little push to get creative juices flowing. No matter what your kids are working on, these are the writing apps students will want in their digital toolbox.

  • Best Apps for Practicing Writing Skills
  • Best Apps for Writing Inspiration

Writing Skills Apps

These are the writing apps for kids that help them practice handwriting, grammar, punctuation, and composition.

Writing Apps for Kids

Why We Love It: iTrace gives young learners the practice they need writing letters and numbers. Customization options include letter style and the ability to specify right or left-handed, while fun animations and prizes keep kids motivated.

Cost: $3.99

Available On: Apple App Store: iTrace

LetterSchool

games to teach essay writing

Why We Love It: LetterSchool teaches printing and cursive with beautiful graphics and animations. Kids will be so captivated, they might forget they’re learning.

Cost: School licenses are $4.99 per student per year. For individual use, prices vary and start at $4.99 per month.

Available On: Apple App Store: Letter School , Google Play Store: Letter School

[contextly_auto_sidebar]

iWrite Words

Writing Apps for Kids

Why We Love It: This writing app helps kids practice counting as they learn. Little ones drag a crab across the screen, following the numbered path to write letters. Once the word is complete, they’re rewarded with a cute drawing.

Cost: $2.99

Available On: Apple App Store: iWrite Words

Grammaropolis

Writing Apps for Kids

Why We Love It: Grammaropolis teaches the parts of speech in a fun and engaging way. Animated shorts and music videos capture kids’ attention, and quizzes help track their progress. Some call this Schoolhouse Rock for the 21st century.

Cost: $5.99

Available On: Apple App Store: Grammaropolis

Grammar Pop

games to teach essay writing

Cost: $1.99. Volume pricing is available for schools.

Available On: Apple App Store: Grammar Pop

Grammar Smash

games to teach essay writing

Why We Love It:  This no-frills app is excellent for older learners, especially ESL students. Review grammar guides and lessons, then play games to practice your skills

Cost: FREE. Unlock more features and remove ads for $2.99.

Available On: Google Play Store: Grammar Smash

games to teach essay writing

Why We Love It: Everything you love about Mad Libs, in an app! Prompts ask you to fill in parts of speech to create a funny new story each time. If you’re stuck, you can ask for a definition or examples. This is a classic way to work on parts of speech and vocabulary.

Cost: The FREE edition comes with 21 stories. Additional story packs are available for $1.99 each.

Available On: Apple App Store: Mad Libs , Google Play Store: Mad Libs

Dictionary.com

Writing Apps for Kids

Why We Love It: This app is everything you love about Dictionary.com, but it’s also available offline. That’s great for keeping students focused while they’re working; they can look words up without the temptation of checking social media or other distractions. You can switch between dictionary and thesaurus mode, too, making this app a real must-have.

Cost: FREE (with ads), upgrade to no ads for $1.99

Available On: Apple App Store: Dictionary.com , Google Play Store: Dictionary.com

The Grammarly Keyboard

games to teach essay writing

Why We Love It: Grammarly is a beloved program that helps people of any age produce stronger, cleaner writing. The mobile apps work for anything you type on your phone, including social media and messaging. Premium features include analysis of tone and word choice, and a plagiarism detector.

Cost: Basic grammar and spelling checks are free. Premium features start at $29/month.

Available On: Apple App Store: Grammarly , Google Play Store: Grammarly

Essay Launcher

games to teach essay writing

Why We Love It: No flashy colors or animations, just a simple and efficient way to help writers organize their thoughts. The app asks questions like “What is your first reason that supports that statement?”, helping you build an essay from the ground up. This app is ideal for older kids who need organizational help to stay on track when they write.

Available On: Apple App Store: Essay Launcher

Writing Apps for Kids

Why We Love It: Mind mapping is an excellent method for brainstorming and organizing your thoughts before you begin writing. This app helps you through the process, creating maps that ultimately make your writing clearer and stronger.

Cost: SimpleMind Lite is FREE. SimpleMind Pro offers expanded features for $7.99.

Available On: Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Get links for all versions here.

Writing Inspiration Apps

These writing apps for kids solve the problem of “But I don’t know what to write about!” They provide story starters, writing prompts, and more to break writer’s block wide open.

Story Wheel

Writing Apps for Kids

Why We Love It: This app sparks creativity in pre-writers and helps build their storytelling skills. Spin the wheel and record your voice telling a story about the picture. Spin the wheel again for more prompts. Several kids can play at once, building a story to playback together.

Cost:  $2.99

Available On: Apple App Store: Story Wheel

games to teach essay writing

Why We Love It: Every roll of the virtual dice yields pictures that tell a whole new story. Choose one or all of the images to use in your writing. Story Dice 3-D (Apple App Store only) adds the ability to move the dice around, and re-roll some or all of them.

Cost: $1.99

Available On: Multiple devices. Get the links you need for Story Dice here.

Writing Challenge for Kids

games to teach essay writing

Why We Love It: This app generates a series of characters, scenarios, and situations to create unique creative writing prompts over and over again. You can choose from several choices to customize each prompt as you go along.

Cost: Varies by device, $1.49-$3.99

Available On: Multiple Devices. Click here for the links you need.

The Brainstormer

games to teach essay writing

Why We Love It: This app is terrific for teens and older writers who need to generate new creative ideas. A selection of tools helps you find inspiration for characters, plots, settings, and more. You can even add in your own words to create custom sets.

