5 Tips For Teaching Creative Writing, plus a FREEBIE!

Creative writing for elementary students should be fun and engaging. Often, students are intimidated by a blank piece of paper and find it very difficult to get started. But there are ways to make creative writing less threatening. After all, most young students have pretty creative imaginations! By following some of the tips below, you may find that your once-reluctant students even come to enjoy this type of writing.

Image of an elementary student sitting staring at a blank page, trying to write, with text "5 tips for teaching creative writing"

Teach Creative Writing by Focusing on Expression

Kids are often unsure of their spelling, grammar and syntax. This insecurity can cause them to dislike writing. One way to get around this is by focusing on the expression of their ideas and not picking apart their writing for errors. You can always work on this aspect of writing in separate lessons, or even later on after your students have improved in their creative writing abilities.

One way to focus on expressive words is by using word walls. Categorize words by sense, such as "seeing words," "tasting words," etc. to give students a place to start. Include some activities where students can describe a place or object using all of their senses.

Have students use specific vocabulary in their writing. These should be words that they are already familiar with. Doing so gives them a starting point for writing and may help lessen their insecurities.

5 Writing Activities for Creativity

1. Read to Students - children love to be read to, even older students. This helps them to learn what high quality writing sounds like. Pick books with specific writing characteristics and then ask students to listen for examples of them as you read.

2. Use Graphic Organizers - story maps or other types of graphic organizers can help reluctant writers by giving them something to refer back to as they write their stories. They can plot out the character, theme, and setting before they actually start writing. It may be helpful to fill these out with students the first few times you use them.

3. Use Engaging Prompts - start each session with a prompt. This could be a picture, a quote, a poem ... anything that can be interpreted in different ways. Discuss some ideas as a whole class, and then let students flesh out their story on paper.

4. Start With Mini-Lessons - take five to ten minutes at the beginning of a writing lesson to focus on one aspect of writing. For example, one mini-lesson might focus on adjectives that can be used in place of the words "happy" or "fun." Another example might discuss transition words.

5. Circle-Writing - this is a fun, non-threatening way for students to write creatively. Put students in groups of four to six and give them one pencil and one piece of paper. Start off with some kind of writing prompt. When the teacher says "go" one student writes until the stop signal is given. Students pass the paper to the next in the group, who then reads out loud what has been written so far. Continue the activity until everyone has had a turn. Make sure to signal near the end so that they have a chance to end their story.

Helping your students to like, or even love, creative writing can lead to great possibilities in the future. Have you tried any of these in your classroom? We'd love to hear how it went!

Click on the image below to grab some free writing help for your classroom!  

Cover image for Writing Help Freebie




  1. Your Blog is sooo CUTE!!! Love the new design. Thank you for the freebie, and for being YOU! :) Have a great day!

    Crayonbox Learning

    1. Aw, you are a sweetpea, Dani! The blog still makes me smile! Thank you for your lovely comments - wishing you a great day too! :)

  2. I have never seen such cute buttons on a blog before! We love your blog. Thank you for being such a sweet friend.
    Kathy and Susan
    The Fun Factory

  3. Wendy, your new blog always makes me smile. I love it! I also love the freebie. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  4. Thanks so much for such a great freebie!!! :-)

  5. Thanks for the great freebie! I also love the circle writing idea. I remember doing something like that as a child and it was really motivating!

  6. Great tips and freebie to help me Kickstart my writing instruction. It is definitely an area I struggle in.

  7. Wendy, I
    Thank you so much for sharing your expertise and for being so generous with the freebie. You are very generous for sharing it. I have the Fall/Autumn writing prompts from your store and can't to use them. Thank you again!!

  8. I love the reminder to read aloud to students. Great books can be such inspiration! My son wrote Magic Tree House fan fiction for years...of course putting himself and his sister in the story too!!


All messages are heartily welcomed!

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