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Like playing pretend, creative writing is the art of creating something from nothing. Creative writing is painting with any brush and any palette you like. It’s writing music without being restricted to using traditional instruments.

As beloved children’s author C.S. Lewis once said, “you can make anything by writing.”

The key to teaching 4th grade creative writing is coming up with enrichment activities that encourage your students to fully explore the “creative” side of the equation.

It’s all about going beyond the simple understanding of writing and its mechanics in order to discover and play with new ways of using them to create something totally unique.

Recommended Read 4th Grade Narrative Writing Prompts: Helping Others

Activity #1: Silly Simile Grab Bags

This enrichment activity puts the fun back into the fundamentals of creative writing by bringing out your students’ silly sides. Have each of your students come up with a single simile using the framed sentence “a [noun] as [adjective] as a [noun].”

Then, provide them each with three index cards. On the backs of two of the cards, have them write “noun.” On the third card, have them write “adjective.”

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On the opposite sides of the cards, ask them to write the adjective and nouns from their simile. For instance, the simile “a dog as clever as a fox” would generate a noun card for “dog,” an adjective card for “clever,” and a noun card for “fox.”

Have all of your students place their noun cards in one large bag and their adjectives in another.

Mix them up well! Then, have each student choose two noun cards and one adjective at random and use them to create a new simile.

Chances are there will be more than one strange comparison as a result! Be sure to have your students share their new similes with the class and talk about how each one could actually make sense if you look at it the right way.

Even the weirdest similes can be made to work with a little creativity!

 

PROJECT IDEA

Ask your students to write short stories that are inspired by their new similes and draw illustrations to match. Then, publish their stories and drawings into an awesome classbook that will transform your young writers into published authors!

 

Activity #2: Collaborative Blackout Poetry

This enrichment activity introduces a little creative collaboration to the writing process.

Start by having your students brainstorm together as a class to develop a theme to write about. Ask them to each write a one-page short story on that theme.

Then, ask them to make clean copies (type them up and print them out if possible!) and trade their stories with a fellow classmate.

Finally, walk them through the process of creating blackout poetry, using their partner’s short story as the canvas for their work!

 

PROJECT IDEA

Ask your students to decorate the margins of their stories and poems with doodles and colorful designs. Then, collect their writings and publish the original stories alongside the poems in a creative and memorable classbook that showcases the power of collaboration and the written word!

 

Recommended Read 2nd Grade Writing: An Introduction to Poetry

Activity #3: Character Creation

If you or your students happen to be fans of games like Dungeons & Dragons or The Elder Scrolls, you’re in for a treat with this creative writing activity.

Begin by creating or finding and downloading a free copy of a generic character-building worksheet.

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Ideally, this will include items like the character’s name, where they are from, their age, their occupation, their gender, et cetera.

Divide your students into pairs or groups and have them work together using the worksheet to create an original fictional character.

Once the characters are complete, ask each team to share theirs with the class. Have your students take notes or make copies to share.

When every character has been introduced, ask your students to each write their own individual short stories about how all of these characters wound up in the same place.

It’s an excellent exercise in both character and plot development, and of course, it’s super fun! You can even join in the good times and create a character of your own to use as an example for the class!

 

PROJECT IDEA

While each group will work together to fill out the character-building sheet, ask each student to draw their own individual interpretation of what they believe the character looks like.

They must follow what’s on the sheet, but they have complete creative license beyond that. The only other rule is that they cannot share their drawings with the rest of their team until everyone is done.

Once they are finished, have your students share their drawings. Use the results to fuel a discussion about how differently people can interpret the same character or story, no matter how clearly you think you’ve explained it.

Finally, publish their stories and illustrations into a beautiful full-color classbook that will do their creativity justice.

 

Activity #4: Fictional History

This enrichment activity combines the creative freedom of fiction with historical context to help develop your students’ writing skills.

Ask your students to create an imaginary historical figure and give them a name, an occupation and a time period in which to reside.

Ask them to write about their fictional creations and describe their greatest historical achievement (and explain why no one has heard of them or their achievement before now!)

Here’s the catch… their stories must include factual details that reflect the setting they have chosen.

This can include anything from referencing events from their chosen time period to describing the city, town or country in which they achieved greatness (or infamy!).

 

PROJECT IDEA

Ask your students to draw portraits of their characters using the style of other portraits from their chosen time period as a guide. Match the portraits to the fictional biographies and publish them in a neat historical-fiction-themed classbook! You can even use your students’ portraits to create a collage and use it as the cover image!

 

Recommended Read 4 Elementary School Writing Prompts About World History

Activity #5: Nutty News Articles

This writing enrichment activity is similar to the previous one, except your students will be creating fictional current events, as opposed to fictional historical figures and events.

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Start by creating or getting ahold of some newspaper-article-inspired graphic organizers to help your students format their creative writing into a piece that a journalist would write.

Then, have your students come up with their own nutty news headlines and pretend to be the investigative reporter who is covering the story.

If you want to provide them with some inspiration, you could bring in some newspaper articles or share a few links from reputable news sites in the hope that it will get their creative juices flowing.

Here are some examples of a few nutty news headlines.

  • Epic Battle Between Heroes and Villians in the Heart of L.A.
  • Gargantuan Snow Storm Turns Ecuador Into Frozen Wasteland
  • Mystery UFO Rains Candy Down Upon the Down Under
  • What a Pass! NFL Quarterback Throws Football Into Outer Space

 

PROJECT IDEA

Once your students have all come up with their wacky headlines, have them use the aforementioned graphic organizers to create their very own news articles for the Nutty Newspaper.

Be sure they include illustrations to go along with their articles OR during computer class, they can use a simple picture-creation program to digitally manufacture their own photographs of the incident.

Once all of your students’ news articles are complete, publish them all in a classbook and bring their breaking news to life!

 

Making Creative Writing Enrichment Exciting

Every teacher knows that the easiest lessons to teach are the ones that your students are actually excited to learn about.

While the creative writing process can be a joy in and of itself for some, many students may need a little extra push to feel inspired.

That’s where these enrichment activities come in. By making the lesson as engaging and enjoyable as possible, you’re opening their minds to the possibilities of creative writing and helping them to realize their own creative potential.

Furthermore, by publishing their work, you’re not only motivating them to put extra effort into their writing, but you’re also building up their confidence as writers and as students.

This, in turn, will encourage them to continue to explore their own boundaries and broaden their horizons. Who knows? Perhaps one of them will become the next C.S. Lewis someday. The possibilities are endless!

For more teaching resources, including lesson plans, topic ideas and more, be sure to check out our online Teachers Lounge or sign up to receive your FREE classbook publishing kit!

2021-CTA-NEW