student-collaborationWriting is usually thought of as a solo activity, but with a little creativity, there are plenty of ways for your students to collaborate on writing projects! Here are some of our favorite collaborative writing activities for elementary students.

3 Collaborative Writing Projects for Elementary Students

These collaborative writing projects can be adapted for all grade levels, and will help your students practice descriptive, narrative, persuasive or expository writing skills. We’ve provided ideas that you can easily incorporate into your existing lesson plans in other subjects.

In addition to practicing writing, collaborative projects like these present the perfect opportunity to create a memorable classbook.

Writing Activity #1: Have students interview a partner and ask them questions about their favorite things.

You can use this activity at any point in the school year to “mix things up” and encourage students to get to know others outside of their usual group. Students may even develop new friendships while they build their writing skills!

Provide students a list of interview questions to get them started or have them write their own. Students can ask their partner about their favorite:

  • Color
  • Food
  • Sport
  • Hobby
  • Animal
  • Movie, character and/or actor
  • TV show
  • Family activity
  • Place to visit
  • Song and/or musician

Have your students use a mind map to organize the information with their partner’s name in the middle and their favorite things in the bubbles around the name. This will help them remember what their partner’s answers were so they can begin writing about their favorite things.

 

PROJECT IDEA

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Have first and second graders  put together the answers into a short essay. This will help them work on basic sentence and paragraph structure. Third through fifth graders can use their partner’s answers—along with their narrative and descriptive writing skills—to create a “day in the life” or even a fantasy story featuring their classmate’s favorite things. Your students will love hearing a special story that’s all about them! After your students complete their writing pieces, have them add an illustration of their partner surrounded by their favorite things. Publish their writings and illustrations into one fantastic classbook that students can share with their parents and friends for years to come.

Writing Activity #2: Have students create their own superhero world together and describe what their heroes do.

Here’s a way to tap into kids’ love of superheroes to generate real excitement for a writing project. Divide students into pairs and have each pair decide if their story portrays them as superhero partners, a hero and sidekick, or maybe even a superhero and supervillain.

Students at all grade levels will enjoy using their descriptive writing skills to tell you all about their hero’s powers and costume. There’s also the fun of coming up with a creative name for their hero!

Students in lower grade levels can describe what their heroes’ powers are and what they look like. Older students can use their narrative writing skills to develop a backstory for their hero (how did he or she get their powers?) as well as a backstory for the pair of heroes. How did they meet? How did they start working together? Do they know each other’s real identity?

Older students with a broader worldview can work together to describe the city or world their superheroes inhabit. Is it a fantasy world? A city like Superman’s Metropolis? A gloomy setting like Batman’s Gotham? A real-life city like New York City? To spark ideas, show age-appropriate video clips from superhero movies and have students jot down words or phrases to describe the settings.

 

PROJECT IDEA

Have your students brainstorm who their superheroes (or villains) are, what their story is, and/or what their powers are depending on the level of writing your grade level can handle. Have them then create an outline of their story or a mind map of their heroes characteristics and use that to complete their piece of writing. Have students then draw themselves as their heroes (or villains) and combine everything into a super classbook! Tip: Use a storyboard  to keep your classbook pages organized so that partner pages are right after one another.

Writing Activity #3: Have a pair of students research two animals that work together to survive and present their research to the class

This collaborative writing project ties in perfectly with a science and nature unit on animals. There are many examples of unlikely symbiotic relationships in nature you can assign to student pairs. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Crocodiles and Egyptian plovers
  • Wolves and hyenas
  • Crabs and poisonous sea urchins
  • Remoras (sucker fish) and sharks

Have one student write about one half of the pair and their partner write about the other half - if you feel that this may cause some conflict, go ahead and assign each partner their specific animal. They can do their research together and then split off to write about their half of the animal pair.

 

PROJECT IDEA

Use this writing activity to work on informative writing skills and have your students tell you about their animals and the reasons why they work so well together, or take a more creative approach by having students develop their animals as characters. They can tell stories about how their animals met from both perspectives. Did they like and trust their new animal friend at first? How did they learn to trust each other? What is the story behind that? After your students complete their piece of writing have them add an illustration of their animal and have their partner draw the other half of the animal pair to create an awesome classbook.

Additional resources

Our online teacher’s lounge is an excellent place for ideas on how to improve your students’ writing. Sign up and receive a free classbook publishing kit to make a special memory for your own class.