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.
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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.”
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!
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!
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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.
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!
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!).
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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.
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
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.
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!
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