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January Round-up


Well, it’s coming to the end of the first month of Creativities! Despite the snow, January blues and coughs and colds that characterise this time of year in my part of the world I hope I have managed to post some interesting lesson ideas for you. Don’t forget, if you use any of my ideas in class I would love to hear feedback on how it goes.

I thought it would be a good chance to round-up some of the interesting ideas I have found on other blogs and websites over the past few weeks that are related to creative writing. Some of these are new posts, others old ones that I have just discovered. Most of them concern writing, but not all. I hope you find something interesting here. If I have missed anything or you find anything you think I should include in next month’s round-up please let me know via the comments below, or via twitter or email (contact details here)

Firstly, Rachael Roberts has had some great writing ideas on her blog ELT-Resourceful. The first had some interesting thoughts and ideas on collaborative writing, and the second had some short, stimulus for getting students to write. Many of these ideas I’ve used myself in some kind of variation but some are new, and I’m always looking for new ideas to spark the imagination so I was excited by both these posts.

Adam Simpson has also had some writing ideas over on his Teach them English blog. He makes a bold claim for the greatest creative writing activity ever. The jury is still out on that claim! But it is a nice guided story exercise. Adam also blogged on some ideas for teaching adjectives, an important part of most fiction. I particularly liked the references to Raymond Chandler in this post!

If you are looking for an activity on describing people and developing characters (as well as plotting a story) I really like this lesson plan from Designer Lessons. It also links into the theme of collaborative writing.

On Sandy Millins blog, she described a class where the students created their own soap opera, based on an activity from Cutting Edge. It seemed like a great activity for dramatic plot writing and may be an idea I revisit in the future.

Moving away from writing ideas, this  speaking activity from the British Council about one-story spoken chain stories I thought would be the perfect warmer for advanced students for the post I wrote on chain stories.

Finally, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the fiction and reading ideas on Kevin Stein’s blog The Other Things Matter this month. Firstly, I thought his ideas on using writer’s workshop techniques for reading texts were not only much better than simple comprehension questions, but were also a simple low-prep option for working on readings. Also on Kevin’s blog, he has a number of short stories he has written for ELLs (English Language Learners), and this month he posted a new one, ‘Below the Surface’ which was followed by some ideas for using it in class. While you are on Kevin’s blog, take a look at some of his other short stories for ELLs, after all the more fiction your students read, the more they might be encouraged to write some!


7 responses »

  1. Hi Jo,

    First off, thanks for including me in the round up. I’ve been reading and admiring your blog for the past month. I’ve also done a bit of rhyming poetry as a warm up, very much inspired by your first post. Your blog is filled with great ideas and I’m very much hoping that after a semester of class’s built around short fiction, the students will be inspired to start producing more of their own work in the next school year. I’ll be hitting Creativities regularly for ideas and inspiration.

    And I really want to say thank you. It’s nice to see a growing community of teachers who see creative writing activities as having a place in the heart of the classroom. And Creativities is one of the spaces that’s giving the community shape.

    Congratulations on your first month, and here’s to many more.


    • Hi Kevin,

      Thanks very much for your kind words and encouragement, it means a lot. As you can tell I’m a big fan of your blog and particularly the short fiction for ELLs you have on there. I think what you are doing compliments what I’m trying to do here perfectly! I’m looking forward to seeing what your students produce and hope they are inspired by the short fiction you have been sharing with them.

      I love the idea of a community of us using creative writing in class and I’m very happy to think I can contribute to that in some small way!

      Oh, and I’m glad you’ve been doing some rhyming poems! Always a favourite with my classes.


  2. Hi Jo,

    Kevin beat me to it – I’m just going to echo his words. Thank-you very much for including my blog post in your list. I’ve been enjoy reading through your posts – and I hope that there will be many more to come.

    All the best,

    • Hi George,

      Thanks for the comment, and I’m glad you’ve been enjoying reading through the blog. I have lots of ideas, it’s just a case of finding the time to write them up!

      I’ve only just discovered your blog but I love the activities you have on there, they are very much up my street, so I was very happy to include you in my round-up.


  3. Hi Jo, thanks for including my modest efforts in your roundup. I know I made a huge claim with my ‘greatest ever’ writing post, but it had the trick of pulling in more than a thousand visits the day that I published it. Hint to all bloggers: call one of your posts ‘the greatest X ever’ and you’re on to a winner!


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