Starting off the school year with a fun and engaging writing project is essential. It not only sets the tone for how much your students will buy into writing throughout the year but also provides valuable insights into their capabilities and interests. These back to school writing activities are perfect to use as diagnostics that will help you plan the rest of the year accordingly.
My Perfect School:
This first back to school writing assignment is inspired by the book “If I Built a School” by Chris Van Dusen. This creative writing task invites students to imagine and design their dream school. Using the book as a mentor text, students will go through the complete writing process, from brainstorming to editing and publishing. Detailed organizers will guide them in organizing their ideas effectively. As part of a lesson, a sample mentor paragraph will illustrate key writing elements, including introduction sentences, main ideas, concluding sentences, and transitions. This project sparks creativity while also scaffolding the writing process. This will give you a good understanding of their writing abilities and you will also see what kinds of activities and subjects they value in school. It’s a win-win! Click here to grab it!
Invent a New School Subject:
If the first back to school writing project seems a little too extensive for your group, let’s narrow it down and challenge students to think outside the box and create a new school subject they would love to learn. Encourage them to consider their unique interests, passions, and skills. Through a persuasive paragraph, students can articulate the importance of this subject and how it would enrich their education. This task not only fosters critical thinking but also empowers students to advocate for innovative and personalized learning experiences.
Teachers hold a special place in our hearts, and this back to school writing task gives students the opportunity to express their gratitude and appreciation. Invite students to write a tribute or thank-you letter to a teacher who has had a significant impact on their lives. Encourage them to share specific memories, lessons they’ve learned, and how this teacher has influenced their personal and academic growth. Again, if you feel this won’t quite work for your group, for example if they don’t have the best relationship with school, you can have them write a memorable person letter instead. This could be to anyone who has impacted their life in a positive way (e.g., parent, sibling, coach, family member, babysitter, camp counselor, etc.).
Around the World Adventure:
Embark on an exciting writing journey as students imagine themselves traveling around the world. Have them create a travel journal or a series of blog posts describing their experiences in different countries and cultures. Encourage them to conduct research, include details about destinations, landmarks, local customs, and immerse themselves in the beauty of diverse cultures. This project allows students to develop their descriptive writing skills while expanding their global awareness and appreciation.
I have used vision boards as a back to school writing activity with multiple grade levels. Start by having students gather images, words, and other materials that resonate with their goals and dreams. They can include pictures of role models, quotes, symbols, or anything that symbolizes their desired future. As they arrange these elements on a board or poster, encourage students to reflect on their choices and create a written paragraph that captures the essence of their vision board. This reflection helps them articulate their intentions and visualize the steps they need to take to achieve their goals.
Overall, these back to school writing activities can be used to engage students in the writing process and gather some strong diagnostic data as well. They don’t need to all be fancy TpT products and could be as simple as a prompt with a few more instructions on the board. Consider what you think will work best for your group and go from there!
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