Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a story containing a beginning, middle, and end using only six words. He won.
- 6 Word Memoirs (sixwordmemoirs.com): WARNING – preview it before using with students. Some of the memoirs are very humorous; others are mature in content and tone. Visitors can also receive more background about Hemingway’s six-word story.
- Pic Lits (piclits.com): Give your students some visual inspiration to write. This site also throws in a drag-n-drop word bank to get their sentences started.
- Free Writes: Students come to class with life distractions. If we want them to focus on learning, let’s provide an outlet the thoughts in their head. Start class with an open-ended free write. If a student needs more structure, take another cue from Hemingway; instruct them to “…write one true sentence.” The “truest sentence” they know! You might consider asking them to write more than one sentence.
- Story Starters: Again, if students have trouble getting started, TheStoryStarter.com provides starter sentences. They just have to compose every sentence after it. Alternatively, a student could volunteer to provide their original story starter, and all students would be asked to respond to it.
- HO.T.S. Questions: Use a writing prompt at the beginning of your class to get students focused and engaged with the topic of the day. If you have trouble creating a writing prompt, consider building off the Higher Order Thinking Skills (or H.O.T.S.) template available here (via the Teaching Channel).
- Student Portfolios: Gather and track this easily with Evernote.
- Student Samples: Gather and track this easily with, yep, Evernote.
- NaNoWriMo (nanowrimo.org): NaNoWriMo provides some structure and support for you to lead students to write their first novel. The challenge is completing this task within a month!