Quick Writing Activities for the Elementary Classroom

By: Maureen Kelly

6 Word Stories and Acrostic Poems

Here are two quick and easy writing activities to implement in your Elementary level English classroom that are student centered, student accommodating and support creative expression in all students. Both activities can be adapted to best fit your mixed level classroom, your curriculum content, and or individual interests of your students. These activities also work very well with collaborative learning placing students either in pairs or small groups to complete them. This would accommodate struggling writers in your classroom to succeed at writing through peer team work and collaboration.

Why are these writing activities student centered? Well, first students have complete creative control over the words they choose in the writing of both these tasks. The structures of both also allow for the bending of grammar rules or tradition thus giving grammar challenged students less difficulty or hardship in succeeding at them. Instead of the usual focus on grammar rules and grammar structure in writing these tasks put the focus on creative word choices, usage and creative expression.

Time management with these writing tasks is also easy for a time crunched classroom and curriculum especially in the case of the 6 word story. With a word count of only 6 words every student can complete this task within minutes of class and also share them with their classmates. Post writing shares and feedback sessions with classmates should always be included in the writing process as it promotes the idea of English writing having purpose and meaning to others as well as one’s self.

What makes a good 6 word story? 3 Tips to explain to your students!

  1. Good 6 word stories make sense to the reader!
  2. Good 6 word stories take the reader on a journey and tell some kind of story.
  3. Good 6 word stories leave the reader with an emotion like happiness, sadness,..etc.

Some Examples: 1.“Went abroad. Finally felt like home.” 2. “Born. Worked forty years. Heart-attack.” 3. “Marilyn lived, died, the Hollywood life.” 4. “The family moved, free at last” .

Do Acrostic Poem writing in groups! Why? It makes it more fun!

I highly recommend you do acrostics with your students in groups as it not only helps the lower level students but also makes the activity more fun! Writing is already challenging for many students so by making it into a group activity their anxiety and stress level fall and they get to brainstorm, socially interact and creatively collaborate with their peers. I witnessed this wonderful creative collaboration in acrostic writing myself during my Teacher Training workshops at GIGE! When 2 or more minds work together on a writing task there is definitely a funner energy more more relaxed feeling in the classroom.

What makes a good acrostic poem? 3 Tips to Explain to your students!

  1. Good acrostics use sensory imagery (words that draw on the 5 senses, touch, smell, taste, hear, sight)
  2. Good acrostics use inventive language (creative word usage)
  3. Good acrostics use similes (use like or as) and metaphors (compare 2 things as the same).

Some creative Acrostic poem examples from my GiGE teacher training workshops:

Teachers! I hope you will use these 2 quick and fun writing activities in your English classrooms and inspire your students to experience writing in English that is creative and fun!! Teachers, I wish you all the best!!

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