No-prep writing ideas for your first week of lessons!

Composite of image of a hand drawing a light bulb on a board

If you haven’t gone back to school yet and you’re getting ready for your first classes, then you’re in the right place! Apart from all the warm-ups, icebreakers and project-based activities (some of which you can see here) which ensure our students are all engaged and motivated, we also spend some time on writing tasks which can help make the summer-school transition smoother and more stress-free. Writing tasks are always tricky to choose because a) we want to give them a chance to reflect and write about their summer holidays and b) we want them to set goals for the new year and share their expectations, ambitions and concerns. The Writing ideas you can see below require little to no preparation and they’re ideal if you want creative alternatives to the more traditional “Back to school” options.

Writing Ideas

  • A map of learning:Print a treasure map template and mark an X for the treasure. Ask your kids to imagine that the hidden treasure is the knowledge they will have gained by the end of the year. What they will have to do is to draw the way to to the treasure in a way that shows how they imagine their learning journey to be like. Will they have to cross fields and climb mountains to get there? Will their learning be as smooth as a road trip along a highway?
  • Learning as a video game: Similar to the map design idea, they can imagine their learning as a video game with many different levels. They will have to design/draw the different stages, write what they imagine each level’s objectives to be and what the ultimate goal of the game is.
  • Summer objects writing: Ask your students to choose a summer object such as a sunbed or a pail. Depending on your students’ level they can write a) a diary entry of these objects talking about what they do every day now that summer is over or b) a story choosing 5 summer objects as the story’s main characters
  • Write from other people’s perspective: That’s a great way to help your students respect others and realize different people experience/interpret the same situation in different ways. 1) Write from the teacher’s perspective: Ask them to put themselves in your shoes and write what they think you might be feeling now that you’re back to school 2) Write from a classmate’s perspective: Ask your students where they spent their summer holidays. Now, split them in pairs and tell them that they will each have to write a short paragraph (50 words) of how they think their classmate’s holiday in this place was.
  • Would you rather…? school options: Instead of story starters give your students a list of “Would you rather” back to school or summer inspired prompts. For eg.: Would you rather have a longer summer without holidays or a longer school year with lots of trips? Would you rather be a pencil or an eraser? Would you rather be a teacher of English or a teacher of Math? etc.
  • In class writing – Comparing expectations:This task involves you as well! Similar to the different perspectives’ idea, this is a fast, in class writing task where both you and your kids get to spend 5 minutes writing as many different expectations you have from each other. Then, compare your expectations to your students’ expectations of themselves and you and see how similar/different they are.
  • Switch seasons: Winter over summer: Tell your students they need to imagine that the summer break actually takes place during winter. They will have to write an email to each other talking about their long (3-month long, to be exact) winter holidays.
  • A night at the school: Inspired by the movie “Night at the museum” tell your students that school objects come alive at night. They need to write the objects’ story. What do they do? What different adventures do they have?
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