Like most teachers, I have a large collection of writing prompts. Some come from curriculum publishers and relate to what we are working on at the time; some come from books purchased at the local teacher store with seasonal selections; and some have been gathered from other teachers over the years.
Searching for something to inspire more writing (since the more you do something, the better you get at it), I started showing episodes of Nickelodeon’s “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” and creating a writing prompt for each episode. For example, in the first episode where two young boys must answer a riddle, I stop the episode just before the answer is revealed and have my students write a hypothesis. Then we finish the episode and the students must write about what would have happened to them in the movie, based on their answer. I couldn’t believe how much my students wrote!
Then I StumbledUpon Visual Writing Prompts , and I knew right away I had found something that would really stimulate my students to write more than they usually would. We first tried the magic chalk prompt, which brought to my desk fantastic stories with chronological storylines and lots of fabulous adjectives.
Then I decided to create a Common Core focused Visual Writing Prompt myself: “You just got a job at WeeWorld! Your job is to write a welcome to the webpage that tells new members HOW to create an account and HOW to create an Avatar!”
My students were so familiar with this website, they began writing clearly with sequence words (and I didn’t even mention them) to describe the right way to create an account. I was so impressed and pleased!
Common Core standards ask for students to apply their skills to real world problems. As teaching professionals, it’s up to us to create opportunities for students to be successful by finding the kinds of prompts that address the standards while stimulating the students to do their best.