Cost: $1.99, with additional features for $.99 each.

Available On: Apple App Store: The Brainstormer

Writing Prompts

Writing Apps for Kids

Why We Love It: Get new writing prompts from hundreds of scenarios and ideas. Teachers, this is a nice way to come up with a daily bell-ringer or journal prompt. (This same company also offers Character Prompts , a similar app but for character inspiration.)

Cost: $1.99, with additional prompt packs available for $.99

Available On: Apple App Store: Writing Prompts , Google Play Store: Writing Prompts , Amazon App Store

Lists for Writers

Writing Apps for Kids

Why We Love It: Add variety to your writing and break through writer’s blocks with these lists of, well, pretty much anything! Creating a new character and feeling stuck? Browse lists of names, character traits, physical characteristics, and more. Get the same for settings, plots, and all the other details that even the best writers sometimes draw a blank on.

Available On: Multiple devices. Get all the links you need here.

Toontastic 3D

games to teach essay writing

Why We Love It: Kids build their story-telling skills while creating one-minute movies with this surprisingly robust free app. Encourage students to plan and script out their story in advance to work on writing skills, then enjoy the fun movies they create! (Teacher Tip: Try this app for incredibly creative book reports .)

Available On: Apple App Store: Toontastic , Google Play Store: Toontastic

games to teach essay writing

Why We Love It: Storybird’s tools give kids the opportunity to write comics, short stories, chapter books, and more. Choose from existing illustrations and add your own text to create unique masterpieces. The professional artwork is wide-ranging, and writing challenges help kids expand their skills and push their creativity to new heights.

Cost:  $8.99/month or $59.99/year. Schools can receive bulk discounts up to 50% off.

Available On: Apple App Store: Storybird , Google Play Store: Storybird

How do you use writing apps for kids and teens in your classroom? Come share your ideas and find inspiration in the WeAreTeachers Chat group on Facebook .

Looking for more writing prompts? Get 100 Creative Writing Prompts for Grades 4-8 , and 10 Fresh Writing Prompts for High School .

The Best Writing Apps for Kids and Teens, at Home and in the Classroom

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Our favorite free and paid writing resources across the web! Continue Reading

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Check out these fun writing games for kids. Enjoy a range of free activities, resources and practice exercises related to writing letters, stories, newspapers, debates, advertising and instructions.

The games are perfect for challenging students who enjoy interactive learning online. Find a topic that suits you and improve your English by completing as many of the educational challenges as you can.

This interactive debating game lets you debate against someone arguing from the opposite point of view on a number of different subjects.

Listen to their argument before choosing a response that will win over the crowd and judges. Enjoy learning about debates while enjoying this fun online activity for kids.

Learn about headline writing and other journalism topics with this newspaper activity for kids. Do your best to answer the questions and understand why newspaper headlines should be short and informative.

Have fun and enjoy the interactive challenges this online game offers.

Have fun learning about different forms of advertising with this interactive activity for kids.

Design brochures, leaflets and invitations that impact and attract the reader with effective use of titles, pictures and words. Win customers with a great advertising campaign and enjoy this free game for kids.

This interactive activity is a great way for kids to learn how to write a letter.

Understand where to write your name and address, how to layout paragraphs and more. How many of the challenges can you complete? Give this free English game a try and find out!

Check out this great story writing game for kids. Learn how to plan stories that would make good spy thrillers, ghost mysteries or romances by finding the best words to place in a range of different sentences.

Students will enjoy learning English with this excellent story writing practice exercise.

Understand how to write clear, well worded instructions with this interactive writing game for kids.

Select an activity such as making a sandwich and write step by step instructions for how the activity should be performed. How many challenges can you complete?

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India Wins Cricket World Cup, Sealing Its Domination of the Sport

In India, cricket has become immensely profitable and a destination for the world’s best players. But a tournament victory had eluded it for many years.

Ticker tape rains down as the India team, in orange and blue uniforms and medals round their necks, wave and cheer and hold a trophy aloft.

By Mujib Mashal

Reporting from New Delhi

India won the men’s Cricket World Cup on Saturday, defeating South Africa to end a dry spell in tournament victories that had lasted over a decade, even as the nation was dominating the sport globally in other measures like talent, cash and influence.

The tournament was played across several Caribbean islands, with a few of the matches hosted in the United States, including at a pop-up stadium in New York. When the final, in Barbados, ended with India declared the champion, it was close to midnight back home, where joyful crowds poured into the streets across several cities.

“Maybe in a couple hours it will sink in, but it is a great feeling,” said Rohit Sharma, India’s captain, who took a tour of the stadium with his daughter propped on his shoulders to thank the crowd. “To cross the line — it feels great for everyone.”

It was a closely fought match, and a deeply emotional one for India, in part because many of its senior players, including Sharma, 37, were near the end of their careers. India last won the World Cup in T20, the shortest format of cricket, in 2007, when Sharma was just getting started. The top prize had also evaded Virat Kohli, 35, one of cricket’s most recognized icons. Rahul Dravid, India’s coach, had never won a World Cup during his long and illustrious career as a player.

All three men ended the night on a happy note, with Sharma and Kohli announcing their retirement from the fast-paced short form of the game. Dravid, who finished his stint as India’s coach, is normally a quiet, stoic presence. But after the win, he was screaming and celebrating.

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