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Three Creative Writing Tools for Tweens

Working with middle school writers at our library this summer, I’ve found a few storytelling tools that are too awesome not to share.

Now, I’m the first to admit that creative writing isn’t something I spend much time on during my regular English 9 and English 11 classes, so it’s been a fun challenge to try something new. Here are a few things that are working for my kids.

1. Eyebombing
A sheet of self-adhesive googly eyes and the cameras on their phones led to a fun afternoon of writing for my kids as they turned inanimate objects into the protagonists of their stories. If you didn’t know, eyebombing is a thing.

I didn’t know any of this until I saw a slide deck built by Lisa Highfill, one of my former Pleasanton Unified co-workers. She shares her presentation here and gives inspiration credit to Adam Randall, another colleague who turned the world’s cutest graffiti into a writing prompt for his elementary students. The middle schoolers were completely into it, too.

2. Storytelling Dice
Whenever a kid is stumped for inspiration, I break out the free story cubes from goalexandria.com. These are probably most effective with a younger audience, but my tweens have been surprisingly game. Maybe because it’s summer? (Tip: Print these on card stock to make them last longer and have the kids build them.)

3. Paintchip Storytelling
You might recall that I use paintchips from the home improvement store for our poetry stations, but I decided to use those same chips this summer for longer stories. Each student selects a paintchip and then must incorporate all four paint names somewhere in their story. I asked my kids to highlight/bold the paint names in their stories, which makes it easier when my old eyes read their work. 

What other creative writing resources do you use with your students? Leave an idea or link below to any free item that’ll help creative writing teachers – including me – keep their students inspired and productive.

Teach on, everyone!

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